Plate 6. Carved shaft of both orders of columns in front of the cave
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink and watercolour drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey of the carved columns in front of the cave temple of Nilakanth at Kalinjar, from an album of 60 drawings dated 1847-1854.
Situated atop an almost impregnable 1000-foot-high hill, with cliffs on all sides, Khalinjar was an ancient stronghold of the Chandella rulers of Bundelkhand from the 9th to the 15th centuries; it was later conquered by Akbar in 1569 and fell to Colonel Martindell in 1812. Within the fort there are numerous archaeological remains. From a gateway in the preserved inner curtain wall two flights of steps lead down to Kalinjar's holiest shrine, the Nilakanth Temple. There are numerous inscriptions and rock carvings on the way down to the shrine and masterpieces of Chandella sculpture. A wonderful lifesize dancing Ganesh wearing ankle bells is carved onto a pillar in a doorway. Outside the sanctuary there is an hexagonal mandapa or pavilion; this is now roofless but its finely carved pillars have preserved their mouldings and capitals. In his "Descriptions of the antiquities at Kalinjar", Lieut. F. Maisey wrote, "The small brackets or corbels, A.A. fig. 2, (MS) Plate VI and M.N.O.P. fig. 2, (MS) Plate VII. are said to have once supported arches, the crown being left into the cornice; there are no traces of these arches, but it is evident that some support existed, as the holes in the bottom of the cornices on each face of the octagon are still visible."