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History and Landscape
Rai-Mal Nada Arneshwar Mahadeva Shiva Mandir

The words 'Arna-Jharna' literally mean 'forest' and 'spring'. Situated near the famous Arneshwar Mahadeva Shiva Mandir, which is associated with legendary stories relating to the curative power of spring water, the museum is built on land which has rich historical associations.

Adjoining the boundary wall of the museum is a small pool of water which was formerly called Raimal Talaab but which is now identified by villagers as Raimal Nada. It was originally built as a reservoir to harvest rain-water for drinking water purposes. This reservoir was contained by a bund, a traditional water-harvesting system created out of large square uneven stones joined together by a lock and key system without any binding material.

Legend has it that a Rajpurohit brother (Mal) and sister (Rai) were involved in a feud over the naming of the bund. While the brother claimed that the bund should be named after him because he owned the land, his sister asserted that she had financed the construction. This feud resulted in a bloody death in which both brother and sister were killed. Before dying, the sister is said to have cursed the talaab, saying that it would fill with water during the rainy season but it would dry up as soon as a cow drank from it. This curse is said to have lasted for centuries.

The legendary feud of Rai and Mal has been carved on stone (See image) near the boundary wall of the museum adjoining the Raimal Nada. This carving is dominated by a large icon of a trishul (trident), flanked by an elephant and a horse, with an inscription of the warring brother and sister.

There is another stone etching on the site made up of abstract vertical and horizontal lines which appear to map the site, along with flowing lines representing the Raimal Nada. Both these stone-carvings are dated 1506 and 1560 by the Indian Samvat calendar, which correspond to 1449 and 1503 AD, respectively.


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