Ramnagar Inscription: Making of the Temple and the Queen
Authors: Amulya Dixit & Tanashree Redij
Year: 2023, Volume: 14, Page/Article: 27-46, DOI: https://doi.org/10.47509/AA.2023.v14i01.03
The power of the Gond rulers in Central India, like all the kingdoms, was evident in architectural activities. The Gond rulers shifted their capital multiple times, and each time, they constructed magnificent forts and temples that mark their presence. The Vishnu temple at Ramnagar, located in the Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh, is one such royal temple constructed by the Gonds and is an essential landmark for understanding their architectural style.
The Gond king Hridayeshvara was the one to establish Ramnagar (22.6115° N, 80.5084° E) as the capital of the Gonds in 1667 CE and constructed a fort here. The fort houses an inscription commemorating the construction of the Viṣṇu temple by Sundari Devi, the queen of King Hridayeshvara. It was Sundari Devi only who got the aforementioned inscription inscribed, which is written in Devanagari script, with the language being Sanskrit. The Ramnagar stone inscription is the only archaeological source having the confirmed dates for the architectural activities of the Gond rulers.
The proposed research paper argues that the architecture of the temple and the style of the inscription, when studied in the more extensive spectrum of the history of Gonds, points toward the possibility that the Viṣṇu temple at Ramnagar augmented the socio-political status of the queen Sundari devi. Moreover, the Ramnagar inscription played a twin role in uplifting Sundari Devi, along with the temple she constructed to the highest alcove in the political hierarchy.