The Vishnu temple, stands unique as it depicts all the twenty-four incarnations (avatars) of Vishnu, beautifully engraved in the stones, amidst the chaos of dense Janjgir. The city is on the main railway route, easy trains from Raipur. The temple is locally famous as Nakta temple, which means an incomplete temple. There are many mystic stories associated with its completion, structure and sculpture.
The temple is built by the culture king Jajalvadev, in the eleventh century, the surprising thing about this temple is its incomplete work, the tower (shikhara) is lying on the other side of the road, which is devoted to lord Shiva. Many stories are alive through the ages, behind its in-completion.
One of the famous story, which I feel a bit more real is, it has a competition of completion in the near-Narayan temple of Shiorinarayan, the lord was not placed here because it couldn’t completed earlier. Another story is similar but the competition to the Shiva temple of Pali.
Another enigmatic story is one fine day Bhima and Vishwakarma was in contest to end by the dawn. Bhima then began the construction of the temple. While he was working, his chisel – hammer dropped down, but his elephant couldn’t bring it back, However he was unable to finish the temple so the it is left incomplete, without the tower (shikhara). The latter in the sorrow of losing, he has torn the elephant in two-part, the exact replica of Bhima and his elephant is still present in the complex.
The temple stands in middle of a quite wide and large elevated platform, which is very common in the Kalchuri art. The Story of Ramayana and Krishna’s life is engraved in the stones, like Sita’s abduction, Ram shows strength to Sugriva, Ram and Laxman are chasing golden deer, monkey carrying stones etc.
This temple has three section Mandapa (hall), Antarala (vestibule) and Garbha-griha (sanctum). but the mandala has already fallen since the decades, and Garbhagriha is not accessible, as it is always locked. But there’s a lot to explore on the external walls, which is laden with the most beautiful forms of Lord Vishnu, also some idols of Lord Shiva are present.
The upper part of the temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. This has many similar sculptures to that of the lower part, but the engravings are of Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya, Brahma etc. A large part of the temple is either broken off or stolen, but still the temple holds its beauty and glory. I tried to explore it, but most of the things are unknown.
How to Reach :
Nearest Railway station : Janjgir – Naila railway station, 3 kms from the station, one can easily get Auto.
Nearest Airport: Raipur (Mona) airport. Trains are available from Raipur to Janjgir in Raipur -Hawra route.