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A devout centre Maihar in the state of Madhya Pradesh boasts of a rare combination of tradition and history. Maihar literally means Mai-Mother’s Har-Necklace. Historians strongly believe that the necklace of the dead Goddess Sati fell here when she was carried by Lord Shiva.
The crowning glory of Maihar is the Sharadha Devi Temple which is located on the Trikuta hills, which is about 5kms from the city, pilgrims come in large numbers every year to seek her blessings. The devotees fill their eyes with the beautiful idol of the goddess made of stone. There is an old manuscript near the goddess’s feet. Beside the goddess the statue of Lord Narsingh can be seen. These idols are estimated to be placed in about 502 AD. The introduction of the ropeway to the temple in the year 2009 benefited the pilgrims. The temple is famed to provide fascinating views of the underlying city.
Alha and Udal who fought bravely with the great King Pritviraj Chauhan belongs to Maihar. Alha took up a tough penance for 12 years and became immortal by Sharadha Mata’s blessings. Alha pond is located behind the temple. Devotees can visit Maihar to attain spiritual enlightenment and spend some time in tranquillity.
It is said that when Lord Shiva was carrying the body of the dead mother goddess (“Mai in Hindi“) Sati, her necklace (har in Hindi) fell at this place and hence the name “Maihar” (Maihar = Mai+Har, meaning the “necklace of mother“). There is also one fact about Maihar, that related to famous king Alha and his brother Udal.
According to the locals of Maihar, the warriors Alha and Udal, who had war with Prithvi Raj Chauhan, were very strong followers of Sharda Devi. It is said that they are the first ones to visit the goddess in this remote forest. They called the mother goddess by the name “Sharda Mai“, and henceforth she became popular as “Mata Sharda Mai“. Alha worshiped for 12 years and got the Amaratva with the blessings of Sharda Devi. Behind the temple and downhill is Alha Pond. At a distance of 2 km from this pond is situated an “Akhara” (wrestling ring) where Alha and Udal used to practice kushti (wrestling). The people of Maihar believe that Alha is still alive and comes at 4:00 a.m. to worship the Goddess Sharda.
The town was formerly the capital of the princely state of Maihar. The state was established in 1778 by Jogis clan, who were granted land by the ruler of the nearby state of Orchha.(Maihar king developed the other state Vijayraghavgarh). The state became a princely state of British India in the early 19th century, and was administered as part of Bundelkhand Agency in the Central India Agency. In 1871 the eastern states of Bundelkhand Agency, including Maihar, were separated to form the new agency of Bagelkhand in Central India. In 1933 Maihar, along with ten other states in western Bagelkhand, were transferred back to the Bundelkhand Agency. The title of the ruler is “MAHARAJA” and the present ruler is HH Maharaja Shrimant Saheb AkshayRaj Singh Ju deo Bahadur. The state had an area of 407 square miles (1,050 km2), and a population of 63,702 in 1901. The state, which was watered by the Tamas River, consists mainly of alluvial soil covering sandstone, and is fertile except in the hilly district of the south. A large area was under forest, the produce of which provided a small export trade. The title of the ruler was Maharaja.
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