The Kalinjar Fort in Bundelkhand is an entire history in itself, a story through over 6000 human generations in recorded past alone. You cannot think of it without the convergence it includes – of people and events from the wide, wide world within the sub-continent and from abroad – over a span of one and a half millenia, during which developments in East, South, West and North West of India, Asia Minor, Middle East and Central Asia, and in Europe, as far as British Isles, gravitated to this now rather nondescript place.
That is too much of history, we note in astonishment, and far too many people of all kinds to be converging on this quiet forested periphery of one the oldest mountain ranges on earth – the Vindhyas. What accentuates our wonder are the legendary architecture the Fort and other ruins from antiquity in the region present, the exquisite temples and irreplicable sculptures at Khajuraho mere 100 km away, the economic and political significance it acquired, and the culture it spawned over the centuries as the Indian civilisation itself evolved from the ” Golden ” Gupta era through the Hun, Saka and Muslim invasions, the Turk and Mughal reigns in medieval times, the spirited movements it saw in British period, the remarkably endowed persons it raised and the rich traditions it fostered, and the fabulous hearsays natives in its vicinity still talk about !
Though associated principally with the Chandels and that fantastically temple – dense “city” of Khajuraho, from 10th Century through the 13th, the ‘ Kalinjara ‘ connection goes back to the Kalachuris of Elephanta and Ellora caves, the Rashtrakuts of Deccan, and further on to the Gujarat Parmars, the Kannauj Pratihars and Chauhans, the Vijaynagar empire, the Mughals, Afghans, the English, the armed rebellions against British occupation and for Indian independence, and to Mahatma Gandhi.
It takes the wind out of me and leaves my heart brimming with humanity…