Rajim, the Prayagraj of Chhattisgarh

Rajim, the Prayagraj of Chhattisgarh
(A blog by Jitendra Nakka)

Chhattisgarh is blessed with rich culture heritage right from its origin. It has got prosperous history of rulers and dynasties who were responsible of great art and sculpture, still evident in different parts of State. There are many places in Chhattisgarh State which are famous for temples, but there are very few among those, which are famous as temple cities namely, Maheshpur(Surguja), Dipadih(Balrampur), Sirpur(Mahasamund), Barsur(Dantewada), Arang(Raipur) and Rajim(Gariyaband). The most famous among them is Rajim.
 Rajiv Lochan temple
Rajim is also renowned as Prayaag-raj of Chhattisgarh, situated on the bank of confluence of Pairi, Sondhur and Mahanadi rivers.
Where and How to reach?
            Coming from Raipur District, Rajim is the first block of Gariyaband District. The Site is directly connected to NH-30 (Raipur-Jagdalpur Road), and nearly 45kms away from Raipur. Raipur is the nearest railway station and airport available.
            For boarding and lodging, both Raipur and Rajim are good destination. But as Raipur is State Head-Quarter, it is advisable to stay at Raipur itself. There are many hotels and lodges in Raipur which offer exciting tour packages to visit Rajim and adjoining tourist places.
Salient Features:
            Rajim is famous in many aspects namely historically, archeologically, religiously, mythologically etc.
Mythological Importance:
            Rajim is called the centre of Panch-koshi tirth(pentagon pilgrims) of Chhattisgarh, where the other temples which form the five edges of this pentagon are kopeshwar(Kopra,Gariyaband), Bramhakeshwar(Bramhani), Paneshwar nath(Fingeshwar, Gariyaband), Champeshwar nath(Champaran, Raipur) and Kuleshwar nath(Rajim, Gariyaband).
            There is an interesting myth related to this sacred place. Lord Vishnu ordered Lord Vishwakarma, the God of Architecture to build a set of pentagon like temples where uptill now no cremation has been done. Lord Vishwakarma search whole universe and returned answerless. He requested Lord Vishnu to tell some path to find the answer. Lord Vishnu told that wherever the lotus from his hand, will fall in earth, Lord Vishwakarma has to build temple there itself. As the pores of the lotus fell on Rajim, it was considered the heart of Lotus and a spectacular temple of Lord Vishnu was built there, surrounded by above mentioned five temples on its five edges.
Historical Importance:
Proofs say that Sarabhpuriya Dynasty conquered many places in Central Chhattisgarh and was dominant sometime during 5th Century A.D. It is believed that ‘Sarabh’ was the founder of this dynasty and his son ‘Narendra’ were vassals (landlords) of the great Gupta Family. Their successors showed loyalty to Vakataks of Vidarbha region. It is said that the Sarabhpur rulers were ousted from their capital Sripura (Modern Sirpur) by Pandava rulers of Dakshin Koshal.
Archeological and Architectural Importance:
Rajim is said to possess temples of different ages and different architecture, which holds great archeological and architectural importance in the State of Chhattisgarh. The temples can be divided in four groups namely:
(i)                 The Central Group,
Comprising of Rajiv Lochan temple(8th Century), Vaman,Varah, Badrinath, Narsingh, Jagannath (14th Century), Rajeshwar(8th Century), Daneshwar(9th Century), Telin-sati
(ii)               The Western Group,
Kuleshwar(9th Century) ,Pancheshwar(9th Century) and Bhuteshwar(14th Century)
(iii)             The Eastern Group,
Ramchandra (14th Century), Sitala Mata temple
(iv)              The Northern Group
Someshwar Mahadev 
Temple Map of Rajim (C) Chhattisgarh Tourism Board
(i)                 Rajiv-Lochan temple:
There was a stone inscription found at Rajiv-Lochan temple, by which the temple can be estimated to have built during 7th Century A.D. by a lesser known Nala Dynasty, who are believed to have shifted here after the extinction of Great Pandavas of Dakshin Koshal. The period between 7th Century to 12th Century is lesser known to historian, till Jagatpal and his ancestors helped in establishing the foundation for rulers of Ratanpur Branch of Great Kalchuri Dynasty.
As mentioned above in temple groups, Rajiv-Lochan temple is the main temple in Central group of temples, which stand on a platform of nearly 8 feet height and dimensions are 69X43 sq. ft. It faces west towards the river. Temple consists of Garbha-griha, Antarala and Mandapam(Mandap). A 6ft tall extremely beautiful idol of Lord Rajiv-Lochan (Lord Vishnu actually) is centrally placed in Garbh-griha. The upper side of the exterior walls of sanctum is ornamented with the artistic carvation of Vishnu Vahana Garuda. The Antrala and Mandap part of the temple stand on pillars with exotic carvations of Gods and Goddesses like Varaha, Narsinha etc. 
  Sanctum Decoration
 Lord Rajiv-Lochan
 Lord Rajiv-Lochan temple [Writer(Left), Mr. Ashish Gadpale, Mr. Midul Guha(Right)]
  Lord Rajiv-Lochan temple Entrance [Mr. Ashish Gadpale(Right), Mr. Midul Guha(Left)]
(ii)               Kuleshwar Temple:
Coming under Western Group of temples, it is the temple-place where a massive annual fair fills every year at the time of Maha-shivratri and is well renowned as Rajim kumbh. This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. A natural Shiv-ling is believed to have centrally placed here at Kuleshwar temple, which is built on a high platform, in the confluence of Pairi, Sondhur and Mahanadi rivers. Interior of the temple walls are carved out by the idols of kartikeya, Vishnu and Mahisasur-mardini whereas exterior of the temple are carved with the idols of Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. 
 Kuleshwar Mahadev temple

 Hieghted Stairs of Kuleshwar temple (Writer-left)
 Temple Antaral
 Temple Sanctum
 Temple Exterior Stone Carvations (Mr. Ashish Gadpale)
 Goddess Yamuna (Idol)
(iii)             Ramchandra Temple:
It’s quite interesting to see the architecture of Ramchandra temple, the major one amongEastern Group of temples, where all the interior pillars are decorated with carvations of Salbanjikas, flower-bearers, amorous couples and attendant deities. Here the statues of Lord Ram, Laxman and Goddess Sita(in Odisha temple Style) are centrally placed in the sanctum area.   
Ramchandra temple (sanctum)

Ramchandra temple (antral)
(iv)              Archeological Excavation near Rajiv Lochan Temple
Aided by Archeological Survey of India, there is some excavation going on the bank of confluence of Pairi, Sondhur and Mahanadi, besides Rajiv-Lochan temple, which is worth seeing to watch. Here recently an ancient Shiv-ling, a lotus relic of Goddess Laxmi, relics of Goddesses Saraswati and Durga have been excavated out. Here you can easily observe the brick method of temple and settlement formation. 
Excavation of ancient relics

Here, there are many temples which are truly worth-watching and helps us to get intact to our culture. If you ever get a chance to visit Raipur, do visit Rajim. Here, there are many more hidden secrets which strive to get revealed out. Other than, there are many more tourit attractions nearby, which are truly magnificient to visit, namely Champaran(Raipur), Tarrighat(Patan, Durg) etc.

Love to hear what you think!