Dhar – India’s Hidden Gem

Dhar is small hidden gem in Madhya Pradesh, India. With an incredibly rich history that Dhar has, the monuments here phenomenal. Dating back to the 10th century, Dhar has a lot of historical sites and stories to offer to tourists. History lovers will definitely enjoy this place the most. It was under the Maratha dominance from 1730. The monuments in this city contain a lot of important pieces of cultural, historical and also national importance. In this article, I will be telling you about some of these monuments in Dhar which you should definitely go visit when in Dhar. If you want to know a little more about this beautiful city, please keep reading.
Dhar Fort –
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this incredible fortress is built entirely out of red stone (which is sandstone), and is located atop a hill, like most forts. The boundaries of this fort can be seen from about 1-2 km away from the actual fort. This fort has 3 huge gates which you have to pass through to enter inside the fort. The legend of this fort says it was built by the Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq. It was built in the 14th century. At the time, Alaunddin Khilji was the ruling Delhi. That is why the architecture of this fort is Islamic. Inside the fort is a big archeology museum, and is famous to be the oldest museums in Madhya Pradesh. There are 2 palaces in the fort, one of them is Sheesh Mahal and the other one is Kharbuja Palace. It is name so thanks to the dome shaped top of it which resembles a muskmelon. This one lies at the top of the fortress and overlooks the entire city, and although this is a ruin, it is still in a relatively good condition. As for the Sheesh Mahal, only the remains of it can be found and it is not in the best condition as the Kharbuja Mahal.
Bhoj Shala –

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This was a place built by Raja Bhoj in the 10th century. This is one of the most famous places in Dhar. He built this place like a centre for education and learning. He placed an idol of Goddess Laxmi in this school and built around it temple. Mughals invaded this place, and destroyed it. They took with them the belongings of the school, along with the idol of the Goddess. Today, this idol lies in UK, and was taken there by the British. For a 900 year old place, it is in pretty good shape to this day. The carvings on the pillars and on the stones are still visible. The intricate detailing on these is commendable. One can read the inscriptions written on the walls of the school. It would leave anyone amazed. Raja Bhoj himself was incredibly knowledgeable and wrote and read a lot of literature. It is said that some of the inscriptions on the walls might be written by Raja Bhoj himself. The stunning architecture of the symmetry of the pillars in this school is eye catching.
Lat Masjid –

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Also known as pillar mosque, it was built in the 15th century by Dilawar Khan. Lat is actually iron in English. There is pillar in the premises of this mosque and this pillar was destroyed in the 13th century. This pillar was gifted to Raja Bhoj, and now it is kept in the courtyard out the mosque. There are only 3 parts of the pillar that survived the destruction, these are the ones kept on display. An interesting fact about it is that it was built using the ruins of Hindu and Jain temples. These temples were originally built in the era of the Parmar kings. They were destroyed in the war. Back then, Dhar used to be the capital of the Malwa region, which was under the Muslim rule. It was its capital until they shifted the capital to Mandu as it was more capable of being a capital than Dhar. Inside the mosque, there is courtyard in the middle of it and you will find the same carvings and details in the stones here as in Bhoj Shala, as they were built at the same time.
This city is a paradise for history and photography lovers. The monuments here are spectacular and full of history and details. Some of the monuments took a really long time to get built, so much as that they couldn’t be completed in the time of the rule of the existing king and were still being continued to be built in the reign of his successor. This was a little about the beautiful city of Dhar and its monuments. I hope you enjoyed this article, and made you want to put Dhar on your bucket list. Do let us know in the comments if you did!
- Kinjal Dixit