Travel Guide to Sirpur in Chhattisgarh
Sirpur in Chhattisgarh is famous for the first temple in India to be built with bricks- the Laxman Mandir. It also is home to several other structures of great archaeological importance. With the recent discovery of a Haritika statue in Sirpur and a temple complex, said to be much bigger than the Nalanda site in Bihar, has just added to the charm of visiting Shirpur.
The 1300 year old Laxman Mandir, considered to be built in the 6th century A.D., is situated on the banks of the River mahanadi in Sirpur of Mahasamund district in Chhattisgarh. The temple was built by Shaivaite King Mahashivagupts, who also played host to the famous Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang. Sirpur or Shreepur waas once the capital of Dakshin Kosala (as Chhattisgarh was then known) and it used to be quite a happening place.
Situated seventy seven kms from Raipur, the Laxman Temple is one of the finest brick temples in India. At the top of the entrance, The Sheshnaag sits tall acting as an umbrella to Lord Shiva. The temple has ornamental carvings of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu and Krishna's ras-leela. The sides of the temple have numerous erotic carvings. This 'Panchrath' type temple has Mandap(shelter), Antraal(passage) and the Garbha Grih (the main house). In the exterior walls and pillers the religious segments of a temple namely - Vatayan, Chitya Gawaksha, Bharwahakgana, Aja, Kirtimukh and Karna Amalak are engraved n the pillers.
Anand Prabhu Kudi Vihar:
One of the most famous Buddha Vihars in Sirpur is the Anand Prabhu Kudi Vihar. The Vihar had 14 rooms and at the main entrance adored the Dwarapal carved in stone pillars on either side. A six feet tall statue of Buddha touching the earth is installed inside the vihar.
Situated very close to Anand Prabhu Kudi Vihar, the Swastik Vihar is supposed to have been used as a meditation and study center for the Buddhist Bhikshus.
Gandeshwar Temple is also situated around the Mahanadi river and is famous for statues of Natraj, Shiva, Varah, Garud Narayan and Mahisasur Mardini. There are various pictures of 'Shiva-Leela' on the top of the entrance to attract the tourists.
A three day fair is organised every year at Sirpur during the Shivratri.