A visit to the Kirti Mandir
When you think of the city of Vadodara, you immediately think of the legacy of the Gaekwad Family. They have given so much to the city. When I was trying to decide about a heritage site to visit, I thought of various places such as Laxmi Vilas Palace, Khanderao Market, Nyay Mandir etc. But I finally went ahead with some place which is itself a symbol of fame. i.e Kirti Mandir.
It is quite near to my home around 2 kms. I just started my bike and took off. The place is surprisingly calm and peaceful considering that it is located in the heart of the city. The guard there told me that students from Fine Arts Faculty of Maharaja Sayajirao University often visit this place due to its peaceful environment. Usually these students do sketching and painting here as its an ideal place to indulge in such an activity. It was very refreshing to see how well preserved this site is.
It was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III of the Gaekwad dynasty of the Marathasto perpetuate the glorious memory of his beloved ancestors. It was built in 1936 as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. The temple houses five wall paintings by artist Raja Ravi Varma showing various phases of battle of Mahabharata.The city of Vadodara, also popularly known as Baroda, used to be the seat of the Gaekwad or Gaikwad monarchs. It was formerly called by many names. The city was referred to as Chandravati, then Viravati, and Vadpatra due to the great quantity of banyan trees on the River banks of Vishwamitri. Kirti Mandir is situated in the city of Vadodara . It is a collection of temples built by Sayajirao Maharajah near the Vishwamitra Bridge of the city.
It is believed that Sayajirao Maharaja built this Kirti Mandir in the memory of deceased members of the royal Gaekwad family and the edifice is dedicated to Lord Mahadev. Today it is a major tourist attraction in the city. The outstanding stone building is constructed in the shape of a letter “E” with terraces, balconies, domes and a central sikhara that rises to approximately 35 metres. The interiors of the Kirti Mandir are marble treated and brilliantly decorated with intricately carved murals. The walls of the central hall are decorated with many impressive murals such as the Gangavataran, Life of Meera, battle of Mahabharat and Natir Poojan which are all very well preserved works from the renowned Bengali artist Nandalal Bose. Sayajirao is well remembered by people even today for his work to establish necessary primary education, a university, a library system, tile factories and model textile and thereby modernize Baroda, which resulted in building the image of Baroda as a modern industrial hub. In addition to the Kirti Mandir, Vadodara has a number of diverse attractions such as palaces, buildings, monuments, gardens, museums as well as modern entertainment. For the tourist there are endless possibilities to indulge in sightseeing. Though the town is lesser known compared to other major tourist attractions in India. Vadodara’s one of the tourist attraction is Kirti Mandir situated on the north of the statue of Prince Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad near the Vishwamitri Bridge. With a cluster of shiva temples it was built to commemorate the cremation of the members of the Gaekwad family. This “E” shaped large magnificent stone building with domes, terraces, balconies and central sikhara rising to about 33 metres. The Kirti Mandir of Baroda was built at the cost of Rs.50,000, it preserves in its various rooms the statues and photographs of the members of the royal family. The interior of this elegant structure is marble finished and on the walls of the central hall are the murals Gangavataran, battle of Mahabharat, Life of Meera and Natir Pooja-executed by the famous Bengali artist Nandalal Bose. The Kirti Mandir in Vadodara is actually a cluster of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.The marble treated interiors of the Kirti Mandir is wonderfully decorated with intricately carved murals. The characteristic ‘sikhara’ of this statuesque monument represents the sun, the moon and the earth in bronze with the undivided map of India.
I had loads of early morning fun during my visit to the Kirti Mandir. It was a great experience and a very good start to my GOUNESCO Journey as a Campus ambassador. Planning my next visit to a world heritage site at New Delhi as I get back to college. No prizes for guessing. Next up is the Red Fort. Hope to take a lot of gounesco selfies this year! 😀
Happy Reading and Travelling!!
Sources : Wikipedia