The mighty river Mahanadi, miles of green paddy fields with hillocks on the horizon and a temple dating back to the 14th century greet us at Chandrapur, a picturesque village in the Champa district of Chhattisgarh. A perfect getaway for an extended weekend.
Chandrapur is 31km from Raigarh and 588km from Howrah. The journey by road from Raigarh to Chandrapur is refreshing: There is lush green beauty on both sides. Clusters of hillocks dotting the paddy fields add to the attraction.
Giant mango and babool trees line the road. Chandrapur is famous for its Shiva temple. The main temple was built by the king of Vidarva in the 14th century and reconstructed early in the 19th century. Vibrant motifs and compositions adorn the walls of the temple complex. The main entrance is a mix of bright green and red. Right on top sits Lord Ganesha, blessing devotees as they enter. Tableaux depicting episodes from The Mahabharata are displayed all along the way from the entrance to the temple.
Small shops, selling items of worship, plastic toys, handicrafts and soapstone artefacts, are scattered around the temple premises. Small eateries sell snacks and tea. A trustee board manages the temple. People from across the country, particularly Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and different parts of Chhattisgarh, come here to pray. Tribals from across the state also come to the temple.
Chandrapur temple is situated by the river Mahanadi and a dip before offering puja is considered holy. You get a panoramic view of the river from the temple balcony. Fishing boats can be seen bobbing in the waters. The view is even more enchanting on a moonlit night, as the opposite bank dotted with hillocks forms a silhouette against a silvery sky.
How to go ?
Gitanjali Express and Mumbai Mail via Nagpur pass through Raigarh, from where we can take an autorickshaw or a car to reach Chandrapur.
Where to stay ?
The trustee board runs a guesthouse within the temple complex. Raigarh also has a number of hotels. For further information you can visit CHHATTISGARH TOURISM BOARD website www.cgtourism.choice.gov.in. Nearby places of interest are Amargufa and Ecopark at Ram Jharna.