|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Naigarhi is a town and a nagar panchayat in Rewa district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It is notable for some monuments built by the Sengar zamindars, who ruled in the area before sovereignty. According to a survey, Naigarhi is one of the oldest inhabited villages in Madhya Pradesh. It was inhabited by the zamindars in the late 17th century. Naigarhi has a sub-divisional revenue office, a Village Municipality, a police station, a Government Hospital, two Government schools and a college.
In the late 15th century Naigarhi was a highly forested and non-colonised area. A young prince, called Chattradhari Singh, of the Sengar clan arrived from Ujjain with a small troop of soldiers and his wife, who was bearing an infant son. Myths and folk tales say that before entering Naigarhi, Singh began to construct a fort near to the Asthabhuja temple, two miles away. The walls had been completed when he had a vision of the goddess Ashtabhuja ordering him to build his fort somewhere else. He became confused and prayed to the goddess, asking her to tell him of a proper place where he could build a dignified and invincible fort. That following night he again witnessed the goddess in his dreams explaining him the process of finding the perfect place. She stated that in the dawn he would see a wild hare chased by a wolf, the place where the wolf clasps the hare will be a preferential location and if the wolf fails to catch the hare then he will have to retreat to his home. With the arrival of dawn, the prince dashed outside his tent and saw a hare chased down by a wolf; he followed them on his horse until the wolf grabbed the hare. The prince returned to the spot with his men and over the next 17 months a fort was constructed, mostly of wooden barricades. A dyke was excavated surrounding the fort for protection and a wholesome of bamboo trees were planted to shade it. After some years Chattradhari Singh died. He was succeeded by his son Hathiraj Singh who carried on his work of reconnoitring his family and fort. He built the great ‘Hathi Darwaza’ named after him and excavated another trench outside the main gate. In most of his reign Hathiraj was oblivious of incidents happening outside Naigarhi which was mostly surrounded by forests. This is the reason why the Baghels of Rewa were also unaware of this little kingdom inside their territories. Hathiraj met his demise at his early seventies and the most influential warrior of the history Pratap Singh took charge of his small earldom. According to history, Pratap was the one who populated and civilized the area by bringing people of different professions and skills. He is mostly regarded for his social reforms like banning sati in his family and estate, promoting combat classes to strengthen his dominion and converting the profession into a cast, for example, the son of a tailor will become a tailor because he belongs to a tailor caste, the children of a carpenter will become carpenter because carpenter is not only a profession but also a caste. Even today the village has the same old reform of profession by caste. Pratap also re-constructed the fort changing the wooden barricades into strong stone made bastions and walls. He almost rebuilt the fort with rooms and halls made of stone. Pratap Singh is regarded as a very pious and divine man. Myths say that he was a devotee of goddess Gayatri, and whenever he mumbled the divine gayatri mantra his sword would eventually come out from its sheath. He was a reputed guest of the Maharaja of Rewa who was from the Baghel clan and acquired many small manors of zamindars who were mostly his own family including younger princes who didn’t obtain the throne. The Baghel zamindars had a long time grudge against Pratap who was still an independent king under the Rewa kingdom. Even the Maharaja of Rewa was worried of Naigarhi’s influence but never battled Pratap.
Pratap Singh also built the marvellously stone craved temple known as Panchmandir within the premises of the fort, the temple consisted of family deities Lord Ram, Lord Hanuman and Lord Shiva. Another small temple is built inside the fort consists of goddess Kaali. After the death of Pratap Singh, his successors had a tussle for the kinship which is not properly mentioned in history. The next influential king of Naigarhi was Jagat Bahadur Singh who was mostly known for leading a lavish life with wine, music and women. He built the matchless stone carved Bara-dari built for dancing and salacious enjoyment. In an artistic view Bara-dari is an example of outstandingly chiselled work of fine maestros. But sadly in the year 1933 it was struck by a thunder along with the Panchmandir temple and is now a detritus. In the reign of Jagat Bahadur, Naigarhi faced tumultuous tussle with the Maharaja of Rewa who made it firm to conquer Naigarhi to end the long term tension of a revolt. Historical facts suggest that Rewa attacked Naigarhi five times but failed to conquer the fort which was supernaturally proteged by the divine powers of goddess Kaali. A village folk song transcends the valour of the Naigarhian warriors and the divinity of a cannon named ‘Lakshmaniya’ – which means straight to the ‘Lakshya’ or target. The Cannon was rumoured to turn to its own desired direction and shoot without the help of any soldier. Ironically, these reasons were enough to herald Naigarhi as an invincible dominion.
Gradually, Maharaja of Rewa found another way to capture Naigarhi. Jagat Bahadur Singh had five sons – Gopal Sharan, Mangaleshvara, Divakar, Prabhakar and Trishul Narayan, the Baghels kidnapped the eldest son Gopal Sharan and coerced Jagat Bahadur to accept his suzerainty. Helpless Jagat Bahadur in amour of his son accepted the suzerainty but ignored to give away his fort and honour. Maharaja of Rewa awarded Jagat Bahadur control over eighty four villages known as chaurasi. Finally, Naigarhi came under the zamindari of the Baghels of Rewa thanks to the treacherous ways of Maharaja Gulab. In the year 1935, Thakur Jagat Bahadur Singh died. Thakur Gopal Sharan Singh rook control of the zamindari and became a good leader of his masses. Born on 1 September 1923, Gopal Sharan went to become one of the most learned men in his chronology. He became an influenced writer and poet writing over a hundreds of poems depicting love and sacrifice. He built a bungalow at the realms of Allahabad and named it ‘Lal Kothi’ or red bungalow, for the education of his sons and daughters. He was a crony of the national poet Harivanshray Bachchan and Sumitranandan Pant, he also shared a friendly relationship with the poet Mahadevi Verma. Gopal Sharan Singh structured a legacy of himself and became a household name in Rewa district. His poems are still used in the books of Madhya Pradesh education board. In 1947 after the independence the ruling powers of landlords was transmitted to the newly formed Republic of India. Gopal Sharan Singh died in the year 1948 living his seven sons and two daughters behind and his eldest son Someshvara Singh became the last Thakur of Naigarhi marking the end of Naigarhi Zamindari while the second son Madhav Singh became a fellow adviser of his elder brother. The other five brothers dispersed in cities for a new life.
Naigarhi is under Deotalab vidhansabha. The first MLA of Deotalab was Thakur Someshvara Singh of Naigarhi which influenced the name and importance of Naigarhi in the regional politics. Naigarhi also started holding the Municipality elections. The current chairman of Naigarhi municipality is Harshavardhan Singh. Condition of Old fort During the past 50 years the condition of the fort grew from bad to worse with the family banishing the fort and shifting elsewhere. Only the eldest of sons Someshvara Singh’s family consisting of two sons Saroj Singh and Makarand Singh and a daughter were the legitimized owners of the family and hence resided in the fort. After a couple of years another member of Naigarhi family named Suman Singh son of Madhav Singh arrived with his family to live in Naigarhi. His sons are the current residents of the fort, their names are Harshavardhan Singh and Yashavardhan Singh while his only daughter named Sarika Devi was married to the Suryavansh-chalukyan dynasty of Jeypore Samastham, Orissa. She holds the credits of the current revival of the Naigarhi fort and rebuilding of the damaged temple Panchmandir and is a respectable figure in Naigarhi. While Harshvardhan Singh and Yashvardhan Singh are notable politicians.
Naigarhi has a two government schools, boys and girls separate. The other private schools are regional board affiliated, Hindi mediums are Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Saraswati Gyan Mandir, Jeevan Jyoti, and an only English medium school is Lok Manya Tilak High School in Mahavirpur. The only college is named after Thakur Someshvara Singh comprising the studies of Arts and Commerce.
The tourism frequency of Naigarhi is very low due to its distance from highways. But still it consists some bewildering scenes of nature. A couple of waterfalls, the most famous one in the small village of Bahuti which is some 5 km away from Naigarhi, the famous Maa Asthabhuja temple, the Naigarhi fort, the symbolically beautiful Panchmandir temple and the iconic view of a typical Indian village can be seen in Naigarhi.
Festivities and culture
Apart from Durga Pooja in Dussherra, Diwali and Holi there is no festival which is celebrated here. But the Naigarhi fort has a reputation for decorating and celebrating Janamasthami with grandeur and holiness. Naigarhi fort also organises a bhandara in respect to Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman on 9 May every year. It is so because the Panchmandir was re-established on 9 May 2010.
As of 2001[update] India census, Nai Garhi had a population of 8767. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Nai Garhi has an average literacy rate of 50%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 63%, and female literacy is 36%. In Nai Garhi, 19% of the population is under 6 years of age.
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.