Date of journey: 06/12/2007
Starting from: Bhilai
Crew: Maneesh, Dr. Sharma, Pratima, Lovely, Dolly, Vyas and RK Sharma.
I went to my native place Bhilai in December and planned this trip. Bhilai is the second largest city in Chhattisgarh. It is famous for the Bhilai Steel Plant, one of the largest in the world. Some of the steel products manufactured by Bhilai Steel plant are: railway sleepers, rails, construction materials, and other steel products. We booked a cab and started at 8 am in the morning. It was a cool morning as it was a winter season. We took some breakfast accompanied by Rabri(an Indian sweet made with milk) at a small restaurant on the way. After an hours drive we arrived at Patan, it is a town and a nagar panchayat in Durg district in the state of Chhattisgarh. We stopped there to visit a temple “Maa Jagat Janani Jwala Mandir”. It was a nicely built temple painted in red color:
Then, after that we moved for Khorpa, which is a beautiful village in the Raipur district of Chhattisgarh to meet my brother-in-law’s relatives. It’s a nice traditional village where the groundwater is used for drinking purposes and the water has a typical taste. They have nice papaya and guava trees. I used a long stick to get the papaya fruits and it was very tasty. We also found a lot of pet animals including cows, cats and fun part was to see this 20-day-old calf:
For more photos of Khorpa, click here
The calf was very shy, I touched him and he was a bit scared. The best part is that my 3-year-old nephew, Vyas was also scared as that was the first time he saw a calf. After that I went with my father to check out the whole village. It was a nice village and was developing quite fast. I found all the facilities over there including a high school and a bank, no ATMs though. Then, we came back and had the lunch. After lunch we decided to move on to our next spot Rajim to check out the ancient temple. Rajim is 50 kms. southeast of Raipur, it is said to be standing on a lotus and has five shivalingams – Kuleshwar, Fingeshwar, Kopeshwar, Patneshwar and Pateshwar. These five lingams also give Rajim another name – Panchkashi. There lies Rajiv Lochan Temple that is said to have been built nearly 1300 years ago has several unique features – it has a rare idol of a barefoot Lord Vishnu made of black granite; the pujaris are Kshtriyas, not Brahmins; the deity always wears unstitched cloth that is never tied in knots, it can only be folded; for generations the same family has been weaving the pagri that the deity wears (the pagri is 13 meters long and 12 to 18 inches wide), no mantras are recited during the shringar puja and idol is dressed up like a child in morning, as youth in afternoon and as an old man in the evening. The temple has many small temples inside including Rajim Telin Bhaktin Mata Mandir, Sri Jagannath mandir, Lord Shiva temple, etc. That’s the main temple:
It was afternoon time and there was not much rush in the temple otherwise at morning time you can expect a huge rush. Inside the temple there are many beautiful stone carved ancient statues having inscriptions. You can see the inscriptions on the left and the right side of the statue:
The temple walls were built with the bricks that have been piled together not by cement or clay, but by mixing limestone, urad dal and the entrails of the bel fruit. This raw material was used because of its toughness. Here is the divine statue of Lord Rajiv Lochan:
For more photos of Rajiv Lochan Temple, click here
After checking all the temples in Rajiv Lochan we went to the other side to see the Kuleshwar Mahadev Temple. To go to this temple one has to cross the confluence of three rivers namely the Mahanandi, the Pairi & the Sondhur. It is this confluence of the three rivers that brought home the sobriquet of Chattisgarh’s Prayag for Rajim, the town that has been named after Rajim Telin, a woman who sold oil. Below you can see the confluence of the three rivers, Mahanandi, Pairi and Sondhur. There is not much water but you can expect it to be at a full flow in the rainy season:
Kuleshwar Mahadev Temple:
There were similar kinds of stone-carved statues as we found in the Rajiv Lochan Temple:
For more photos of Kuleshwar Mahadev Temple, click here.
After that we decide to go to Champaran, which is about 68 km from Rajim. Champaran, formerly known as Champajhar, is a village in the Raipur District in state of Chhattisgarh, India. It is about 60 km from the state capital of Raipur via Arang. The village is identified with Champaranya and therefore has religious significance as the birthplace of the Saint Vallabhacharya, the reformer and founder of the Vallabh Sect. A beautiful temple has been constructed in his honour. We arrived there at around 6 pm and it was getting dark. The temple is painted with beautiful colors and there are many gigantic gates:
Inside the temple we found a group of people chanting prayers. The music was divine and we sat there for some time. The music was so addictive that you will feel to sit there for hours. I wanted to take a video of that but there was no charge in my camera. So, the only option left was to take some shots instead of the video:
For more photos of Champaran, click here.
Then, after having tea we decided to go back as it was getting quite late. It took us a couple of hours to reach my home at Bhilai. It was a nice one-day trip and the person who enjoyed the most was my 3-year-old nephew, Vyas as he is a bigger travel freak than me.