About Chanderi

According to legend, the genesis of Chanderi proper, that is the present town of Chanderi is attributed to an overriding oral folk tradition, the ‘miracle of water’, the protagonist of which is Kirtipal, the seventh king of the erstwhile Gurjara – Pratihara dynasty.

The saga unfolds in the forests surrounding Chanderi, which were frequented by King Kirtipal and his entourage. Kirtipal, also known as Kurmdeva or the leper king, was an avid sportsman and hunter. While on a hunting excursion, Kirtipal spotted a deer and began to chase after it, wandering deep into the forest and leaving his hunting party far behind. He relentlessly tried to pursue the route he had taken but could not find his way out. After hours of aimless circumambulation, he reached a large clearing with a pond. Dismounting from his horse, he dipped his hand into the water and the scars on his hand healed miraculously. Overwhelmed by the miracle he had just witnessed, he plunged into the pristine waters of the pond and when he came out, leprosy had left his body.

He then saw a beautiful girl watching him intently. Intrigued by her presence in the middle of the forest, he called out to her. Startled by his call, she started running and he followed her, but she evaded him and led him on a long chase. Suddenly she stopped and when he tried to come closer, she ordered him to halt. As she spoke, the echo of her voice enveloped the forest. She revealed that she was a Devi, a goddess, it was with her blessing had Kirtipal had been cured of his leprosy. In return, she ordered him to build a temple for her on top of a hill where the ancient King Shishupal had performed a yagya. She told him not to place an idol in the temple and to keep its doors locked for nine days. On the tenth day, when the temple doors were to be opened, he would be able to see her incarnated statue inside. Kirtipal vowed to build this temple for her.

When he returned to his kingdom, he described his encounter with the Devi vividly. Everybody was amazed at the miracle which cured the king of leprosy and celebrated for days to come. After returning to his kingdom, Kirtipal forgot about his promise and the Devi started appearing in his dreams, reminding him about his promise. Extremely disturbed by this recurrent dream, he found the cave on top of the hill, built a temple there and locked the doors, just as she had directed him.

However, he grew extremely curious and opened the doors of the temple before time since he wanted to see how the Devi would materialize. On opening the doors, Kirtipal was greeted by a surge of hot air; when it receded, his body was inflicted with leprosy again. As he had broken his promise, the Devi had cursed him and vowed never appear in front of him again. This was followed by the mysterious decline of Boodhi Chanderi, prompting Kirtipal to shift his capital to present day Chanderi, followed by the mass – migration of his people.

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