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Garh Kundar(गढ़-कुंडार) (also spelt as Gadhkudhar) is a small village situated in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. It has been named so after the splendid fort of Kundar located here. ‘Garh’ means ‘fort’.

Origin of Name : The name ‘Kundar’ is derived from ‘Kundarka’ (Kund + Arka, कुंड+अर्क). ‘Kund’ (कुंड) means ‘pond’ and Arka’ (अर्क) means ‘sun’. There was a pond in the village, built by the sun-worshipping kshatriyas (called Arkawanshis). It is said that the people used to get rid of their skin diseases after bathing in the pond or the ‘Arka-kund’. The remnants of the pond can still be seen near the temple of ‘Gajanan Maa’

The Garh Kundar fort is located on a high hill, surrounded by picturesque hills and forests. Besides the main fort the remains of various ancient structures can be seen here. These isolated remains seem to quietly narrate the tale of their splendid past. There is an ancient decaying temple of Gajanan Maa (an epithet of Goddess Durga, considered to be ‘Kula Devi’ by Khangars), built by Maharaja Khet Singh Khangar. There is also a temple of ‘Giddha Vahini’ Devi located here. The fort has a complex built around a large and spacious courtyard. A few rock and pillar inscriptions have been found in the fort. Among the rough and overgrown stones, boulders and fallen masonry have been found the beautiful pillars of sun and moon. The granite flooring of the fort is said to have been renovated by the Bundela kings during Mughal period.

Kundar came into prominence after a chief of Khangars Khet Singh decided to build his capital here, in 1180s AD. He captured the fortress of Jinagarh from Chandelas, which was located here, and established his own state. After his death his grandson Maharaja Khet Singh Khangar built a splendid fort in place of Jinagarh fortress and named it ‘Garh Kundar’. Garh Kundar remained as the capital of Khangar kings till its capture by Mohammad Tughlaq’s army in 1347 A.D. Later it was handed over to Bundelas, who were feudatories of Mughals. Besides the main fort the remains of various ancient structures can be seen here. These isolated remains seem to quietly narrate the tale of the splendid past of Khangar kshtriyas. It is in the large and spacious courtyard of the fort, princess Kesar De (daughter of last Khangar king Maharaja Maan Singh) committed ‘jauhar’ (a ritual of voluntary immolation by jumping into a pool of fire, undertaken in medieval times by the kshatriya queens and princesses to save their honour from the invading enemy). A few rock and pillar inscriptions have been found in the fort, which tell us the story of Kesar De’s sacrifice. The chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh announced a sum of rupees two crore forty three lakhs for the conservation of historical fort of Kundar during 3-day festival called "Virasat" held at the fort in December 2006.

The fort was built by Khet Singh Khangar in the first half of the 12th century A.D. but Chandela ruler Parmardidev captured it in 1182 A.D. and appointed Shila Paramara as its Kiledar. After the downfall of the Chandelas, Khoob Singh Khangar occupied the fort. In 1257 A.D. Sohanpal Bundela defeated Hurmat Singh Khangar and occupied the fort. It became the first capitial of the Bundela dynasty. The Bundela rulers included Sohanpal, Sahajendra, Nanakdev, Prithviraj, Ran Singh, Ramchandra Medini Pal, Arjun Dev, Malkhan Singh and Rudra Pratap. In 1531 A.D. Rudra Pratap shifted the capital to Orchha.
There exists a three-storeyed palace on the top of a hillock surrounded by the rampart of the fort. It was built by the Bundelas in three phases. The first phase was built in the 13 century A.D. and the last phase in the 17 century A.D. Built on a square plan the palace has a spacious courtyard over the basement surrounded by rectangular rooms and a verandah. The brackets, arches and Hindola arches of this palace are of Rajput style while dome-shaped small chhatris and palanquin shaped roofs represent the Bundela architecture of the 17 century A.D.
Many portions of fort and the stone screens inside the palace had collapsed. Badly damaged wall plaster and chhajja (sunshades) stones were other problems. To prevent further damage or deterioration the department took up a restoration drive continuously for two years, by executing the works considered necessary. Restoration of partly collapsed fortification wall by R.R.masonry with lime pointing, restoration of huge main entrance gateway by stone masonry work including pillars, lintels and facia finished with decorative plaster and repairing of steps was undertaken. Approach road to fort by cutting and filling, consolidation with stones and top cast with murum, watering and ramming was also accomplished.

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The list of Unmarried MALE and FEMALE who were submitted his/her Biodata in the "Parichay Sammelan-2017" on 05-11-2017 held at Lalghati, Bhopal (MP), will be published shortly in " Khangar Manthan Patrika "
 

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