Shivrinarayan”, the word itself shows an inclination toward Lord Shiva and Lord Narayana, is a city that has been holding religious values since age, The town is located at the confluence of three rivers: Mahandi, Shivnath and Jonk, in Janjgir-Champa district.
The streets of the town are being decorated with numerous temples Those thousands of years old, the temples are the storyteller, can summon us to the mythological roots. With time, many new temples have been constructed in the town. Some are painted in red, while some are in white, different shades of temples adds an aesthetic value to the town. Though there are many temples over there, but every temple has got its own history. Surely, Shirinarayan is a religious hub of Chhattisgarh but there is a lot more to explore around.
The bank of the mighty river, Mahanadi, attracts the tourists/Pilgrims from all round the corners of the states Odisa, Bengal, and Bihar. In the wee hours, amidst serenity, one can enjoy sunrise along with the song of river. There you can spot the villagers doing their daily chores. They believe in simplicity, so do their lifestyle reflects. Their attire sets them apart from the others, tribal women can be seen typical Chhattisgarhi style saree adorned with heavy metal jewelleries and embodied with skin-tattoos.
Town has ancient connections one can spot walls made up of boulders and stones, wooden doors carved with artistic patterns and sculptures ushering to the temples.
This place has given birth to any mythological stories and, since ages through the words of mouth and literature, rulers and dynasties have kept them alive. Among all the tales, the most exhilarating story is the interaction of Lord Rama and Laxmana with an old lady “Shabari”, when they reached Shivrinarayan during their exile period of 14 years.
Shabari was told by her Guru, on his death bed, that one day lord Rama will arrive at this place so be here and wait for his arrival.In the preparedness of his arrival, she use to decorate her hut daily Years have gone by, but her excitement never faded away. After couples of decades long wait,
one day her destiny has made the way when the Lords had shown up at her door. Her weary eyes couldn’t lord Rama himself standing in front of her he offered him berries which had already been tasted by herself to ensure if the berry is good or not. When Lord Rama tasted those berries her lifelong wait finally got over as she met her destiny.
She ended up her life in Shivrinarayan, script rolls, from 12th century, written by Kalchuri dynasty witnessed her life story. They also constructed a temple named Shabri-Narayan temple, it has unique sculptures and statues of lord Rama, Shabri, Garuda.
In front of Shabri-Narayana temple, other prestigious temple, Nar-Narayan temple is there. On the either side of the entrance, you can spot statue of Dwarpal (usher), the gate is adorned with the statues of Lord Ganesha, Nag dev and Garuda. Inside the Garbhgriha, idols of Lord Rama and Laxmana can be seen while Idol of Goddess Sita is not there. The feet of the Lord Rama’s idol remain submerged in a small water pot. The pot has a same water level, irrespective of the season. The pious from the pot is being served as Prashad.
In the surroundings of this temple, there is a tree of wishes. This tree holds an equivalent virtue as the temple does. The pilgrims believe to tie a red cloth around the tree if their wish gets completed.
Another mysterious thing here is Floating stone in a well, beside Shabri-Narayan temple. These stones were used to make a bridge from India to shrilanka.
On the outside of the temple, there is a huge Peepal tree which has uniquely shaped leaves. The belief is that Shabri offered berries to Lord Rama under this tree and hence, it is alive for thousands of years. Besides, you will spot Gaushala where cows are kept in full freedom.
Locals do believe that every year in Magh-Purnima, Lord Jagannath comes here, and on that day, no Prasad or food is being cooked in Puri, rather Prasad is being offered here in Shivrinarayan. And the city celebrates this day as a festival in the month of February. One of the biggest ghat (shore) of the town is Ram-Ghat, behind the temple if you want to take a dip in the river, other facilities are available here.
Another must visit the temple is a Laxamaneshwar temple in Kharod which is around 10 km away from Shivrinarayan, on the NH-49 highway. This temple also holding an important value since ancient times, but now it is decaying gradually.Though architecturally this temple is as same as Shivrinarayan temple, but Laxamaneshwar temple is of Lord Shiva while Shivrinarayan is of Lord Vishnu. Some important inscriptions found here, which tells about the stories of powerful dynasties.
Local dishes: Chila, Dehati bade and Samosa are the luscious mouth-watering dishes, which can surely satiates a foodie’s soul.
How to reach.
- Nearest Airport: Mana Airport (Raipur chhattisgarh)
- Nearest Railway station: Champa Railway station (50 km away from Shivrinarayan), from there you can get share cab or bus. (Take Champa-Birra road)