|Laxman Mandir , a piece from the empire of Magadha|
Chhattisgarh , a mention of this state in central India invokes some raised eyebrows whenever I introduce to people that I hail from Raipur. It is synonymous for its tribal heritage & mineral resources while at the same time notorious for being at the heart of the Naxalite movement in the country at present, so the picture probably is that either people here roam around covered in leaves or are rebels ready to wave their guns on any outsider. Far from these popular public perceptions I believe the state has done very well since this state was formed and Raipur which I safely call my hometown now has transformed into a fledgling commercial hub for this part of the country. The city to its credit has a swanky new airport , hosts IPL matches and is now witnessing the advent of renowned hotel chains. This is bound to boost the efforts which are being made to make Chhattisgarh an attractive destination for the tourists.
|The statue of Buddha which has been excavated in Siprur|
In my recent visit to Raipur I had gone to Sirpur, a small village nearly 80 kilometers from the capital. This place has become famous among the travelers and bloggers because of an annual dance festival which is held in January here . It scheduled from 29th to 31st January in 2016. This small village has come into prominence because of the recent excavations which have been undertaken here . Buddha Vihar, a small monastery has been unearthed with a statue of Buddha. Laxman Mandir, a brick temple with intricate carvings built in 7th century AD was also uncovered .This temple is supposedly a proof that the empire of Magadha extended to this part and was built by queen Vasata, a widow of Harashgupta. There is also the Gandeshwar Mahadev temple situated on the banks of the river Mahanadi, it is another historical masterpiece with some very rare statues. The huge Pipal tree which stands in the premises of this temple adds to the aura of this old temple.
|The Gandeshwar Mahadev Temple on the banks of River Mahanadi|
Unfortunately the time was enough to only catch a glimpse of what Sirpur has to offer. Attending the Sirpur Dance Festival and getting to know more about this place which finds place in Hieun Tsang's memoirs is definitely on the to do list now !