Madan Kamdev temple – Ruins of a majestic ancient architecture

Last Sunday me along with two of my brothers and a friend planned for a trip to the famous yet not-so-popular Madan Kamdev temple. We didn’t research much before planning to go the place. The idea was to go there and discover the place ourselves. The distance from Guwahati City as per google map was 40 Kilometer via Baihata Chariali. So we planned to go on Motorcycle(Bike as we call it).
We started at around 10:30 from Guwahati. It was a bright and pleasant day without much heat and humidity. One we were out from the City’s dusty roads, the riding was fantastic. The four lane highway from Jalukabari, the entry point to Guwahati City, is good enough to handle the traffic and there is no more congestion as we faced a few years ago. Also the new three lane road bridge makes the crossing of mighty Brahmaputra much easier without any jam over the bridge. Once over the bridge one can have a view of the mighty Brahmaputra one both sides and a glimpse of the cityscape to the right.
It took around half an hour to reach Changsari from Jalukbari. We stopped there for a sip of cold water and then resumed journey for our destination. From Baihata we turned right towards Mangaldoi and after a kilometer or two a sandstone coloured gate to the right welcomed us towards the Madan Kamdev Temple with a signboard next to it.

The gate next to highway that welcomes visitors 

The ambience changed to a calm and quiet village atmosphere as we moved on the paved road towards the temple. There were medium sized paddy fields that were yet to rice by the side of the clean paver block topped road. Madan Kamdev is around three kilometres from the gate that welcomes visitors. It is good to see a three kilometer stretch of Village Road without any potholes. The soothing greens of fields, hillocks and trees around were super dose of relaxation.

Eye-soothing paddy fields on both sides of the road

From the foothills of the hillock on top of which the temple is located, the road goes through villages and joins to State Highway 2 which connects Amingaon to Bezera. Outside the temple entrance below the stairs, there is picnic place in the lap of the hillock. groups from nearby places come to have a time together in a quiet place.
We rode upto the stairs that lead to the temple. We walked upto the temple premise. There were people working to renovate the stairs. Beside the temple lies the ruin of other temples of a complex that once had several temple it seems. But now only the base of the temple structures are intact. The ruins of pillars, arches, animal statues, Siva lingam, pillar bases and other architectural pieces are scattered in the site. The site is under Archeological Survey of India and is open except for public holidays and entry is free. Permission of ASI is required for photography and videography for documentary purpose.

Base of a temple can be seen in distance

The site is believed to be constructed around 1000 AD during the reign of Pala dynasty. Local legends say that Kalapahad destroyed the temples during his temple demolition campaign in which he demolished other famous temples like Kamakhya Temple and Puri Jagannath. Destruction by earthquake cannot be ignored either on a later date after a sabotage by the Muslim General.

Broken blocks of stone that once was part of temple structure

Now there is no temple but only the ruins of ancient temple. The stone bases are still there. But no pillar is erect. ASI, it seems has kept the unearthed structure components on the stone base. There are some monolithic pillar structures with grooves for metal pieces for locking the blocks of stones with one another. Most of them are decorated with flowers, human figures, god and goddesses. There are scattered and damaged stone sculptures of animals mainly lion hunting prey. May be the sculptures once decorated the high pillars and arches of a majestic temple in distant past. Gazing over the ruins to distant trees may take ones thought to the time when the place was alive and beating.

Stone base and a sculpted monolith stone arch

The temple complex that is open for prayer these days for the devotees is right in front of the ruin complex. It contains one Shiva temple. One has to go downstairs to pay the offerings. With gable shaped shed in the front the larger temple contains sculptures of the Gods from the ruins. Surrounding area also contains different shapes and sizes of rocks from the temple ruin each showing fine stone cutting of some skilled artisan. Most of the stones contain ornamental design sculpted out of single rock once part of a huge temple and now lies with memoir sculpted on their chest.

various stone pieces intricately sculpted

A lion sculpture inside the present temple premise

Government took some interest in the place it seems and constructed a museum to preserve the antique sculptures. There are at least 30 statues of various sizes of different gods and some of human figures in display. Some are damaged and a good number are still in good condition considering their age. The sculptures are a marvel of ancient rock sculpting and baffled history lovers like me and my friend. Entry fee is a meagre 5 Rupee per person and it should not be missed.

A sculpture of Sun god inside the museum 

It would have been good if there is someone who could tell the true history of the place. Without knowings true past of such a place that once could have been a bustling religious activities always scorches the mind. The archiologists could not find enough historical relics to definitely say which  king constructed the temple though it is agreed that its been constructed during Pala Dynasty. The gentle Madankuri stream that flows below and the Gopeswar hill-chain may hide secrets that will never ever be known.

By the time we were done discovering the place, we were hungry and wanted to gulp anything in front. Baihata Chariali is not a great place for eating and dining. We had our lunch in a small restaurant and returned Guwahati by six.

Krang Shuri Falls – Picturesque and peaceful

We, a senior colleague of me and I, started from Guwahati at around seven in the morning, one hour later than we planned. We were not very sure about the route but very confident that google maps will guide us to the right place. After an hour of driving, we stopped at Jiva Veg restaurant for a breakfast as none of us had breakfast at home. But then the place was too crowded and waiter informed us that we may have to wait for about half hour before we can have a seat and order for a breakfast.
We gave up the idea of breakfast at the restaurant and moved forward and after sometime, we stopped by a roadside dhaba and had some decent breakfast with Puri Sabji. We started again at around 9:30 and reached Barapani by 10. We were in no mood to go through Shillong and therefore took the bypass towards Khliehriat. 

Rat-hole mining in the hills beside road

The route towards Khliehriat is beautiful with hills on both side of the road, small villages a few kilometres and small paddy fields in the valleys between hills. The road, though not a four lane one like the Guwahati-Shillong highway, is smooth for a nice and relaxing road trip. Enjoying the roadside sceneries we reached Mukhla at around 11 and took help of Google maps to determine if we are going in the right direction. We took right towards Jowai. From Jowai we took right to take Jowai Dowki road. From Jowai, Dowki is around 50 km and Krangshuri is around half the distance. A portion of road from Jowai towards Dowki is in bad condition but after that road is fantastic. We crossed the Myntdu river and kept driving through the hills to reach sprawling valleys spread between the road and upto distant hills. We drove for 180 km to reach the falls location at around 12:30. From the highway there’s a one kilometre drive upto the parking location. The route is not yet metalled but no problem for bigger cars. Small cars can go through too, but may have to be extra careful specially after rain.
We took our camera and trekked down from the parking to the waterfall. Its around two to three hundred feet walk on stone steps down to the waterfall. The falls are not loud enough that you can hear the roar from parking location. The walk down the steps bring some cheers as we finally reached a wooden viewpoint from where the upper portion of falls can be seen.

We walked down to the ticket counter and booked two tickets @ 40 per Adult. Theres not much hue and cry and other commercial activities and there is peaceful environment around as is expected in natures lap.

Just below the ticket booth theres one restaurant and the falls is just below it. We straightway went the falls. Its not a very high or big one but definitely superbly beautiful one that is worth the travel. Its a certain of water falling from height of around 40 feet to the water below in a single plunge. A beautiful blue pool of water is created below the falls. There are small and large rocks on which one can sit and behold the waterfall in front for hours.

The fall from the stone staircase that leads to the pool below

As we gathered that there is tent for night halt, we planned to stay there at night. Every basic facility for night stay at tents near the falls is provided. The tent price for three people is a meager 500 Rupees. We two stayed at night in the tents had dinner at the restaurant walked around the place to enjoy the serene atmosphere. The sound of waterfall, crickets/cicadas and black starry night created a perfect ambient for a great sleep.
Next morning it was drizzling. There is a dam like structure created in upper portion of the waterfall. It creates a passage to cross the stream to go to the other end and at the same time creates a pool that is safe enough for swimming.

The passage joining two sides of the steam

We had our breakfast at the restaurant after we shot couple of photographs. We left the place thanking the staffs of the canteen for their amazing hospitality.

The restaurant serves good food with great hospitality

It was a great feeling being there and staying at night. But as if that was not enough offer from nature,  the scenic beauty of the road while coming back was breathtaking. We moved through clouds now and then. Entering the clouds and coming out of it was a normal phenomena. It was too dreamy a ride from the falls towards Jowai for at least upto Jarain.

En-route back from the falls

And then the sun came out to present us a beautiful bright day that was so blissful that one cannot but admire the beauty of nature. 

Meadow above Tyrshi falls

We drove and stopped wherever we got chance to shoot some picturesque place to capture the memories of what we saw. Tyrshi fall is one such location. It was a great journey and awesome destination to say the final words.