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Tourist Attraction: A trip to Chhattisgarh - a stunning historical heritage of India
Chattisgarh encompasses unto itself many cultural inheritance of India. There are several legacies here of tourist’s importance which give off the glimpses of our glorious past. This article introduces you with the distinctiveness of ‘Tala’ and ‘Malhar’ in Chhattisgarh. The places are worth visiting.
One has to reach Raipur, the capital city of Chattisgarh state of India. Raipur is the biggest city of Chhattisgarh situated at the banks of River Kharun. This is called the rice- bowl of India. To the east of Raipur flows the major River. In the north–west to it lay the Maikal range of mountains. In the northern flank is situated the small Nagpur plateau while in the south is located the plateau of Bastar. Raipur falls on the Mumbai- Howrah rail link and is wholly connected with all the major Indian cities. The NH-6 passes through the cities connecting 43 cities with Vishakhapatnam. Durg is just adjacent to it.
Raipur is an open city and an industrial hub too. There is a very big steel plant here. The steel cities of Bhilai and Durg are just adjacent to Raipur. You will not find too much of activities on the roads here though. The imprints of Chhattisgarhi culture are evident from places to places here. You can make your trip to ‘Tala’ from here. Before ‘Tala’, the Chhattisgarh Emporium falls on the wayside. Its name is ‘Jhitku- Mitki’. The name is strange but interesting though. There was a tribal lover couple in the Gond tribal area here. They were highly reverent for the local tribal people. These couple occupied a special place in the Chhattisgarhi tribal handicraft revolution. Their symbolic statues are popular not only in India alone but abroad also.
Tala in Chhattisgarh
There comes the village of Bhojpur by name, on walking on 25 km towards the south of Chhatisgarh on the National Highway going towards Raipur from Bilaspur. From here from Americapa is built up a road. At a 5 km distance from here at the banks of Maniari River is located the remnants of ‘Devrani- Jethani temple.
An archaeological operation was carried out here in around 1984 for clearing the debris here lying since centuries. The inimitable beauty of the idols found during the excavations had stunned the archaeologists of both India and abroad. There is no parallel of the artistic beauty of the temples lying here in the dilapidated condition anywhere else in India. This is known as ‘Devrani- Jethani temple’. The information of the Tala Village was first given by the then commissioner, Fisher in 1873-74 to the then associate ‘Beglar’ of the then Director General of archaeological Survey of India, Alexander Cunnigham. This temple was traced back to Chandragupta period. The temple ‘Devrani –Jethani’ was built by the two queens of the Sharabhpuriya rulers. The archaeologists indicate its construction period during the 5th- 6th century.
Speciality of Tala in Chhattisgarh
The greatest speciality of this place is 2 and ½ meter in height and 1 meter in breadth one uniquely massive statue whose limbs are built up in the shapes of mouths of animals and creatures which is proving to be a challenge for the architectural scientists to this date. This idol is addressed as Rudra Shiva The ‘Shaivik Radra Roop’ is distinctly discernible on this statue. There is a unique combination in this statue of the original images of the shapes of mouths of human and chameleon, fish, crabs, peacock, turtle and lion.
The two pythons wrapped around on the head of the statue in a coiled position appear as a headgear on the head of this statue. Nose is built up tending to downward with chameleon body. Two hind feet of the chameleon from behind have taken the shape of the eyebrows of this statue. Its front feet has taken the shape of two rounded off nostrils. The head of the chameleon is the frontal part of the nose. The eyeballs and the eyelids are made up with the mouth of toads. The moustaches and the lower lips are built with the small sized fishes.
On the place of ears are perched up peacocks while the shoulders are built with the shape of the mouths of crocks. Two arms of statue appear like the trunks of elephant. The fingers of hands are similar to the mouths of snakes. In places of two breasts are noticeable two human mouths. Two massive sized feet of this statue looks like the front legs of elephant. On the top of shoulders are perched two reptiles as guards with their mouths wide open spreading their fangs. In the normal sense, the effects of the combination of Shaivik thoughts, tantra and yoga principles are at once evident on this statue.
The famed Deorani-Jethani temple at Tala near Chhattisgarh
In the loeer story of the temple of ‘Deorani- Jethani, the marriage solenisation pictures are etched out on the walls. In north towards the entrance gate are 6 feet high two elephants on both the sides of the columns in sitting posture. Apart from the main entrance, there are gates towards western and the eastern sides as well. The statues of Tala are unique and strange. Next stop is going to be ‘Malhar’.
Malhar in Chhattisgarh
Malhar, Malar and Mallalpattan , all these three are the names of one and same place. This is a decrepit and ordinary kasba on the ‘Masturi- Jondhara road’ located some 33 km away from Bilaspur. This nondescript kasba is encompassing the time and art both into its laps. There hardly would be a place here where any statue- parts wouldn’t roll away by colliding with your feet no matter where you happen to walk in its vicinity. These parts and pieces are not ordinary types but are hiding the century old culture of India. In almost every homes of Malhar these superbly sculpted pieces could be seen adorning the anterooms of homes.
Malhar- the seat of Gods
There used to a splendorous past of this kasba back once into the historical past. Ask the villagers here to discover, whenever anyone drills the pilings for constructing his home, remnants of accessories of olden era emerges up after excavating the piling work yielding plethora of archaeological finds. It’s a very common phenomenon to find wells on excavating. Malhar is also called as Mallalpattan where the pattan means the bazaar, haat or godi. Archaelogists opine that Malhar was once the administrative head quarter or the capital of a kingdom.
The famous Vasudeo- Vishnu temple at Malhar
Though, no any solid proof of it has been attained as yet but this much is certain that Malhar was once the great hub of art, culture, religion and commerce. There are counless of idols and statues worth seeing for tourists dating back to the oldest era apart from the famous idol of Vasudeo- Vishnu. There is one famous adage that goes here which says,” All gods reside in Malhar”.
There is a life size Vishnu idol in the quadrilateral design. This idol was found during the archaeological excavations in 1960. There is something written on this idol in Prakrit and Brahmi based upon which its period has been calculated to be dating back to 200 BC. During the course of excavation which was stated in 1973 and ran up to 1976, the sole known find of copper coin of the period of king ‘Prasannamatra and the rare coins of Magh rulers were found apart from lots of coins, stamps, and writings of MahaShivgupta. It’s said about ‘Malhar’ that here used to be rains of gold here once.
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