Great or not, all civilizations ascend to bathe in splendor and decline to vanish without a trace; Kings conquer all, take a magnanimous walk on the land and finally find the solace in their grand graves. Amidst ever-fleeting time, what remains from those glory days is the heritage representing the forever greatness of Skills and Abilities of the artists from bygone era.
In India, its glorious and magnanimous past dwells in its temples which are everywhere from Khajuraho to Sun Temple of Konark to Badrinath Dham to Shiva Lingam of Kedarnath to beautiful sky kissing Meenakshi to huge Rameshwaram temple to Imposing Temple of Bhojpur to 1000 pillar temple in Warangal to Shakaracharya temple in Srinagar, and truly the list is endless. Every temple of such greatness tells the tale of time to the men yet to born. These achievements of eternity, make today better for all of us. In quest to explore such greatness carved in stones, this time I went to Chhattisgarh and witnessed one such temple – Bhoram Deo Temple, standing tall in the midst of wilderness.
Chhattisgarh, a hidden paradise in central India, is not only known for its exceptional natural landscapes, but region also has its own rich history and heritage. For centuries, its wilderness and dense forest surrounded by mountain ranges deterred invading armies to enter this land of tribals and thus when unearthed and explored, Chhattisgarh awed everyone with its architectural marvels and remarkable heritage.
During our last road trip to Chhattisgarh via Bhedaghat, we did a detour and ventured into Bhoram Deo National Park which famously houses erotic Temple of Bhoram Deo. Chhattisgarh has many evocative temples built by Naga Rulers (Serpent Worshipers) and I became curious with Naga clan and their architecture during my last visit to Barasur / Sirpur in Chhattsgarh. So, when I realized another Naga temple can be explored during this road trip, I wholeheartedly took the detour to this Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which is now over 1000 years old.
This treasure trove was indeed a treasure hunt as the road took us over a hill through dense forest and picturesque landscape before opening the vista to a serene lake. Bhoarm Deo Temple was right next to a serene lake making entire setting very tranquil. During walk to temple circling the lake, we were totally engrossed into the nature as the scene was a real pacifier and soul elevating which, I believe, was required to feel the very existence of this temple.
Nestled amidst the picturesque surrounding of Maikal Mountains Range and dense forest of saal and saguan, Bhoaram Deo temple is a perfect blend of religious and erotic sculptures. Its glory resembles to that of Sun Temple of Konark and Khajuraho group of temples therefore it is called Khajuraho of CG. In fact, ironically, it is believed to be the starting point of the culmination known as Khajuraho which took over 200 years to achieve its grand climax by late 12th century. For that matter, Indian craftsmanship was at its peak when they built enigmatic Sun Temple of Konark in 13th Century.
The legendary account of the temple associates it with the Gond Ruler of Nagvanshi Clan and the temple is named so after local deity Bhoram Deo who is believed to be an incarnation of Shiva by ethnic Gond Tribals. This is a live example of skilled craftsmanship of Naga Rulers who created first of its kind open art gallery on the outer wall of the temple consisting of sculptures akin to Khajuraho Temples. The poses from Kama Sutra are true epitome of eternal love and beauty.
Its structural uniqueness lies in the receding rows or tiers placed successively upwards up to the top part of the temple tower.
It has the Shiva Lingam installed in Garbhahriaha, the sanctum sanctorum, much below the ground level and thus the dark interior enhances the spiritual ambience near the lingam. Most fascinating aspect of the sanctum sanctorum is the Ganesh in warrior posture which reminded me of the twin Ganesha at Barasur posing in warrior posture. This warrior pose is unique to the Nagvanshi’s architecture and has a certain tantric meaning to it. Every part of this temple is carved with utmost craftsmanship and inspires awe in today’s architects for its execution.
Historians say that when Lord Cunningham visited the temple, he called it to be one of the most magnificently decorated temples he had ever seen. For many decades, it was never a prominent place to visit, however, after the creation of new state Chhattisgarh, it got its worthy prominence. Now every year, Chhattisgarh Tourism organizes a festival here to celebrate the glory of this temple. Madwa Mahal and Sherki Mahal are few other ancient structures in the vicinity which also can be visited.
I highly recommend this place for every travel thirsty soul for it offers a glimpse to India’s rich culture and heritage. One feels elated to see the brilliance of craftsmanship from an era when Indian-ness and its real essence was at its peak. In my view, it is indeed an offbeat place which also offer trekking opportunity through the jungles of Maikal Mountain Range. One can also plan some ethno-travel and meet indigenous tribes and explore rural India. Bhoram Deo National Park is a ‘Tiger Reserve’ and is located adjacent to famous Kanha National Park.
So, GO CHHATTISGARH and explore its hidden gems like Bhoram Deo Temple.
Save the Temple: It requires immediate conservation as cracks have been noticed on the structure including the sanctum sanctorum. Collectively we need to create awareness to save this structure and one way is to share this post so that authorities get to know the remarkable presence of this temple.
If you feel motivated, please share this blog post with your loved ones so that they can break the mundane cycle of everyday life and explore the world.
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Disclaimer: The details in post are based on my short stay and as per interaction with local people who were available there. I feel there is more to this story and would like to learn further about this place, its history. So, if you know more about this please comment to educate me or to corret me.