What’s up, capital folks!! Temperature is soaring in 40s and aren’t we all avoiding roads! I’m sure y’all laze-struck Raipuryas are either snuggled up in your comfy air-conditioned houses or are hanging out with fellow “students” with a similar plight of unemployment and frugal living. Let’s chalk out some ideas to kill your boredom and to get you a reminiscence of your childhood summer vacations (90s kids will know :P). I have charted out a list of 5 historical destinations a day’s drive from Raipur. So, here it goes-:
Jatmai GhataRani is a temple of diety, Jatmai, and Ghata Rani happens to be a lively waterfall – both at a distance of 25 kms from each other and are located in the heart of the lush forests of Gariaband, which is approximately 90 kms from Raipur. Let’s talk about the temple first. Nothing soothes the eyes of an admirer better than the site of history carved out of granite structures with every little detail narrating the story of its beauty. What adds to its brilliance is its location – embraced by dense trees all around. There is also a waterfall right next to the temple, which looks even better in the monsoon, but if you wish to relieve yourself of the scorching heat, go right away! While at it, don’t forget to visit Ghatarani waterfall, situated almost 25 kms from Jatmai Temple, and enjoy the jaw-dropping stare at the site of the giant falls, which widen further in the monsoon. Nevermind that the peak seasons to visit this place are the monsoon and the Navratris, plan a picnic with folks anytime as it’s just a one day trip from Raipur. A personal suggestion would be to visit the site early morning.
Kevalya Dham (Kumhari) Kevalya Dham is a popular Jain pilgrimage destination, located just 9 kms from Raipur, on the way to Bhilai via NH6. Crafted with magnificent marbles, the temple is also famously known as ‘Sri Adinath Jain Shwetambar Tirth’. It is a collection of twenty-six Jain temples built with marble. The idols of all twenty-four Tirthankars are enshrined in the comparatively smaller temples and the largest temple houses the idol of Rishabhdev. There is also a dharamshala in the complex (shout out to the “students”!). What fetches brownie points to the location of the temple is that two other famous religious attractions i.e. the Maa Mahamaya Devi Mandir in Kumhari town and Sai Dham, an old Sai baba temple, are also situated nearby.
Khallari Mandir (Baghbara) The temple is situated around 120 kms from Raipur, through Mahasamund to Baghbara district. The terrains that surround the temple are enthralling. The hills, bearing a dense forest and picture-perfect roads, will make you shed your worries. The temple mounts the top of a hill, surrounded by flourishing hills on all sides. The white monuments on the top of the peaks create a serene environment. The architectural marvel was built in the 13th century. Interestingly, devotee bears drop-by during the Navratri festivities. (How does it sound like to chill with ‘em?). Bonus places include the Jagannath temple, built in the 14th century; the Kodar damn – a humongous man-made reservoir, which doubles as a picnic spot (Beware not to dive deep, it’s quite a dip!)
Siadevi temple (Balod) A chill drive through the countryside near Dalli Rajhra, on the other side of Durg, approximately 100 kms from Raipur, there lies this serene spot, where you’ll find yourself amidst the hills and next to an alluring waterfall. Away from the civilization, this location is where simplicity of nature is celebrated. Imagine being able to hear the chirping of birds, the rustle of leaves, and the constant melody of water hitting the rocks. Drive to Balod with your buddies and trek your way far from the chaos of population into the melody of flora and fauna.
However, there is more to Balod. The Jhalmala temple, the Kapileshwar Shiva temple, and the Tendula dam are some more attractions offered by this region. Well, you could have it all, just like Adele! (Fake fact: Balod inspired ‘Rollin’ in the deep’)
Laxman temple (Sirpur) Sirpur is an ancient city built in the 5th century. Several kings and dynasties have ruled and influenced this city. Thus, this region is enriched with ancient art and heritage. One such marvel is the Laxman temple, one of India’s finest brick temples ever built. Legend has it that Mahashivgupt Balarjun Vasta’s mother got it constructed around 650 AD. It is a fine specimen of the 6th-century architectural prowess. With intricate and exquisite carvings all over the monument, every single pillar depicts a story of glory and devotion. Needless to say, it is one of the oldest heritage sites we have in Chhattisgarh. So, why not indulge a little in the historical and cultural past of our state this weekend?
Lemme also throw some light on other attractions in this ancient city of Sirpur. Apart from the famous Barnawapara, there is also the magnificent Gandheshwar temple on the banks of the Mahanadi. Buddha Vihara or Terbaru Dev Maha Vihar could be your time-travel portal to the ancient Buddhist roots in Sirpur.
In the more recent archaeological expeditions, many Buddhist idols and temple sites have been excavated. A major excavation was that of Rajmahal Avshesha, the once-upon-a-time stunning palace now wrinkled with the pace of time, stands tall telling its history. The Shiva temple, the Baleshwar Mahadev temple and the ASI museum are other attractions when in Sirpur.
But, that’s not all folks! Here are some other honourable mentions: A. Ratanpur Mahamaya Mandir B. Dongergarh Bamleshwari Mandir C. Thakurain Tola, Patan D. Rajiv Lochan E. Kuleshwar temple, Rajim.
Contributed by- Shivam Singh, The Free “Spirit ” Lancer.
Edits by- Ankita Vashisht. A Lawyer by Day & Batman for Grammarville Citizens by Night.