The ancient Hindu temples of Morena do not date back to any one era. One can find temples from the earliest period of Hindu temple architecture in Morena till the 14th century—that is a period spanning around seven centuries.
It shows that Morena had a deep seated tradition of temple building which sustained over centuries, despite many odds. The seventh century mandapika shrines of Paroli and Indra ki Khiravali show that even in the earliest times, Morena was a great centre of temple architecture.
During the medieval ages, much of north India was laid to waste by Islamic invaders. The Hindu temple was the first casualty whenever an Islamic army attacked. Many ancient temples of Morena survived due to their remote location and due to the fact that no Islamic king could rule long enough to sponsor repeated waves of destruction.
Islamic Attacks against the Hindu Temple as an Institution
This did not mean that the attacks did not affect the institution of the Hindu temple at all. Hindus, like most other deity worshippers did not worship a desecrated murti. Therefore, the first focus of all Islamic attackers was to deface the idols by chipping away a nose, a leg, or a hand. More comprehensive destruction happened in cases where the Islamic rulers stayed for longer durations. Also, in those days, there was no dynamite to blow up the entire place up in a single shot. In most of the raids in or around Morena, disfiguring and desecrating were the only things the invaders could do.
As a result, even those temples that did survive in most of India were desecrated and hence were abandoned by Hindu worshippers. This is also the reason that most Hindu pilgrimages that survive in modern times do not have ancient buildings. They are comparatively very recent structures, some not older than a hundred years.
This accounts for the dichotomy in Hindu temples in India. The really beautiful and ancient temples are not in worship anymore. They are abandoned, lying in ruins in jungles and obscure places, off the beaten path. The temples that are famous and working are all virtually new.
Nature of an Islamic Invasion
Morena also witnessed this Islamic wave of destruction, desecration and defacing of its murtis and statues. Hence, most of these temples were abandoned by the Hindus over time.
The second reason for abandoning these temples was that they were the primary focus for any Islamic invader. When Muslim invaders attacked, they not only defaced the temples but also destroyed the villages nearby, massacred the Brahmins in the temples, and slaughtered cows inside the garbha-griha. Living near a great temple was as risky as living near a radioactive area would be now. People fled the temples in order to save themselves.
There was another reason for abandoning these temples. Hindus valued art greatly. Religious architecture in the form of the Hindu temple was an idea which not just the rulers of the country, but the populations cherished too.
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