Plate 11. Sculpture of Ganesh from temple of Nilkanth
Artist: Maisey, Frederick Charles (1825-1892)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing by Frederick Charles Maisey, of a sculpture of Ganesh from the temple of Nilkanth at Kalinjar. This drawing is 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. This drawing depicts the wonderful lifesize dancing Ganesh wearing ankle bells which 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. Inside the cave there is the blue stone lingam with silver eyes, venerated for more than 1000 years.