THE MEDIEVAL TOWN of Chanderi is dominated by the Kirtidurga Fort, perched 200 m (656 ft) above the Betwa river, and overlooking an artificial lake, Kirtisagar. Built by the Pratihara kings in the 10th century, Chanderi successively fell to the sultans of Delhi and Malwa, the Mughal emperor Babur and finally to the Marathas, becoming part of the Scindia kingdom of Gwalior. The entrance is through the Khuni Darwaza (“Bloody Gateway”), marking the point at which the Mughal emperor Babor broke through the 6- km (4-mile) long granite walls of the fort, when he conquered it in 1528. Cut into the adjacent adjacent rock face are several imposing Bain statues. Most of the structures inside the fort are attributed to Sultan Mahmucl of Maiwa, and are executed in the graceful provincial Afghan style that distinguishes the buildings of Mandu . The most ambitious edifice here is the Koshak Mahal, built in 1445. The sultan originally planned it as a seven-storeyed palace, but only managed to complete two storeys, each with balconies, rows of windows and beautifully vaulted ceilings. Other notable buildings are the domed and arcade Jami Masjid and the Badal Mahal with its elegant gateway. Chanderi was once a flourishing centre of trade, and an exploration of the town reveals large sandstone haveiis, shops raised on plinths and ruined caravanserais lining the winding lanes. The town is also famous for its gossamer muslin saris and brocades.

ENVIRONS: Deogarh Fort,  the “Fortress of the Gods”, is 25 km (16 miles) southeast of Chanderi. Within it are a splendid display of sculptures from a group of 9th- to 10th-century Bain temples. Bust below the fort is the 5thcentury Vishnu Dasavatara Temple with its fine  sculpture and   carved  pillarns lopped by celestial musicians. A statue of Vishnu asleep on Atlanta, the cosmic serpentpp24-5), on one of the outer walls, is among the early masterpieces of Indian art.

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