SHIVRINARAYAN – Christened after Shabri, the old lady who tasted berries and then fed them to Lord Ram in the epic Ramayana, the shrine holds special significance for Hindus. It is around here that the Lord is said to have spent 10 of the 14 years of exile from his Kingdom. Though extremely understated in architecture, the shrine has a mystical energy about it.
MALHAR – The town of Malhar is not known for only one temple, but a mix of Hindu and Jain temples give it the spiritual identity it deserves. Of these, Pataleshwar, Devri and Dindeshwari temples are the most famous but it’s the pre-10th century Jain temples also add to the vibrant spiritual-scape of the town.
DEVRANI JETHANI TEMPLE, TALA – Situated on the banks of the Maniyari River, Tala promises to open a world of intricate rock carvings in the duo, Devrani-Jethani Temples (sister in laws). Little remains of the 6th century constructed by the Vakataka Dynasty, but is sure to transport you into a bygone era. Look out for the Rudrashiva sculpture that was uneartherd from the Devrani Temple premises; this is the highlight here.Front view – Devrani Jethani Temple
CHAMPARAN – The birthplace of Saint Vallabhacharya, reformer and founder of the Vallabha Sect, the main draw of the Champaran is a magnificent temple built in his honour. Another temple, called Champakeshwara Mahadeva (Shiva) is yet another reason for thousands to descend here during religious holidays.
NATURE AND FORESTS – Copiously green paddy fields, sinuous rivers skirting past silted banks, dense forests, the torrent of waterfalls and nature’s other vestiges are designed to mesmerise the traveller in Chhattisgarh. The thick canopies of towering teak, saal and bamboo trees along with thick undergrowth provide refuge to number of wild animals all through the state.
From the Barnawapara National Park in the north to Kanger Valley in the south, every rivulet and saal thicket, Chhattisgarh’s elegance unravels with every bend of the road. And while you’re wending your way from one sanctuary to another, you will spot see a jet-black bird with a smack of yellow plumage on its head peeping from posters and signboards; this is the Hill Myna, the designated state bird of Chhattisgarh. Only extreme providence grants you an actual rendezvous with the bird.