The temple of Siva as Mahanal, was a great centre of Saivism under the rule of the Chahamanas.  It is mentioned as a place of pilgrimage. A temple of the eleventh century A.D. is built in the Bhumija style of architecture with stellate pancharatha ground plan and corresponding superstructure carrying strings of angasikharas, surmounted by a double amalaka. The layout has an antarala  in front, a sukanasa above and a rangamandapa beyond with samvarana roof. A separate nandi-mandapa exists. There is no jagati terrace and the pitha is surmounted by gajapitha and narapitha. The sculptures are of a high order.  The sabhamandapa has two entrances, to the west and the north.  That Menal is an ancient site is shown by the presence of twin small Saiva shrines (dated to the beginning of the eighth century) situated to the northwest of the Bhumija temple.  Dedicated respectively to Ganesa and Gauri, each consists of a pancharatha sanctum and an antarala, preceded by a pair of ornate pillars.  Prominence is given to the images of Lakulisa, Natesa and Ardhanarisvara in the bhadra niches of each.  Only a portion of the sikhara has survived on one of these shrines.  Between the two shrines was built in A.D. 1168 an identically planned Siva shrine, by Suhada devi.  A hypostyle mandapa was also constructed at the site to serve as a Saiva matha.  The matha employssome luxuriously embellished ghatapallava pillars which also seem to date from the beginning of the eighth century. An inscription records that the matha was built by an ascetic Bhavabrahma in A.D. 1169 during the reign of the Chahamanas king Prithviraja II.  Besides, a Siva temple and Runi Rani-ka-Mahal located on the west of the main temple, are worth mentioning.
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Notification No. Act No. 70 of 1956 dated 15.12.1956
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Ownership Status Government
Topographical Features Situated on  the bank of Menali river.
1 Chandramani Singh (ed.), Protected Monuments of Rajasthan (Jaipur 2002);
2 K.C. Jaina, Ancient Cities and Towns of Rajasthan (Delhi 1972);
3 Krishna Deva, Bhumija Temples, ‘Studies in Indian Temple Architecture’ (New Delhi 1975); and 
4 M.W. Meister and M.A. Dhaky (ed.), Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture, North India, Period of Early Maturity (New Delhi 1991).
Locality Tehsil District State
Menal Begun Chittaurgarh Rajasthan