Barsur Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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Barsoor is about 2 hours drive from Jagdalpur. U drive upto Geetham from where left turn to Dantewada and right for say 12 kms to Barsoor. This place was once considered the epicenter of the Hindu civilization. There were 147 temples and equal nos of ponds here. U see 2 sandstone images of Ganesha, both in the aspect of Maha-Ganapati.

U see bigger of the two Ganeshas i.e. 8 feet high and over 17 feet wide. In complex there was originally a Shiva temple ie now in ruins. Inside the complex authorities made a cage where they have kept both the Ganeshas to avoid further damage.

All temples are close by. A 5 minute walk from Ganesha temple is Mama-bhanja-ka-mandir (temple of maternal uncle and nephew). It is 50 foot high without an image so not clear to which deity the temple is dedicated.

A close up of the plinth. Both at the shikhara and plinth levels work is quite intricate though not as much as say temples of Belur and Khajuraho. Since not many tourists seem to go there everyone wants to know where you have come from. Motorcycle is the primary vehicle for personal transport. Gave me an insight to the ever increasing demand for motorcycles in the country.

A close up of some of the designs. Quite intricate and well done. Fortunately temple is well maintained. Authorities have put board saying protected monument but wish they also gave details of the temple. Most of the temples in Barsoor go back to the 10-11th century i.e. nearly a thousand years old.

Villagers enroute to the temple. Lady busy doing farming while man was taking mud, giving it brick shape and keeping ready for next step. Area was kms away from main road, inside village yet was happy to see village had cement roads. Saw adivasis busy with agriculture and had water pumps. Many houses had a TV dish as well.

Enroute to village was this Shiva Mandir. It has 32 carved stone pillars, two sanctums with a common court. Again no board outside to identify temple and give history. One had to check with villagers.

Side view of the temple. It had 2 shikharas of which one is clearly visible in the pic. Possible that it was a much bigger temple at some point but the shikharas got damaged over time.

Inside the temple u can see two Nandi''s (Shiva''s carrier) in black granite. On left of pic right in front of each Nandi are sanctum sanctorum. This temple was restored recently.

Since Barsoor was known for ponds was on the lookout for one. Had also read of a pond which had an image of Lord Vishnu. After some effort found this pond. Image of Vishnu with Sheshnag was located at end of pond amongst fields all around.

U see another, a big pond. In the centre was a Shiv Temple i.e. now in ruins. It was very sunny and area lonely so had to take a quick pic. Locals told me that there were many ponds but most of them had dried up. Some of land now used for agriculture. Need someone with missionary zeal to rejuvenate ponds once again.

The Vanvasi Kalyan Samiti run a hostel at Barsoor. U see some pics of some children. Nice and simple hostel. Since it was Christmas holidays many students had gone home. Must say impressed with the work. Cost of running hostel is app Rs 1.5 2 lakhs p.a. If you like to make a contribution send cheque in the name of ''Vanvasi Kalyan Samiti'', Panchvati, behind Ayurvedic College, Raipur. 492010. Chhattisgarh. Phone nos 0771 2262301. They run 5 hostels in district. This one, Langoda, Chhotidanger, Chitrakoot and Bhanouri. Donors get income-tax benefit under section 80 G of the Income-Tax Act.

Drive from Jagdaplur to Barsoor was lovely. When you turn right from Geetham towards Barsoor go thru dense forests. U see one such moment. Road is surrounded by trees and very smooth, a pleasure to be there. I stopped for a few minutes, got off the car to just enjoy the environment.

All thru the 12 odd kms drive from Geetham to Basroor I saw small bridges being made as you see in picture. The good part is that everywhere work was in full swing.

U see Chandraditya Mandir. Made between 10-11th centuries. It is on the banks of a huge pond. It seems the temple is recently restored. Authorities have made a nice enclosure and are further beautifying the place. It is a Shiv temple with regular worship.

A view of the images. In centre top is Narasimha (4th avatar or incarnation of Lord Vishnu). He is often visualised as half man half lion. U see Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashapu. Left of pic are some exotic poses.

Images of various Gods and Goddesses. Top extreme left is three faced God perhaps Brahma.

Another side view of panel.

There is a huge pond adjacent to this temple. It extends left and right on both sides and is quite big. Not many people realize the importance of water bodies and the need to preserve them. Locals told me that very few water bodies remained.

This is a Mahua tree ie used to make Mahua (the local brew, very heady). During a visit to the Haat market near Chitrakoot was offered a bottle of Mahua. To see pics of Haat Market and mahua being sold click here