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Kurwai Travel Guide

Kurwai (Korwai) is a small town and a nagar panchayat in the Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh with a population of about 14,000. Kurwai used to be a Muslim princely state of British India, but is now just a town in sovereign India.

Kurwai as a former state was founded in 1730 by Mohammed Dalair Khan, an Afghan who rose through the ranks fo the Mughal army meritoriously. The state grew and by 1892 covered some 370 square kilometers and boasted a population of over 24,500.

From 1730 to 1948, Kurwai was run by Mohammed Dalair Khan's descendents. In 1948, the last ruling Nawab acceded to the government of India to become the new state of Madhya Bharat, added to the Vidisha district. Eight years later, Kurwai was merged into Madhya Pradesh.

Sarwar Ali Khan
Sarwar Ali Khan is the son of the last Nawab of Kurwai. He married Abida Sultan, the heiress presumptive of the Nawab of Bhopal. Rather than succeed to the throne, Abida Sultan renounced it by joining Pakistan's foreign service in 1950. The couple had one son, Shaharyar Khan who later became the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan as well as its ambassador and high commissioner. He was also the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board before resigning in 2006.

Sarwar Ali Khan remarried and had a second wife, who was Princess Ayesha, the daughter of the Nawab of Wai. They had three children, including Kaiser Zaman who founded the All Saints School in Bhopal.

The main attractions of Kurwai are in Badoh-Pathri, a village in Kurwai Tehsil of the same district. Badoh-Pathri is situated at a distance of about 19 kilometers by road and is east of the Kulhar Railway Station on the Delhi-Bombay main line of Central Railway. The road is metalled up to Pathari, which is 18 kilometers from Kulhar, while the rest of it is Kachha. Badoh is about 30 kilometers to the southeast of Kuwai. It is also linked by road with Vidisha and Udaipur. There are regular buses that run from Vidisha to Pathari.

Gadarmal Temple
One of the sights in Badoh is the Gadarmal Temple, located about 84 kilomters away from the district headquarters. In medieval times, Badoh was a town of considerable importance as is testified by the numerous remains of temples. Gadarmal temple is one of these temples, which being of enormous height is visible from a long distance. The temple as it stands is comprised of two distinct parts belonging to different periods. One part is the basement of the shrine and the porch which are the remnants of the original temple, which date to around 9th century AD. The second part is the temple's Shikhara that replaced the original one. It is made up of the heterogenous pieces picked up from the ruins of Jain and Hindu temples.

Dashavatara Temple
On the north side of the local lake at Badoh, there exists ruins of a group of small Vaishnava shrines popularly called the Dashavatara Temple and a large open pillared hall; both are dedicated to the ten incarnations of Vishnu. They date back to around 8th to 10th century AD. On the western bank, there are ruins of several sati pillars that date probably to around 9th or 10th century AD. One of these pillars has four sculptured faces, depicting a seated group of Hara-Gauri with musicians and dancers below a bust of a male figure holding up both hands.

Solakhambi Temple
The Solakhambi Temple is another sight in Badoh, only a short distance away from the Dashavatara Temple. The Solakhambi Temple, locally known as Sola-Khambi, is situated on the north side of Badoh's local lake and is flat roofed, open, and sixteen pillared. The building is 7.6 square meters and stands 1.5 meters high with moulded plinth. The building structure belongs to the age of the Gupta Empire.

Sat-Madhi Temple
Only a short distance ahead of the Solakhambi is the Sat-Madhi group of six temples, which are Vaishnavite and Shaivite. One of the temples is dedicated to Ganesh, and the sculptures found there include three seated idols of Buddha.

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