Pohari (पोहरी) is a small town situated approximately 35 kms from Shivpuri and 160 kms from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh It is famous for its haunted Pohari fort and temples mainly – Ganesh temple and Jal Mandir.
Ganesh temple at Pohari was built by the Scindia dynasty about 200 years ago in 1737. Shitoles served the Princely state of Gwalior being Relatives of the Scindias. They were biggest Jahagirdar, once served as Deputy Governor of Delhi, their Jahagir included 255 Villages of Pargana Pune, 108 villages of Sonipat and Panipat, 62 villages from Varangao (Khandesh), Baleghat, Jafarabad, Hoshingabad etc. areas of North India. They owned ‘Pohari State of Madhya Pradesh being feudal lords of British Government. The jagirdarni of Pohari State, Balabai Shitole brought a statue of Ganesha from Pune and made it in Pohari. The Ganesha idol is installed right in front of fort window. So what is so special about this temple?
Ichhapurti Ganesh Mandir of Pohari – इच्छा पूर्ति गणेश
The specialty of this Pohari Ganesh Mandir is that the devotees who come here, before putting the kalava on the coconut, say their heart’s desire in front of Ganesha, and their wish is also fulfilled. Especially to get the desired groom, young women also do this. When the wish is fulfilled, the devotees come again to offer prasad and also offer the Kanyabhojan. Hence, you will observe many devotees returning to the temple to express their gratitude.
The proof of unwavering faith in Ganesha can be seen on the wall behind the idol in the temple. Here, you will find scribblings of the youth who have written their wishes. From the matters connected with the heart to passing with good numbers in the examinations, the devotees get relaxed by handing over the responsibility to the Ganesha of Pohari.
Rituals at Pohari Ganesh Temple
Usually, there are fewer people visiting the temple. But devotees increase every Wednesday and Chauth. Especially on Ganesh Chaturthi, this temple is quite crowded. Devotees come here from every corner of the country including Gwalior, Mumbai, Nashik and Delhi. On Ganesh Chaturthi, aarti is performed when the moon comes out. The temple is looked after the priest from Khandalkar family. In the year 1913, Vishwanath Khandalkar started looking after this temple. Since then, 4 generations have been serving Ganesha.
Best Time to Visit : September to Febuaray, especially Ganesh Chaturthi
Things to Do: Take blessings of Lord Ganesha and explore surroundings especially Pohri fort.
That takes us to other forgotten attraction of Pohri – its 2000 years old fort.
History of Pohari Fort
The fort of Pohri is a beautiful specimen of carving and is said to be 2,100 years old. The Scindia dynasty entrusted the responsibility of this fort to the commander Veer Khanderao. The old fort was renovated by Veer Khanderao, after which he stayed at this fort. As soon as Khanderao took charge of the fort, he got the news of the treasure being buried here. Khanderao searched for treasure in every corner of the fort. Because of this, every part of the fort was dug up, but the treasure was not found. There is a myth that Khanderao himself mysteriously disappeared in the fort. Scandia’s army searched Khanderao, but he was not found.
Haunted by ghosts
It is believed that there is more flow of paranormal powers at the fort. Local experts say that Khanderao lived here with his family centuries ago, but after his death, this fort has been in desolate till date. No family member lived here. People say that some family had thought of staying here but ghosts started harassing the women of the house. After which those women were cured by the tantrikas. It is said that the herds of ghosts here protect a buried treasure here. But the story of this treasure and its ghosts remains the biggest mystery.
According to locals, there used to be a school nearby but due to the haunting incidents, that school was closed.
Locals believe that a swarm of ghosts take hold of the fort at night. On some nights, the sound of dancing and singing comes from the fort. It Some of the guests at fort are well dressed adorned with jewellery and Khanderao himself is present there. Many elderly people have heard the rhythm of the dance and the beat of the mridang with the sound of ghungroos here.. Hence, no one dares to come here after evening.
People who went to find the treasure disappear
The fort has been deserted for many years. Many people were enchanted with the stories of treasure guarded by ghosts and attempted to find the treasure. Locals believe all these either disappeared or came back after losing their senses and also died due to mysterious diseases. Therefore, it is believed that the ghosts are protecting the treasure of the fort.
The government also opened a school in Fort, but the school had to be closed after the death of a child. Due to evil spirits and ghosts in the fort, no government office was opened thereafter. Whereas in many cities of the state, there are forts in which the government offices and colleges and schools are running.
All said, Pohri fort is still worth a visit during day-time for the adventurous travelers.
Jal Mandir of Pohari
Pohari is famous for a temple site that was constructed in the year 1811 and adapts a similar architecture like the Golden Temple,Amritsar. Bhagwan Radhakrishna (also known as Jal Mandir) was built by Radhakrishna Bansal (Khazanchi) in 1811 at the time of the fiefdom of Srimanta Bala Bai Shitole Saheb.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha, the temple is 3 stories. Statues of Lord Shankar and Ganesh are installed in the temple. Lord Radha-Krishna is also seated at the main entrance of the temple. The temple is based on the Rajput and Mughal construction styles. On entering the main gate of the temple, you will be surprised to see the amazing artistic form there. There is also a pool of water between the two-storey attractive halls built around the temple. Several scenes of the film Daku Hasina were also shot in the temple’s park. In the rainy season, both the lower floors remain submerged. It is interesting to note that the ground floor of the temple remains submerged in water no matter how dry the season. Whatever the season, the water of this destination is never reduced.
Pohri is interesting place with truly unique experiences for discerning traveler. So, when you visit the majestic Scindia Palace in Shivpuri, do stop by at this quaint little town.
How to reach Pohari (Pohri) from Shivpuri and Gwalior?
Although there are local state buses between Pohari and Shivpuri as well as Pohari and Gwalior, the best way to reach Pohari from Shivpuri or Gwalior is to hire a a local taxi from either of towns. Shivpuri has better options to stay as it is closer to Pohari and is in itself a huge tourist spot.