MADHYA PRADESH, INDIA, July 2, 2023 (Indian Narrative): India has several ancient temples which are standalone and also vast complexes housing several of these worship places. Among these Madhya Pradesh’s Bateshwar temple complex located in Morena district stands out as it has more than 200 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Goddess Shakti – representing the three major traditions of Hinduism. While the temples are by and large small, they are spread out in more than 25 acres and were built between the 9th and the 11th Century by the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty in a style of North Indian temples named after them. The complex came to be named after the Bhuteshvar temple – the largest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at the site.

Explaining the significance of complex, well-known archaeologist K.K. Muhammed who retired as the Regional Director, North of Archaeological Survey of India and headed the restoration work of these temples, told India Narrative: “This site has the largest number of temples which is 200 or even more if we count those around the complex. Apart from this, Aihole temple complex in Karnataka has 108 temples. As the temples at Bateshwar are dedicated to varied denominations – Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Shakti and also Hanumanji – makes it an important site.” Between 2004 and 2012, the ASI team led by Muhammed started the restoration of these temples. On reaching the site, he and his team found it in shambles and smithereens. Sharing his experience with India Narrative, Muhammed said: “It was like a jigsaw puzzle on a gigantic scale. Fortunately, unlike other sites where the broken parts of the temple are missing or destroyed, here because of the dacoits, they had remained untouched – in its pristine purity. We cleared the forest which had grown there and the mounds of debris and sorted the parts and matched them. A few standing temples were a great help while we also used Vastu Shastra and consulted treaties on temple architecture like Manasara and Mayamata.”

[HPI Note: Wikipedia,,_Madhya_Pradesh, states, “The temples were destroyed after the 13th century; it is not clear if this was by an earthquake, or Muslim forces.”]