Along with Lord Shiva’s beautiful Idol in Bilaspur, Visit this unique Devrani-Jethani Temple
Bilaspur, which is around 120 kms away from Raipur ( The Capital of Chattisgarh) is the second largest city in the state.In terms of Indian Railways, this city is very important as the headquarters of the southeast central zone is right here. In terms of cleanliness, Bilaspur railway station is considered as the country’s third cleanest railway station at present.
Coming here is like getting back to the historic times when you see Timeless idols. Names Tala and Malhar make you think of places with some musical legacy but here lies the architectural heritage of the Chhattisgarh region. This particular place around the meeting point of Maniyari and Shivnath rivers seems to be dominated by the Shaivites. Though the region as a whole is dominated by the legends of Ramayana. We were told that Tala, in particular, is known for Tantric practices.
Temple of Devrani Jethani, Bilaspur – Chhattisgarh Tourist Place
There are remains of two ancient temples here. Both lie at a distance of few meters from each other and are popularly known as Devrani Jethani temples. Legend is that they were built for the wives of two royal brothers.
The Jethani or the Elder sister-in-law temple has completely fallen. Stones that would have stood as temple once are now piled upon one another with their carvings peeping out at various angles. You can see the elephants that would have been at the entrance. You can see the carved pillars that would have supported the ceiling. And you can see the ceiling itself has fallen for the gravity.
Devrani or the temple of the younger sister-in-law, the temple has the base platform intact along with stairs that lead to the main shrine. The doorjamb has survived the vestiges of times as if standing there to give you a glimpse of how the temple would have been. It has the intricate carving all around it. The thick walls have extensively carved lion faces and human figures, probably telling some stories or depicting some scenes. Its corners are carved as braids made of rosettes in different patterns. And there are straight panels with lotus rosettes. There is Amalaka on top of the pillars and Puran Ghatak at its base. The top panel has celestial figures and the panel below that has figures that probably belonged to the deities but are unrecognizable as of now.
There are panels showing dancing men with disproportionately short legs as is the Ganesha figure lying outside the temple. Most of the stones here have been randomly put together and you cannot be sure if they all belonged to the same temple. The temple plan seems to be such that with every step you go higher, placing the Garbh-Griha or the Sanctum Sanctorum at the highest point. It is difficult to guess from the remains the kind of Shikhara or superstructures the temples would have had. But from the location – between Orissa and Khajuraho it can be inferred that it must be in Nagar style.
When and How to reach
At Bilaspur it starts to heat from March, which remains till June. July-August is the month of the monsoon, where the joy of watching the city in the light rain is different. If you want to come here in the winter also you can also come and admire the beauty of the city. The nearest airport to come to reach here is Swami Vivekanand Airport, Raipur. Vilaspur rail and road connectivity is also there to all major cities of the country.