In the first installment of the Icons of India series, we headed to Chandigarh, India’s first modern planned city, to admire the grandeur of India’s highest triumph tower, accompanied by the new Hyundai Verna. The Hyundai Venue N Line took us south from our base in Delhi NCR to the heart of the country for the second half.
Chanderi, a tiny town in Madhya Pradesh, is around 550 kilometers from the national capital. In the context of modern India, it is little, yet it has enormous historical significance. The first 200 kilometers of the road from Delhi NCR are along the Yamuna Expressway all the way to Agra, after which one must transfer on NH44 for the remaining 200 kilometers. Because the link between the Yamuna Expressway and the NH44 skirting Agra is still completed, one must either drive through the city, suffering its chaotic traffic and constricted roadways or leave the tarmac behind and undertake some light off-roading on tiny rural roads before connecting the NH44.
We chose the latter since it saves time, and because the Venue has good ground clearance, we didn’t have to avoid any of the unpaved areas. With heavy commercial vehicle traffic all over the NH44, the Hyundai Venue N Line was able to demonstrate how effective the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol and 7-speed DCT combo is at fast cutting through all those sluggish movers who have no sense of lane driving. While Google Maps may recommend taking the route through Jhansi, traveling through Pichhore is a preferable option because it is just a few kilometers longer but far faster due to superior roads and far more picturesque.
The Mahabharata has allusions to Chanderi, according to a plaque in the Chanderi Fort complex. Mentions of Chanderi may be discovered in the 11th-century writings of Persian scholar al-Biruni. King Kirtipal of the Pratihara Dynasty built the town as the capital city in the 10th and 11th centuries. The territory passed through the hands of the Malwa sultans, the Mughals, and the Bundela Rajputs, and it witnessed power conflicts when the British attempted to seize control. The town’s legendary past can be found all over the place, with centuries-old architecture standing tall and strong. It also has a number of Hindu and Jain temples, emphasizing Chanderi’s religious significance.
Kati Ghati, which is located south of Chanderi, was built in 1490 by Jiman Khan during the reign of Malwa Sultan Ghiyasuddin Shah. The entrance was built by cutting through solid rock and is 80ft tall, 39ft wide, and 192ft long. It originally welcomed guests with a magnificent view of the Fort in the distance and kept intruders at bay. It is now a popular tourist destination, yet it is not connected to any of the major highways coming into or out of Chanderi. The route through Kati Ghati is still available to the public, although it is not part of the current road network that connects Chanderi to cities and villages to the south.
The Chanderi Fort or Kirti Durg, named after King Kirtipal, who founded the city, is one of the most popular tourist sites in Chanderi. The complex has a number of notable structures, including the Johar Monument, the tomb of famed singer Baiju Bawara, and the ancient gateway to the fort – Khooni Darwaja.
Present-day Chanderi is primarily known for the cloth that bears its name. There is no evidence referring to its origin, but according to mythology, Lord Krishna’s cousin Shishupala introduced it, tying it to the Mahabharata. Its small alleyways are replete with loom-wielding houses producing saris at the hands of artisans whose abilities have been passed down through generations. These looms are still somewhat basic, with most artisans dependent on local stores for design, color, and fabric selection. These hand-woven saris are pieces of art that provide the backbone of the town’s economy.
To be honest, Chanderi’s history is just too rich to put into our tale here, with each site, each structure built throughout the years presenting a story that might fill pages and pages of text. Chanderi is sometimes ignored by tourists, but it is well worth a visit for people who are captivated by centuries-old architecture and understand its historical value, as well as for a sneak glimpse inside the production of those magnificent Chanderi saris.
The owner of Hyundai Venue’s point of view
Gurdeep and Usha Bhalla love their Hyundai Venue, which they chose from a sea of options because of its convenience, broad list of amenities, and efficient powertrain. “It was an obvious choice and the best value for money,” Gurdeep Bhalla explains.
Having previously owned a Hyundai vehicle, he had great confidence in the brand’s after-sales and service assistance, emphasizing that the peace of mind that comes with owning a Hyundai was a major factor in choosing the Venue. “I believe the Hyundai Venue is the best car in the segment, offering the right mix of practicality, space, features, and fuel efficiency,” he adds, looking forward to driving it on his daily commutes as well as his regular outstation travels.
The Hyundai Venue N Line delivers the appropriate balance of utility and an exciting driving experience, demonstrating once again that a decent car goes a long way toward making road journeys more enjoyable. Stay tuned as we continue our examination of the country’s culture, tradition, and diversity with the Icons of India series.