Why Mahamaya Temple, Chhattisgarh is An Architectural Delight?

June 10, 2022 by admin0
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Mahamaya Temple, Chhattisgarh situated at Devipur 4km away from Surajpur, around 25 km from Bilaspur. An architectural delight, Mahamaya Temple is one of the most famous and oldest temples. People from different places visit Mahamaya Temple, Chhattisgarh to worship and now it has become a major place of tourist attraction in Chhattisgarh.

 

History:

The temple was built by the Kalchuri rulers in the 12th-13th cent. A.D. (The founder of the Kalachuri dynasty was Kokalla I.). Kalchuri King Ratnadev was the builder of this temple. This temple was dedicated to Mahamaya Devi which was the Kula Devi of the Kalchuri rulers of Ratanpur.  Ratnadev arrived here for the first time in Manipur village. The popular story is that the king was taking a rest under a tree when night fell. In mid-night, he woke up and saw a supernatural light under the tree and found Adi Shakti Mahamaya holding a meeting there. He lost consciousness then and there. He returned to his capital city of Tumman, but decided to make Ratanpur his capital.

This temple was modified by Kalchuri King Prthivideva II in the 15th Century AD.

Mahamaya Temple Chhattisgarh- beautiful view of the temple at night
A Beautiful View of the Temple at night

 

Description:

It  believed that the guardian of the temple is Kalbhairva. The temple of Kalbhairva a few kilometers away on the road that taken to approach the Mahamaya Temple. The ruins of an 11th-century Kadeideol Shiva temple can be seen nearby.

One can also find temples of Lord Hanuman and Lord Shiva in the same complex dedicated to two Goddesses, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It is believed that originally the temple was built for 3 Goddesses Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswati. But the Goddess Maha Kal left this temple later.  Mahamaya Temple, Chhattisgarh is one of the 52 shaktipeeths, the shrines of the divine feminine representing Shakti.

There are a number of sacred ponds, kunds, and tanks surrounding the temple. The Bhikhma (derived from the name of Bhisma) tank considered as river Jamuna, while the Dulahara tank  considered as sacred as the Ganga and local people call it Patal-Ganga. Lord Vishnu symbolically connected with a big pond named Bairag-ban.

The pond  dug by king Babhrubahan during the time of the Mahabharat, while Lord Vishnu brought water to the pond in the guise of a Bairagi Brahman. The pond , therefore, called as Bairag. The kund of Mahamaya Mandir one of the houses of Lord Siva. There is a Siva lingo (not visible) known as Sayambhu lingo in the middle of the kund immersed in water, as belived. So, it known as Deva Kund.

The temple built in the Nagara style of architecture near a huge water tank.

What are the features of the Nagara style of architecture?

The broad features of the Nagara style of architecture are:

  • Nagara style of temple architecture became popular in northern India. In North India, most of the temples built on a stone platform with steps leading up to them.
  • The prominent characteristic of the Nagara style of temple architecture that it does not usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  • The sanctum always located under the tallest tower.
  • There are a few varieties of Nagara temple architecture in accordance with the shape of the shikhara. (Shikhara, a Sanskrit word that means “mountain peak”)
  • Amalaka or Kalash which installed on Shikhara is another characteristic feature of this form of temple style
  • Other examples of Nagara-style temples in India are- the Sun temple, Konark, Sun temple at Modhera, Gujarat, and Ossian temple, Gujarat.

 

Nagara Style – Period, Classification

Nagara style architecture flourished between the seventh and thirteenth centuries. It developed into three broad divisions according to the area of its presence. They are Orissa School, Khajuraho/ Chandel School, and Solanki School.

Mahamaya Temple
Illustration By Ms Sarah Welch – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

There are three classifications of Nagara style architecture. In Orissa School they called 1) Rekha-deul 2) Pidha-deul and 3) Khakhara-deul.

Rekah-deul:

It so named since Sikhara or spire of this type is linear or straight and deul means temple. So, “the temple with spire or sikhara designed in straight linear form” as opposed to the central Indian type where the sikhara was curvilinear. In the Rekha-deul the sikhara was straight, like a vertical line, almost up to the top, only at the top end did it takes an inward curvature to touch the griva or neck.

Mahamaya Temple -Rekha-deul style illustrative image
Rekha – deul

Pidha-deul:

In the pidha-deul the sikhra has tires of diminishing pidhas or platforms. It also called Jagamohana. It in fact the mandapa raised in front `of the sanctum as a separate but connected structure.

Khakhara-deul:

In the khakhara-deul (the word khakhara derived from kakham (Pumpkin, gourd), the top like a gourd or barrel-shaped roof.

It may, therefore, be seen that the classification based only upon the plan and shape of the sikhara of the temples and not so much on the basal platform, the pidha, etc.

The rekah and pidha deul stand on a common platform known as pista, same as pitha. It is when large and high, called adhisthana, which decorated with some moldings.

Mahamaya Temple - Illustrative image of Pidha-deul
Pidha-deul

Pictures of the Nagara style of temples:

Khajuraho Temple-example of Nagara style of architect
Khajuraho – Madhya Pradesh
Jageshwar Dham Temple-example of Nagara style of architect
Jageshwar Dham -Almora
Lingaraj Temple-example of Nagara type of architect
Lingaraj Temple – Orissa

 

Raja Rani Temple, Orissa-example of Nagara type of architect
Raja Rani Temple, Orissa
Kamakhya Temple-example of Nagara type of architect
Kamakhya Temple – Assam
Sun temple at Modhera, Gujarat-example of Nagara type of temple architect
Sun temple at Modhera, Gujarat

 Devotees’ choice:

Devotees pour into the temple in large numbers during the festival of Navratri. As the name suggests, Navratri is a festival that spans nine nights. During this festival, ‘Jyotikalash’  lit by the devotees in order to impress the mother Goddess. The Jyotikalash  to be kept alight throughout the nine days and nights, as a sign of love that cannot be extinguished.

 

Temple Timing: Morning 6.00 – 12.00

Evening: 12.30 – 8.30

infographics showing transport options to reach the Mahamaya Temple
Important Information

 

 

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