Temples, Shrines And Spiritual Places Across Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh is a heavily forested and mineral rich state in central India. The name Chhattisgarh is derived from the 36 ancient forts (Chhattis means thirty-six and Garh means fort) across the state. In ancient times this region was known as Dakshina Kosala and finds mention in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Chattisgarh is renowned for its ancient temples, waterfalls, wildlife, rivers and palaces that continue to enthrall visitors from all over the world. Raipur is the capital and the largest city in Chhattisgarh. A tour of historically significant temples across the state offers an insight into its glorious past and culture.

The Mahamaya temple in Ratanpur is among the most famous in the state dedicated to Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati. Dating back to the 12th century, the temple compl ex includes numerous other temples famed for its ancient architecture and exquisite carvings. A major Shaivite centre, Barfani Dham in Rajnandgaon is renowned for its massive statues of Nandi and Shiva. A relatively new temple, it attracts thousands of devotees every year primarily due to its unique, three-tiered construction. While the ground level is home to Pathal Bhairav and the second level features an idol of Navadurga, the topmost level is dedicated to Shiva.

One among the oldest and most spectacular temple complexes in the county, Bhoramdeo Temple is an excellent example of Nagara architecture that will remind you of the Konark Temple. Constructed in the 11th century, the complex of three temples dedicated to Lord Shiva is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures that provide a rare, visual treat. Situated on a hill, the ancient Bambleshwari Temple is believed to date back thousands of years. Hundreds of devotees make their way up the 1000 stairs every month to pay homage to the goddess.

Built in the 14th century, the Danteshwari Temple in Bastar is dedicated to an incarnation of Goddess Shakti and is significant as one among the 52 powerful shakti peethas in the country. According to legends, the temple is situated at the spot at which a tooth from Goddess Sati landed when her mortal remains were demolished by Lord Vishnu in an attempt to help Shiva cope with the grief.

Witness the influence of Jainism in the state revealed through numerous beautifully created Jain temples. Arang is a renowned Jain site featuring a number of ancient Jain temples dating bak to the 9th and 11th centuries. The Bhand Dewa and Bhag Deval temples are prominent Jain centres renowned for its intricate carvings, wall paintings, stunning sculptures and enchanting architecture.

The history of Chattisgarh is also marked by the influence of Buddhism. The fascinating Tibetan settlement in Manipat is home to Takpo monastery, friendly monks draped in red robes and bright prayer flags along the roads. Sirpur is another famed Buddhist site that boasts of a Jain monastery, twelve Buddhist monasteries, five Vishnu temples and a staggering twenty two temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The important Buddhist temples here include the Anandprabhu Kutir Vihara, Gandheshwar Temple and Swastika Vihara.

Chattisgarh remained invisible on the tourism circuit until recently. Offbeat explorers were largely responsible for uncovering the natural diversity and ancient monuments of this delightfully beautiful state. The ancient temples in Chattisgarh are more than simply places of worship. These magnificent temples are superbly preserved monuments of its rich history, distinct culture and glorious heritage.