Top 15 Tourist Places must visit in Sirpur Chhattisgarh
Once the capital of the Sarbhapuriya, and Somvanshi Kings of Dakshin (South) Kosala, Chhattisgarh is a land rich in culture, architecture, art and history! An Important Buddhist centre from the 6th to the 10th century A.D., it was visited by Hieun Tsang, the 7th Century Chinese Pilgrim and Scholar.
Lord Buddha’s gracious presence still makes every soul in wandering find his path to Nirvana here. The beauty of this magical place has beckoned the presence of His Holiness Dalai Lama too in March 2013. A nondescript town perched on the banks of the Mahanadi River, Sirpur has always been an international highlight due to its breathtaking excavations and rare archeological findings.
Unmatched stone carvings, along with 22 Shiva temples, 4 Vishnu temples, 10 Buddha Viharas, and 3 Jain Viharas, an Ayurveda treatment centre, underground granary market and a sixth century ‘Ayurvedic Snaan Kund’ (an ancient spa), puts Sirpur in the list of the richest archaeological sites. Sirpur boasts of one of the finest brick temples, the magnificently crafted Laxman Temple, and the equally beautiful Gandeshwar temple.
TOURIST ATTRACTIONS of Sirpur Chhattisgarh
Relive history and let art steal your breath away as you visit one of India’s finest brick temples ever created, the magnificent Laxman Temple A remarkable product of unique symmetry, precise construction and exquisite carvings, the Laxman Temple is a portrayal of ageless art and devotion. Explore Indian mythology as the beautiful Sheshnaag serving as an umbrella to Lord Shiva catches your attention at the entrance. The ‘Panchrath’ type temple boasts of a Mandap (shelter), Antraal (passage) and the Garbha Griha (the main house). Exquisite carving work on pillars depicting religious segments like Vatayan, Chitya Gawaksha, Bharwahakgana, Aja, Kirtimukha and Kama Amalak breathe life into the exterior walls of the temple.
The many incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Krishna Leela ornamental symbols, and erogenous pictures give the temple a uniquely sacrosanct appeal. It feels as if the walls, pillars and arches are telling stories of the Gods that hailed the rich land Inside the main house sits a beautifully crafted statue of the Naagraj. Believed to be constructed by the mother of Mahashivgupt Balarjun, Vasta, the Laxman Temple was built in memory of her husband Harshagupt in 650 A.D.
A treasure trove of enthralling historic remains, the artistic Gandheshwar Temple is situated on the banks of the Mahanadi River. An endless galore of interesting architectural remains from ancient temples and viharas, the temple mesmerizes tourists with an impeccable collection of rare statues. The statue of Buddha touching the earth, Natraj, Garud Narayan, and Mahishasur Mardini are very rare and equally enchanting. Tourists flock to visit the rare face of Ravan, a popular attraction of this temple. The many Shiva-Leela pictures at the top of the entrance are just a glimpse of the wonders that are to be explored inside.
The rising popularity of Sirpur can be accredited to the various Buddhist excavations discovered here. Truly blessed with scenic beauty, the Buddha Vihara exudes warmth and portrays religious harmony. Brick constructions and underground rooms stand testimony to a mystical era. The tone blend reminds us of the Gupta dynasty’s temples and residential buildings. Witness unmatched design and architectural brilliance as you come across the six feet tall statue of Buddha touching the earth and let mystery enchant you as many residential, meditation and study rooms give you a glimpse of the Lord’s long lived glory. The Buddha Vihara is also a meeting point of Awlokiteshwar and Makarvahini Gange. The Buddha Vihara flaunts wonderful inscriptions which reveal that the ardent Buddha follower Bhikshu Anandprabhu created the shelter during the period of Mahashivgupt Balarjun. 14 marvelous rooms have been built in the Vihara having welcome gates with Dwarpals on either side carved in the stone pillars. Named after the creator, this shelter is called as the Anandprabhu Kutir Vihara. The world of the Lord continued to reveal itself with the Swastika Vihara that was also excavated to reveal a huge Buddha statue and metal idols relating to the Buddhist era.
Like two brothers residing in the beloved company of each other, the Ram Temple is situated close to the Laxman Temple. The Ram Temple charms visitors with a unique star-like projection at the top. Crafted with brilliance this star-like structure gives the temple its own artistic appeal, Interestingly, records say that the two temples have a gap of several decades in their construction.
History lovers and explorers have a treat waiting for them at the museum established by The Archaeological Survey of India in the Laxman Temple premises. Passionately crafted pieces of art related to the Shaiva, Vaishnav, Buddha and Jain religion can be found here. Statues collected from Sirpur narrate soul stirring sagas of the land’s rich history. Among the rare architectural memoirs and statues is the Chaturmukhi Shivinga, sculpted with intricate details in black rock, and the sacrosanct statue of Goddess Mahishasurmardini.
Sirpur was known for the mastery of creating metal idols in the 7th-8th AD. Metal idols were discovered in Sirpur as early as in 1939. Metal idols found here are showcased in Raipur, Nagpur, New Delhi museums and Mumbai’s Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan. Sirpur has always been in international limelight for its amazing excavations including the metal idols. These idols have also been sported in Germany, England and America.
Sirpur’s metal idols include Buddha, Avlokiteshwar Padampani, Vajrapani, Manjushri, Tara and intricately crafted Vishnu and Rishabhnath idols. These statues are sculpted with such excellence that the tranquility on their faces, the peacefully closed dove eyes and intricately carved out palms and fingers depict unmatched artistry and faith!
During the period of 2000-01, Sirpur saw another glorious excavation. This majestic, palatial finding was discovered by Dr. A. K. Sharma who gave it the name ‘Rajmahal’. A beautifully constructed residential structure, the Rajmahal is magnificent and extremely strong in built. Between 2001 to 2004 Dr Arun Sharma, Retired Indian Superintendant of ASI, carried on his work along with the help of The Archaeological Survey of India and Nagarjuna Bodhisattva Organization, Mansar.
The mesmerizing findings here were as below:
1. Buddha Vihara (Teevar Dev Maha Vihara)
Today popular as the biggest monastery in Dakshin Kosala, the Teevar Dev Maha Vihara is located at about 1Km away from the Laxman Temple. Complete in every sense, this monastery reflects the entire Buddhist culture and emanates a sense of pride for the entire nation. It is beautifully crafted in every sense and has stood the test of time with its amazing brick construction.
2. Shiva Temple
Shiva Temple (1): The Shiva Temple excavated in the premises nearby boasts of a 4.5 foot tall Shiva statue installed within. Wonders to marvel at, these were creations of an era which saw many art forms foster. They are great discoveries revived from the earth and a single visit here is sure to enchant one forever!
Shiva Temple (2): Situated near the Anandprabhu Kuti Vihara, on the way to Senkapat, this Shiva Temple also flaunts a Garbha Griha and beautiful Shivlinga.
Shiva Temple (3): Built according to the ‘Panchrath’ style, this sacrosanct temple has a4 feet tall Shiva statue installed in the Grabha Griha.
Baleshwar Mahadev Temple
The name of this excavated temple complex is probably put to commemorate the great king Mahashivgupt Balarjun whose inscriptions are found all over Sirpur. He is also attributed to have built most of the monuments at this site. There are about three-four temples in this complex, at each corner. All the temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and are built upon a jagati, high raise platform, similar to the Laxman Temple. Beautiful stories are carved on the pillars and inscriptions allure you with an incessant mystery.
The famous Sirpur Dance and Music Festival is an indispensable part of Chhattisgarh Tourism. It is a rare confluence of culture and art in order to create cultural amity and brotherhood.
15 km away from Sirpur, Barnawapara opens up an invigorating land of lush greens! The Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary derives its name from two forest villages Bar and Nawapara, which form the heart of the sanctuary. A visit to the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary is an adventure ride through undulating terrains and dense forests. The Indian bison (Gaur), cheetal, sambhar, neelgai, wild boar are common sightings in this sanctuary. Home to over 150 species of birds, this site promises unlimited thrill and adventure for tourists.
Narayanpur is situated on the way from Sirpur to Kasdol. 7-8 km away from the Thakuriya Village, Narayanpur provides shelters and good accommodation to tourists. Located on the shores of the Mahanadi, Narayanpur also has a beautiful, ancient Shiva Temple worth a visit.
How to reach
By Air: Raipur is the nearest airport (85kms) and well connected to Mumbai, Delhi, Nagpur, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Ranchi, Vishakhapatnam and Chennai.
By Rail: Raipur is the nearest railway station on the Bombay- Howrah main line while Mahasamund is the nearest railway station on the Raipur-Waltair line. By Road: There are regular buses from Raipur and Mahasamund to Sirpur. Taxis are available at Raipur and Mahasamund.
Accommodation: Huien Tsang Tourist Resort (Operated by Chhattisgarh Tourism Board)