The story of Talagao was started with two queens, who were the devotees of Shiva, their love and imagination towards shiva has compelled the kings, to build a pair of unique elegant temples. These stunning temples located at 30 km from Bilaspur, posses unending stories through the partially eroded stones.
The placid Maniyari river behind the temple and huge old trees create a pleasant aura in the complex. Somehow the temple has survived the ravage of the past, but most of the shapes of statues are disappearing along with their stories too.
Jethani temple or Elder sister-in-law, is on the ground level and bigger than Devrani temple, most of the temples are falling apart and placed depressively. But looking at it gives you the idea how magnificent it would have been in its time.
Both the temples are made up of red stones, Jethani temple has three gates in east, west and south, the main gate is in the south direction, an entrance for the Garbhgrih and mandap, Shiva statue was situated here. Its architecture is laden with various animals, birds and flowers, depicting some mythological stories. As there is barely any written evidence of its ancient history.
I found some astonishing structures, one is pillars standing firmly on kubhs crafted with stones while the top of the pillar consists of Amalaka resting upon a vase, wide stairs leading up to the Garbhgrih, mighty elephants on each gate represents the power and prosperity, few big stones decorated with the lotus design, which is taken as the logo of the Guru Ghsidas University.
For many years, beautifully crafted Rudra-shiva statue was hidden inside Devrani temple, later on local people found lying on his belly. Some Britisher studied the idol, They found a unique aggressive form of Siva, but was not confirmed until they got a narrow water passage in the north direction., which is only found in Shiva linga.
The temple has three parts, Garbhgrih (inside), Antaral (passage) and Mukhmandap (door). The Mukhamandapa has a beautiful doorway, depicting the river goddess. The door is covered with patterned rectangular borders and the artistically carved flower designs. There are several carving of Shiva and Parvati which are partially broken. On the top of the door headless Vishnu can be seen along with the goddess.
The mystic idol of Shiva, is associated with all the Eleven zodiac (Rashi). Each species in the body parts represents one zodiac sign. Also the idol is a form of Pashupatinath (god of animals). The immeasurable imaginations of the 6th Century artists, is still a mystery.
Temples have mostly weathered with time, although Rudra idol is in better shape. Talagao is not just a place of temples, but also a mesmerising natural destination. Also an array of new temples has been established with time, which forms a spiritual aura in the Talagao.
Best month to travel
As there is no specific moth, but monsoon and winter are the best to reach here. Also in Savan Period, August month people gather here to worship Shiva, it’s like a big festival.
How to Reach
- Bilaspur is crowded with auto rickshaw, Ask to Talagao. Amerinakapa village or Devrani Jethani temple.
- Buses are available up to the Bhojpuri village, then again take a auto or walk 5 km in the village.
Nearest railway station: Bilaspur railway station
Nearest airport: Raipur airport (Mana)