More than a billion years ago, Earth shivered and stretched herself as if waking up from a deep slumber.
|Yoga at Chitrakote Falls…The River Indrawati in her glory..|
Her bosom heaved up and down and from within her womb, a massive volume of lava erupted upwards.Her convulsions left deep scars upon her body, the lava gradually cooled off and thus, the area that we know as Chhattisgarh, was born.Geologists call her a part of Gondwanaland.But, what is in a name, you might wonder.And I agree with you .The ancient events unleashed upon the body of Mother Earth led to an unprecedented vista of beauty and wildlife.And, thus, was born the hauntingly beautiful Indian state of Chhattisgarh!
Which way you look at it, the defining colour of Chhattisgarh is GREEN and the myriad shades that go with this colour.
So, while you lusted after the snow washed landscapes of Alaska and the Rockies, or pined for a vacation in the South of France or planned your itineraries of the velds of South Africa and Botswana, Chhattisgarh revelled in her own beauty but, readying herself with out of the world hospitality that India is known about.
Thanks for taking time off to read my two pence on the Playground of Gods-Chhattisgarh!
The Story of Rama and the Pandavas
One of the greatest humans that the world has seen is Lord Rama. Incarnate of Lord Vishnu-he the preserver in the Trinity- Lord Rama inherited the kingdom of Kosal from his father, Dashrath after vanquishing Ravan.Lord Rama upon his retirement divided his kingdom between his two brothers, Luv and Kush.The latter got South (Dakshin) Kosal as his inheritance and established his capital at Kushasthale , somewhere near Malhar in the Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh.So, you see, Chhattisgarh as a political unit has been there for more than 5000 years .Eventually, the Dakshin Kosal kingdom dissipated -as all kingdoms do- because of the rising power of Magadh in Bihar.
Aha, I just remembered the story of Jarasandha.This fellow was blessed by a goddess that his death would come only when another man would tear him apart.So, as fate would have it, he was torn asunder by Bhimsena, the Pandava who possessed the powers of 18,000 elephants.When Jarasandha died, 36 or Chhattis of his clanmen left the kingdom and settled in the dense forests of Chhattisgarh.Garh was the corrupt form of Griha or House, hence, Chhattisgarh.
Well, Lord Rama had a younger brother, Lakshman, who was the incarnation of Sheshnag, or the celestial snake who bears the burden of Earth.Roughly, 1500 years ago, Queen Vasata decided to construct a temple in memory of her husband, Harshagupta at Sirpur, near the Mahanadi river.The temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu earlier but, later , it came to be known as Lakshman temple by the local folks.
Could it be that, the locals thought pleasing Lord Sheshnag would be better to deliver them from frequent earthquakes in this region?Remember, Sheshnag and Lakshman are one and the same!
He was a sculptor, she a court dancer. Intoxicated in love, they used to find solace in a secluded cave in the Ramgiri hills.
Smitten by love, he wrote on the walls; “Roopdaksh Devdin is enamoured by Devdasi Sutunuka.”
Who is a Devadasi?
Devadasi , meaning, maid of God, is a concept that now belongs to the past.Devadasis were young, unmarried girls who devoted their lives to the Lord and lived in the temple premises.They never married but, some of them wanted to break away from their lives. Sutanaka was probably onse such devadasi.
Haunting, is.nt it? The graffiti has survived and has inspired countless budding poets write prose in the adjoining caves. This happened more than 2000 years ago.The language used was Prakrit as it was the dialect among the common folk.
This happened nearly 2000 years back !!!
|Folks, our journey to Chhattisgarh has just started and there is more stuff to come, so be patient.In times to come, I shall reveal more stories to you about this land and its people.
If you are a Twitter nerd, drop a tweet @misra_ias or @GoChhattisgarh or to me @swayamt
You may write directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to connect you with the right people.
How to reach ;. Just book a flight from Delhi or Mumbai to Raipur and you are there.However, I would advise the compulsive traveller to take a train ride.The train takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes of the world, I assure you.
So, folks, how do you find the first instalment of my Chhattisgarh series? Do let me know, please.