Sirpur - City of wealth trying to bring back its past glory

Our country has been always land of wonder. One of the oldest civilization in the world and most important thing is its still able to survive with time and preserve its importance. Many places in India talks about the its rich culture and beauty of past. Sirpur in Chhatisgarh state is one of such place and calling it a goldmine of history wont be wrong. 

Sirpur is small town, 80 km from Raipur, located on bank of Mahanadi. Heard lot about Sirpur and I went there in April 2013 with Jatin and Rakesh. Smooth drive from Raipur and it took around one and half hour for us to reach there.
Sirpur was an important center of Buddhist in 6th century. It was once the capital of Dakshin (south) Kosala. The town of Sirpur is also mentioned in ancient records, dating back to the 5th and 8th centuries AD. The place was a well-known centre for Buddhist study from the 6th to 10th century. Sirpur was also mentioned in the travelogue of Hiuen Tsang, the 7th century Chinese pilgrim and scholar. Many Buddhist monastery were unearthed and later excavation revealed hindu and jain temples. The excavation actually started from 2000 after Chhattisgarh state came in to existence. These excavations have shown that the region was educationally, culturally and economically developed. Many consider it was much more developed than the famous Harappa in the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Archaeologist believe that earthquake in 12th century covered sirpur under mud and debris. It was hidden for long time. They also believe that only  fraction of Sirpur’s treasures have been unearthed. History lies waiting to be discovered at every steps there.The first destination was Surang Tila.
6th century Suraang Tila is excavated in 2007 . Its unique temple, very different in form and architecture. West facing huge temple. At first glance you might even confuse it with a Mayan step-pyramid

Once you climb all the stairs, you can see a open courtyard, which was covered with a roof but because of earthquake all we have is broken but beautifully carved pillars. There are three shrines housing Shiva lingas and one shrine to Lord Ganesha.
Each and every pillars are so beautifully carved. You could see various symbols, mysterious faces, dancer carved. 


  



Near surang tila, PWD guest house is there, good place to stay in Sirpur but required prior approvals from official. I also saw few resorts there. Chhattisgarh Govt is trying their best to make sure that there wont be any issues with stay.
Just a few meters away, Shri Gandheshwar Nath Temple.
Inside the temple, there is an status of Buddha under a tree. This is very rare, statues of Budhha and Shiv at one place.



Next destination was most famous Laxman Temple. Considered as one of the finest temple art

Temple was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Not sure why its called as Laxman temple, may be because of Ram temple near by. The reason why I said this is one of the most beautiful temple is because of the bricks used to built the temple. Great example of brick temples in the entire country. Its protected monument and declared to be national importance. 
When I went there, some restoration work was going on. So I clicked few pictures from distance.

The Archaeological Survey of India has also established a museum in the Laxman tempale piremises ,where some of the rare statues collected in shirpur hav been kept  along with several others architectural memories.
One of the important archaeological finding is, an ancient market complex-considered as the biggest excavation so far in the world. The findings include materials from ancient grain market, iron market, metal market and even remains of ports on the banks of river Mahanadi. 
Another important finding is the remains of an ancient treatment centre, with surgical facilities in Sirpur, dating back to 7th century. The unearthed complex, apparently a 10-bed hospital where ancient surgical instruments were also recovered, is located in front of a Vishnu Temple.
These finding clearly shows that this place was well developed, culturally and economically. The big trading complex dating back to the 6th century BC, the King's palace, the large Buddh Vihara, the Surang Tila temple high pedestal, or the marvelous Laxman temple made up of bricks. All speaking volumes about Sirpur
All the excavations are just the beginning and the work in Sirpur is far from complete. But I am very sure that in future we will come to know more about Sirpur. Glory was faded because of earthquake but thanks to excavation team working out, trying to bring back the glory.
If you really want to experience history and our ancient rich culture, visit Sirpur.

3 comments:

  1. Lovely. So many places to see and so little time (and money!). Sigh!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading this post. Yes, its true, so many place, time and money is the barrier :-(

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