Impressive Mahanal Shiva temple complex, Rajasthan

Mahanal Shiva temple. rajasthan.

Mahanal Shiva temple 
Mahanal Shiva temple, Rajasthan
There is an eleventh century temple complex in  Menal  and the Shiva temples are on both sides of the waterfall. The name Menal is derived from Maha Nal (great gorge). Built by Someshvar Chahamana and his queen Suhavadevi of the Shakambhari dynasty during the 11th century A.D (circa), it is popular tourist destination in the summer.  The king was responsible for completing the  main structural group on the left side of the gorge,  whereas the queen was instrumental in the building of  the single temple with a detached monastery across the river.  Though the inscriptions  in this temple are missing, the general consensus has been that both the queen and the ruler played a great role in the construction of this Shiva complex in this isolated, but cool  area.  

This temple complex and the place gained popularity among the people of Rajasthan during the reign of   famous King Prithviraj Chauhan. This place was his favorite mountain retreat he used to cherish during the hot season. This place offered him a serene and cool ambiance. For  his comfortable long stay here, he had a palace  built on the banks of the Menal river which runs over granite outcrops mingled with weaker rocks. Terrain and the river's force over a period of time eroded  the rocks forming  a big  water fall that plunges into a gorge over 122 meters deep.

The Mahanaleshvara temple has small temples in the front besides ornamental gates and arches. The temple design is that of western Indian style.  A striking feature is  the presence of a  seated stone lion, and many  guardian deities carved on protruding panels in the walls. The inner sanctum is different from south Indian style.  It has  projecting balconies and a roof consisting   pyramidal array of ribbed and finely carved stone. A three story gateway with  carved  images of the gods Ganesha and Bhairava forms the entrance to the mandap. It resembles a Buddhist Vihar. The square shaped courtyard beyond the entrance has a huge Shiva temple,  a carved pagoda and pillars. The walls of the temple carry carved images with motifs of Hindu deities and various other themes, interspersed with images of elephants.  The images of Shiva and Parvati  dominate the engravings and  are carved in  various postures surrounded by dancers, musicians, demi-gods and animals. 
Around the Shiva temple lie a large number of  small ruined shrines,  The main shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva is made of  sand-stone and also brickwork. The sanctum /garb-griha  of this  temple has  ornate pillars along the sides of the smaller temples.  Before the main temple  there is an enclosure for Shiva's mount Rishabham (bull). It is a well-made stone bull, but the enclosure is a small one. 
Mahanal Shiva temple. bull  enclosure
'The temple has a conventional ground plan—with five graduated projections dictating pillar positions. Strings of mini-shrines on the tower are bulkier as compared to the finer ones at Bijolian.''  .