The Gwalior region, containing seven districts viz. -Gwalior, Morena, Sheopur, Bhind, Datia, Shivpuri and Guna, has witnessed a vast tradition of rock cut art. The rock cut art activities in the region appear from Gupta period up to the medieval period. The earliest evidence of rock cut art, i.e. caves and sculptures are reported from Tumain (dist. Guna) which belong to the Brahmanism and Jainism.
The art of rock cut sculpture received perfection during the early Pratihara period. In this connection a unique group of Jaina images nemely Trisalagiri group near Urwahi gate at Gwalior fort is noteworthy. After that huge caves and massive sculptures were executed all around the hill edge of Gwalior fort in the reign of Tomar king Dugarendra Singh (1427-1459 A.D.) and Kirti Singh (1459-1480 A.D.)
It is noteworthy that after Gupta period the rock cut art of Gopadri region was mainly confined to the Jainism. The rock cut art of Gopadri region was mainly confined to the Jainism. The rock cut art activities, particularly sculptures, were reported around the Gwalior fort till now. The author has taken into account some other rock cut sculptures from Tiktoli-Dumdar (Dist. Morena) very recently. In this context Tiktoli-Dumdar is very important site to study.
The village Tiktoli-Dumdar lies 80 km. from Gwalior and 45 km. from Morena district headquarter in Joura tehsil on Morena-Sabalgarh state highway. 01 km. away from the village some rock cut Jaina sculptures were carved in a hill edge of Vindhyan ranges from 50 feet high from the rock surface and a structural temple is also constructed to surround the sculptures.
Thus, there are two temples and a Manastambha. For covering the height of 50 feet a huge platform measuring 50 feet in height and 60 ft. in breadth and length, is raised before the temple having a flight of steps right side. There is a perennial water reservoir near the temple above the rock mass which is very useful for the congregational needs of the temple throughout the year.
This plarform not only provides a standing place for the devotees but keeps away the water flow of the reservoir which turned into a fall in rainy season nearby. The south-west corner of the platform has fallen down.
This site was first reported by shri M.B. Garde in Gwalior Archaelogical report in 1916-171. These sculptures have not been properly srudied. The present Note aims at the iconographic study of the sculptures found from Tiktoli.
The descriptions of the temples and sculptures is as follows :
There are three rock cut sculptures in this temple. The middle one is 14 feet in height and is flanked on either side by a small Jina image each of 3 feet in height. The cognizance of the Tirthankaras are absent so the proper identification is not possible.
Infact, three Jaina images are carved together which are popular among the local folk as Santinatha, Kunthunatha and Arhanatha. These are in kayotsarga posture. They have srivatsa on their chest. The tallest image is endowed with some asta-pratiharyas like Chatra, Prabhamandala, Vidhyadharas in parikara. Prabhamandala is embellished with lotus petals. An elephant figure is also shown on either side pouring water out of the vases on parikara.
These sculptures are insite in a small porch like shell which measures 2.4 x 2.60 x 5 m. This shell has asmall doorway measuring 4 x 2 feet. The shell has a flight of steps which opens to a stone fixed horizontally before the sculpures for the convenience of Jalabhiseka. The temple has a flat roof.
The temple has a rock cut Jina image of 23rd Tirthankara Parsvanatha seated in padmasana in dhyana mudra on a simhasana. He is crowned with seven serpent hoods. Three snakes are shown as his cognizance entwined with each other in the middle of the simhasana.
This image measures 6.5 feet in height. Image has srivatsa symbole on the chest. Some of the asta-pratiharas like, Vidhyadharas, Simhasana are shown in parikara. An elephant figure is also shown on either side pouring water out of the vases on parikara. Simhasana is simple having two lions on either sides and cognizance in the middle. The Dharma-Cakra is not depicted. This image is very intact.
This image is installed in a small it’s door way measures 4.6 x 2 feet. The shell is surrounded with a rekha-nagara-Sikhara in simple puttern. It’s upper portion has now been broken.
Both the temple are facing west. The lalatabimba of both the temples have a seated image of Tirthankara. The sculptures are endowed with some yogic attributed viz. nasagra-dristi, lamba-karna, griva-rekha, ajanabahu. srivatsa, dhynana-mudra etc. The arrangement of hair is totally conventional having no usnisa. A mandapika is constructed in front of each temple. The mandapika is front of temple no. 2 is totally collapsed. The shells and the mandapikas seem to be a later construction.
Manastambha-Between the temple no. 1 and 2 a rock cut Manastambha, 4’10” in height is carved which is surrounded with a small Jina image in padmasana. Below the Manastambha a pair of foot-prints are shown and an inscription is also engraved here.
The inscription is not quite legible, it’s language is Samskrta and script is Nagari. It records the installation of the image in the reign of Tomar king vikramaditya. M.B. Garde mentions that the inscription is dated Vikrama Samvata 1542.2 But after taken estampage of the inscription by author and read it carefully, it found that the date is Vikrama Samvata 1578 (1521 A.D.) with the name of Tomar king Vikramaditya.
The foot prints indicate that a Jaina Bhasttaraka had ever been cremated over there. So a Bhattaraka pitha was existed there at that time.
The Manastambha is surrounded with side walls of both the temples. The roof is now collapsed. Before the temple no. 2 and the Manastambha a common mandapa is built which rest on 6 pillars, devoid of any ornamentation.
The epigraphical evidence clearly place these images in 1521 A.D.in the regin of Tomar king Vikramaditya (1519-1523 A.D.). It was assumed that the rock cut art activities took place in the time of Tomar king Dugarendra Singh and Kirti Singh and after that it was stopped but the inscription proclaimed that these activities were continued after Kirti Singh or in the reign of his successor Vikramaditya.
These images are not exquisitely carved. It seems to be an attempt to follow the pattern of rock art sculptures at Gwalior fort. These images show the artistic inferiority of medieval period. In shape and size these are as huge as Gwalior fort but in contemporary iconographic depiction and artistic intelligence these are inferior. Physical composition of the images are not refined.