Here's Why You Must Visit The Sahasra Bahu Temple Near Udaipur

For an offbeat and distinctive Rajasthan experience, consider the Sahasra Bahu temples, also known as the Sas Bahu temple
Sahasra Bahu, or Sasbahu Temples Udaipur, at Nagda, Rajasthan, are a pair of late 10th-century Hindu temples dedicated to Veerabadra
Sahasra Bahu, or Sasbahu Temples Udaipur, at Nagda, Rajasthan, are a pair of late 10th-century Hindu temples dedicated to VeerabadraShutterstock

A wonderful antiquity may be found in the lap of the Aravalli mountain range, midway between Udaipur and Nathdwara, and near to Bagela Lake. A notable 10th-century temple devoted to Lord Vishnu, known as the Sahastra Bahu Temple, is located right here.

These twin ancient Hindu temples are dedicated to Virabhadra, a fierce form of Lord Shiva. They are located in Nagda, a small town near Udaipur, the origins of these temples can be traced to the late 10th century.

The region is densely forested and home to a collection of 108 temples. Nagda was the very first capital of the Mewar monarchs. Nagda, a hamlet noted for its temples located 23 km north-wenorthwestpur, was founded by the Fourth Mewar King, Nagaditya, in the 6th century and continues to enthral travellers from all over the world.

The History Of The Temples

The Sahasra Bahu temples were built by King Mahipala of the Kachchhwaha dynasty, who ruled over a part of Mewar. According to legend, the king’s wife was a devotee of Lord Vishnu, who is also known as Sahasra Bahu, meaning “one with a thousand arms”. The king constructed a temple for his queen to worship her favourite deity. Later, the king’s son married a woman who was a follower of Lord Shiva.

To please his daughter-in-law, the king built another temple for Lord Shiva next to the Vishnu temple.

Over time, the name Sahasra Bahu got corrupted to Sasbahu, and the temples came to be known as the Sasbahu temples. The temples were damaged by the invasions of the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century. However, subsequent efforts have ensured that they still retain their original charm and beauty.

The intricate carvings inside the temple
The intricate carvings inside the temple SUDARSHAN BHATLA on

The Architecture Of The Temple

The Sahasra Bahu temples are remarkable examples of the Māru-Gurjara style of architecture, which is characterised by intricate carvings, ornate pillars, and domed ceilings. Its Nagara style of architecture is characterised by the lofty Shikharas. The temples share a common platform, facing a temple tank, and are similar in design, but one is larger than the other. Ten subsidiary shrines surround the larger temple, while the smaller one has four. Only the bases of some of these shrines remain today.

The temples have a sanctuary, a mandapa with side projections, and an open porch. The shikharas, or spires, of the temples, are made of brick and have many smaller turrets. The shikhara of the smaller temple has been restored, while the larger one is still truncated. Below the platform, there is a Torana-style entrance screen, with four columns and a decorative cusped arch in the centre.

Decorative cusped arch in the centre.
Decorative cusped arch in the centre.SUDARSHAN BHATLA on Shutterstock

The interiors and parts of the exteriors of the temples are lavishly carved with scenes from Hindu mythology, floral motifs, geometric patterns, and animal figures. The ceilings of the temples have paintings of lotus flowers, which symbolise purity and divinity. The temples also have inscriptions in Sanskrit and Prakrit languages, which mention the names of the king and his family, as well as the dates and purposes of the construction.

The Significance Of The Temple

The Sahasra Bahu temples are not only a testament to the artistic and cultural heritage of Rajasthan but also a reflection of the religious tolerance and harmony that prevailed in the region. The temples show how the king respected the faiths of his wife and daughter-in-law, and how the two different sects of Hinduism coexisted peacefully. The temples also demonstrate the devotion and dedication of the king and his subjects, who created such magnificent structures in a remote and arid landscape.

The Sahasra Bahu temples are a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, or spirituality. They offer a glimpse into the glorious past of Rajasthan, and a chance to admire the craftsmanship and creativity of the ancient builders. They are also a perfect destination for those who want to escape the crowds and noise of the city and enjoy the tranquillity and serenity of nature. The temples are open 24/7, and there is no entry fee. However, visitors are advised to dress modestly as a mark of respect. 

Getting There

If you're planning to visit the Sahasra Bahu Temple in Nagda, Rajasthan, you'll be pleased to know that the nearest airport, Maharana Pratap Airport in Udaipur, is just 33.1 km away. From there, you can easily hire a private cab or taxi to take you to the temple. If you prefer public transportation, the nearest railway station is Udaipur railway station, which is about 23 km away. From Udaipur City, which is 24.6 km from the temple, you can also catch public transport to reach the temple.

Timings: Daily, 5 AM – 12 PM and 4 PM – 9 PM

Entry Fee: Free

Best Time to Visit: September to March

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