Sirpur -An Icon of Dakshina Kosala
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Shiva Temples
Chapter 3 – Buddhist & Jain Monuments
Chapter 2 – Shiva Temples
Sirpur has more than twenty temples dedicated to Shiva, all in a different state of preservation. The main temple of the village, Gandheshvara-Mahadeva, is also dedicated to Shiva. Out of these many, three temples stand out, Gandheshvara-Mahadeva, Surang Teela, and Baleshvara-Mahadeva.
Baleshvara Temple complex (SRP-7, 8 & 9) – This temple was found when a mound located in the center of the village was taken up for excavation in 2003-04, excavated sites numbered SRP-7, 8 & 9. Earlier from the same mound, in April 1987, were found nine copper-plate charters, all belonging to the reign of the Panduvamshi king Mahasivagupta Balarjuna (590-650 CE). Excavations resulted in a finding of a large temple complex, consisting of two central shrines built over a platform and three subsidiary structures, one each in the northeast, southwest, and northwest. The two temples over the platform face west and have a star-shaped sanctum with a Shiva-linga inside. The linga enshrined in one of the temples is sitting on a square pedestal having nine holes, one large and eight small size holes placed around the large hole equidistant. Sharma1 suggests that these holes represent nava-grahs (nine planets).
Antarala entrance doorway has tall images of river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna, on door jambs. Two other panels are also discovered, both showing one male figure and two female figures. Sharma mentions finding various damaged images which were once adorning the bhadra niches of the temple. Among these images are Mahishasura-mardini, Yama, Surya, Kartikeya, etc. Various images representing royal personages are also found. Sharma mentions that there were a series of images installed in the temple showcasing the perils of having two wives. King Mahasivagupta had two wives, known from his inscription, and it appears that he was having trouble keeping both happy. Sharma mentions one image in which two wives of Mahasivagupta, Amaradevi, and Abbnisaddadevi were shown fighting while the helpless kings is seen hiding behind them. However, it would be interesting to think why such images, depicting the royal house in a bad manner, would adorn a temple. Also, Kings in India during that period followed polygamy, and it was not a surprise to commoners if their kings has multiple wives.
The first reference to this temple complex appears in the copper-plate charter issued in the 37th regnal year of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna2. The king granted a village for the maintenance of the Baleshvara-bhattaraka temple to acharya Vyapasiva. In the next copper-plate charter, issued in the 38th regnal year of the same king, it is told that the temple complex had been extended with a mathika (monastery). Later, in another copper-plate charter issued in the 46th regnal year of the same king, it is told that the king established Dayeshvara-bhattaraka shrine inside the mathika. In another copper-plate charter, issued in the 48th regnal year of the same king, a lady named Amaradevi erected Amareshvara-bhattaraka shrine in the mathika. Mahasivagupta granted a village, on request of Amaradevi, to Atrasiva, the disciple of Vyapasiva. Another charter informs that the Amareshvara shrine was erected not in mathika but to its attached tapovana. In a later charter, issued in the 55th regnal year of the king, informs that his queen Ammadevi erected Ammeshvara-bhattaraka shrine.
Sharma3 identifies the two central temples as Baleshvara and Udaishvara and the two subsidiary shrines with Ammeswara and Abbeswara, named after King’s two wives, Ammadevi and Abbanibaddadevi respectively. A third shrine may be that of Amareswara after Amardevi. Among the residential structures, Sharma identifies one with the residence of Mahasivagupta, used during religious occasions. His identification is based upon the finding of a seal reading sivaguptarajas. Proposition put forward by Bosma4 appears more logical for identification of these excavated structures. She suggests that the two side-by-side main temples over the platform may correspond to the Baleshvara and Ammeshvara as these were mentioned to be situated near to each other. Among the two residential structures, one may be identified with the mathika and other with the residence of the rajaguru or presiding guru of the Baleshvara complex. The third structure, which is a star-shaped temple, can either be Dayeshvara temple that Mahasivagupta added to the mathika or Amareshvara temple built by Amaradevi in mathika.
From these nine copper-plate charters, the following development chronology can be made out for the Baleshvara-temple complex:
- 37th regnal year of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna – Baleshvara temple complex was started by the erection of Baleshwar-bhattarka shrine, Vyapasiva was the acharya of the complex.
- 38th regnal year of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna – A mathika was added to the complex, Vyapasiva continued as the acharya of the complex.
- 46th regnal year of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna – Dayeshvara-bhattaraka shrine got constructed in the mathika
- 48th regnal year of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna – Amareshvara-bhattaraka shrine by Amaradevi, queen of Mahasivagupta, erected in tapovan (yajna-garden) attached to mathika, Astrasiva was the acharya and he was the disciple of Vyapasiva
- 55th regnal year of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna – Ammeshvara-bhattaraka shrine by Ammadevi, queen of Mahasivagpupta, erected near to Baleshvara-bhattaraka shrine, Astrasiva was the acharya
The above copper-plate charters also provide very important information with respect to the Shaiva traditions followed in the Baleshvara-complex. When the temple complex was constructed, Vyapasiva was put in as the acharya of the same. Vyapasiva was the disciple of Aghorasiva. At some later point in time, Astrasiva, the disciple of Vyapasiva, took over the reins. Probably, they all belonged to the Shaiva-Siddhanta tradition as suggested by Bosma5, based upon their names ending with -siva. Bosma further tells that it was not only Shaiva-Siddhanta tradition but Soma-Siddhanta tradition that was also connected to the Baleshvara complex. Junvani copper-plate charter (Dk47), issued in the 57th regnal year of Mahasivagupta, refers to the Baleshvara complex where certain donations were made to the Shaiva acharya named Bhimasoma. Bhimasoma was the disciple of Tejasoma who in turn was a disciple of Rudrasoma. As their names end with -soma, this suggests that they probably belonged to the Soma-Siddhanta tradition. Now, there can be two possibilities, either the Soma-Siddhanta acharyas took over from the Shaiva-Siddhanta acharyas towards the fag end of the reign of Mahasivagupta or the acharyas of both the traditions held and maintain their respective practices and shrines presiding as a joint authority.
Gandheshvara Mahadeva Temple – It is a modern temple built on an ancient site during the reign of the Marathas. It is the main temple of the village attracting pilgrims around the year. The original name of the temple was Gandharveshvara as mentioned in its inscriptions. The doorjambs of garbha-grha are the only surviving original piece. These jambs are decorated with various representations of Shiva. Door-jamb on the left is occupied with Ravananugraha-murti scene, where Ravana is shown trying to shake mount Kailasa while Shiva and Parvati were seen sitting over it with Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Nandi. The right door-jambs has three panels showing Shiva as Nataraja with six arms, four-armed Shiva as Andhakantaka, and Shiva as Bhikshatana-murti. Bosma6 identifies the Bhikshatana-murti as Shiva entering the Devadaruna forest as here he is shown with four hands whereas in Bhikshatana-murti Shiva is usually depicted with two hands.
The temple had acted as a repository of various antiquities, which were collected and set up in and around the temple. An image of Buddha under a tree inside the temple is usually identified as an image of the king by local people. Among the loose sculptures are Chamunda, Mahishasuramardini, Nataraja, Uma-Mahesvara, Trimurti group, Navagraha group, etc. However, layers of whitewash have hidden most of the features of these sculptures.
Inscriptions – Cunningham7 mentioned about six inscriptions in the temple, out of which only two or three belong to this temple as per Hiralal8.
- Upper wall inscription A – Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins and Somavamsins vol II, appendix I – Its initial portion is lost and what remains appears to be the concluding portion of a prasasti. From what is remained now, clear is the name of the poet and engraver. The inscription was composed by Sumangala, son of Taradatta. It was incised by Vasugana, son of sutradhara Rsigana.
- Upper wall inscription B – Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins, and Somavamsins vol II, no III: XIV – This inscription is only left with its initial portion and inscribed below the above inscription. It starts with obeisance to Shiva. It records that during the reign of the king Mahasivagupta, a certain Jorjjaraka instituted the offering of flower garlands, measuring a purusha in height, for the worship of the god Gandharveshvara. Flowers for the same were to be supplied by all garland makers residing at Navahatta.
- Lower wall inscription – Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins, and Somavamsins vol II, no III: XIII – The record opens with obeisance to Shiva. Genealogy of king Mahasivagupta was provided, starting with Udayana, Indrabala, Nanandeva, Chandragupta, and Harshagupta. Mahasivagupta was also known as Balarjuna because of his excellence in archery. It further says that Nagadeva and Kesava were assigned certain funds for providing garlands of flowers for the worship of Shiva. The eulogy was composed by one Krshnanadin , son of physician Devanandin.
- Slab built into the floor of the entrance – Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins and Somavamsins vol II, Addenda V (ii) – The object of the inscription is to provide for the flower-garlands to lord Shiva. It refers to Balarjuna and the gardeners of Pranavahattaka. Pranavahattka is probably the same as Navahatta mentioned in another inscription found in the same temple.
- Pillar inscription – Descriptive List of Inscriptions in The Central Provinces and Berar – written in Sanskrit using early Nagari script – mentions Shivagupta who obtained the title of Balarjuna by his skills in the use of arrows. Sripuri (Sripura) is also mentioned in the inscription. Srimangala seems to be the name of the composer.
- Pillar fragment A – Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins, and Somavamsins vol II, Addenda V (ii) – This inscription is engraved on three sides of a pillar, it is a long record but much mutilated. Mention of Sivagupta and his title Balarjuna can be made out. Sripuri is mentioned in the fourteenth line. Poet Sumangala composed the inscription.
- Pillar fragment B – Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins, and Somavamsins vol II, Addenda V (iii) – This inscription is on the western face of another pillar, set opposite the fragment of a pillar. This inscription is of 51 lines however much damaged. Mention of Balarjuna can be made out, however other details are not clear.
- Buddha image inscription – Descriptive List of Inscriptions in The Central Provinces and Berar – it runs, ‘The Tathagata explained the cause of those matters which spring from a cause and the mode of its destruction. This was what the great ascetic taught‘.
- Sirpur river gateway inscription – Descriptive List of Inscriptions in The Central Provinces and Berar – On the top of the retaining wall outside the river gateway of this temple there is a slab with an inscription in Sanskrit. It mentions a name of a prince, Devanandi. The engraving was Gonna, which seems to be the same Gonna as mentioned in the Lakshmana temple inscription.
Surang Teela Complex (SRP-18) – This was the largest mound noticed by Beglar as well as Cunningham. During their visit, it was much in ruins except for its box-structured base which was referred to as Surang (tunnel) by the locals. This is the only temple that was fully constructed in stone, unlike the other Sirpur temples constructed in brick. This complex stood in the middle of the village, and in olden times, a wide road used to lead from here, passing through the bazaar area and terminating near Mahanadi where the present Gandheshvara temple stands.
Beglar9 mentions an interesting story that caused major destruction in this fine monument. As the temples were constructed on box foundations, these subterranean chambers when lying exposed, invite curiosity from any onlooker. Mr. Chisholm, then a civil engineer of Rayapura (modern Raipur), having, it said, accidentally seen one of these cells in the large mound (nearly 40 feet high) of the greatest temple here, determined with very laudable, but in this instance very unfortunate, zeal to get to the bottom of the mystery, laying open the subterranean chambers, which naturally enough began to become more and more puzzling as their immense extent began to be realized, till the whole of the superstructure of the temple, which would have been of immense value to archaeology had got effectually cleared away, leaving the mystery of the subterranean chambers as far from solution as ever. Finally, funds ran short and the work was stopped.
Beglar also mentions another interesting legend. “In olden days Sirpur was a very large place, with a circumference of 5 kos; their reigned here a Rani, who embanked the great tank. She used to reside in the Surang (this being the name given to the great temple on account of its deep cells). Subterranean passages led to river and to the tank; she used to bathe in the river and then proceed to the tank, where she would seat herself on a lotus leaf. The people were very happy and paid no taxes; they were rich, too, for the gods had poured on the place a golden rain for 2.5 days. The accumulated wealth lies buried to this day between bat and piper trees, and whoever can find out the particular bat and piper tree alluded to in the legend, will assuredly on digging find untold wealth. One day it occurred to the Rani that if she took a single cowrie from each house within her dominion, the total would be a great deal. Accordingly orders were issued and the amount collected aggregated 12 cart-loads of cowries; next day, however, when she went as usual to sit on the lotus leaf in the tank, it would no longer support her. Terrified to this prodigy, she returned cowries she had taken, one to each house, and the lotus once again bore her weight; but the fiat of the destruction of her race has gone forth, she herself reigned peacefully and died. But during her reign of her successors, sometime afterwards, a great foreign army invaded the kingdom; unable to repel or resist, the Raja and all his subjects fled into the Surang for refuge and closed the doors: a dog however, had accidently also got in with the multitude, and when the invaders in their search approached the Surang, the dog smelling strangers, began to bark, and this disclosed their retreat; the doors of the Surang were then blown open by cannon and the whole of the people destroyed by gunpowder. Since then Sirpur had been desolate, its wealth has gone to Rayapura, while the scrub of Rayapura has come here instead (sic).”
The excavations taken up by A K Sharma have revealed a temple complex covering an area of 4000 sq. meters. The temple has been constructed in panchayatana (quincunx) plan over a platform covering 2/3 of the space in the complex. A subsidiary shrine at the southeast corner of the complex also suggests that there were four subsidiary shrines abutting the inner wall of this complex. Apart from these structures, additional structures were also uncovered during this excavation. Among these were a torana doorway, a priest’s house, and a triple-temple in the southwest corner, the latter appears to be a later addition.
The whole courtyard was enclosed by a stone wall. The platform stands about 12 m from the inner facade of this courtyard wall. This platform has a torana supported on ten pillars. It was approached by a flight of steps provided in the west and the east. The platform is about 5.7 m high. Over the platform are provided five shrines, three are on the east and one each on the north and south. The shrine in the south has an image of Ganesha, and the rest four have Shiva-lingas of four colors, white, red, yellow, and black. Sharma10 quotes Mayamatam specifying that the Shiva-lingas of four colors were meant to be installed by different casts, red by a Kshatriya, yellow by a Vaishya, white by a brahmin, and black by a shudra, but all to be worshiped by all. While we see many temples from the reign of Mahasivagupta trying to bring harmony within different sects, the installation of these different color lingas might also be one of his attempts to bring harmony to society. Bosma11 disagrees with Sharma, specifying that the different size of these lingas suggests that there could be from different locations.
The main temple is found titled towards the east, the reason of which is said to be an earthquake in the 12th century CE, whose epicenter was the river Mahanadi, as Sharma12 mentions. Sharma also tells that various anti-earthquake measures were taken in the design and construction of this temple, allowing the temple to survive the earthquake of the 12th century CE. In front of each garbha-grha, a hole going till the rock-bed, about 80 feet deep, was found. After the construction of these holes, the vacuum was created by burning dry leaves and immediately sealing them with stone. As seismic waves cannot travel in a vacuum, these holes served the purpose of anti-earthquake measures. Another safety measure was that its base is built over the rock-bed, at about 80 feet down the ground level. With this strong base, the temple survived the earthquake with little deformations.
Walls of ardha-mandapa were adorned with sculptural panels. Panel recovered from the central temple are of Narasimha and performance of Ashvamedha yajna. The antarala of the central temple also has river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna, which are otherwise not present in the subsidiary temples. A 32-pillared mandapa, four rows of eight pillars each, is connected to all the temples over the platform.
Inscriptions – Few inscriptions have been found from the Surang Teela monument.
- Donor’s name on southern pillars on torana – reads shri Dronaditya and Shri Vitthala
- Surang Teela stone inscription – Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins, and Somavamsins vol II, Addenda V (iv) – the inscription is badly damaged, from whatever remains it seems to refer to the king Mahasivagupta and its composer seems to be Siladitya.
Trinity Temple – This temple was excavated in 2005 in the Surang Teela complex. This temple has two garbha-grhas, both placed side by side facing north. The one in the west has a shiva linga and the one in the east has an image of Vishnu. Like other temples at Sirpur, this temple also stands on a high rising jagati (platform), about 2 meters high. A T-shaped structure is built between the two shrines. Sharma tells that the width of the passage and the length of the head of T shows that at a time only one person can enter the cell and lie on the floor straight probably in shavasana-mudra. This is the first such structure between a Shiva and Vishnu garbha-grha. He asks if this is the representation of Brahma, the creator of all world, and the creation taking place in a womb represented with this T-shape structure. His theory appears to be a little far-fetched as if the intent of the builder is to dedicate the temple to Hindu Trinity then why they would like to do it in this complex and cryptic manner instead of creating three shrines for three deities.
Excavated Shiva Temples – Remains of Shiva temples have been found at least at seventeen different locations in Sirpur. Seven temples are single garbha-grha temple, built of brick on a stone platform. Five temples contain two garbha-grhas arranged side-by-side. In most of the cases, one garbha-grha has a Shivalinga while another is dedicated to Vishnu. One temple has three garbha-grhas, all connected to the same mandapa. Five temples are built on panchayatana (quincunx) plan. Various temples were excavated during excavations of 2000-2011 by A K Sharma and colleagues. Few of the important ones are described below, in the list, I have included a few non-Shiva temples as those are very few in number:
- Shiva Temple I – This temple was excavated by M G Dikshit in 1954, situated about 100 mts north of Lakshmana Temple. It was built in panchayatana pattern and stood over a 2.6 m high stone platform. Vimana was built in brick. Sharma tells that the site was not conserved therefore it is completely lost now and a priest has occupied it presently.
- Shiva Temple II – This excavated site lies on the way to Senkapat. It was excavated by M G Dikshit, however, like the previous temple, this site is also completely in ruins now. It was again excavated by A K Sharma in 2004-05. The temple has a star-shaped garbha-grha, antarala and a mandapa. To its west, a multi-room residential site is excavated by Sharma, and he identifies it with the prime minister’s house being located on the road to Senkapat, the military headquarters.
- SRP-2 (Shiva Temple) – It is a west-facing temple built with slate stone and brick. It is constructed in pancha-ratha plan consisting of garbha-grha, a narrow antarala, a narrow mukha-mandapa, and a mandapa. The stone color was originally black but due to being buried under the soil for a long period, the outer surface has turned white due to the leeching of calcium carbonate. Grabha-grha houses a shivalinga made of high polished black granite. Sharma13 mentions various antiquities recovered from this site, including a white stone plaque with a six-armed Nataraja figure, a head of Shiva in black granite, a small slate plaque with a figure of Mahishasuramardini, a terracotta mother-goddess figurine, etc.
- SRP-11 (Shiva temple) – It is a west-facing temple built in stone and brick. It is constructed in pancha-ratha plan consisting of a garbha-grha, a antarala, and a mandapa with a three-pillared verandah. Antarala entrance doorway has Ganga at doorjamb while the Yamuna is missing. Garbha-grha has a shiva-linga made of black granite.
- SRP-15 (Shiva Temple) – it is an east-facing temple built in brick and stone. It is consisted of a garbha-grha, a antarala, a ardha-mandapa, a mandapa also providing circumambulatory path and a Nandi-mandapa. Shiva temple attached with a mandapa, the latter also provides space for circumambulation. Garbha-grha has a grey granite shiva-linga.
- SRP-17 (Shiva Temple) – It is a west-facing temple built with slate stone and brick. It is consisted of a garbha-grha, a antarala and a pillared mandapa. Garbha-grha has a white shiva-linga. Below it is a nava-grha square stone. A damaged eight-armed Durga image has been recovered from this site.
- SRP-21 (Shiva Temple) – It is an east-facing temple built in brick and stone. It is a panchayatana (quincunx) temple, with four subsidiary shrines at its four corners. Only three subsidiary shrines have been found. Garbha-grha has a white Shiva-linga.
- SRP-24 (Shiva Temple) – This east-facing panchayatana temple with a stone torana was constructed during the Sarabhapuriya period. From excavations, it is evident that it was renovated twice, once during the Somavamshis in the 7th-8th century CE and again during the Kalachuris during the 10th-11th century CE. The temple had a garbha-grha fronted by a four-pillared mandapa. Inside the garbha-grha was a white stone shiva-linga. A damaged Mahishasuramardini sculpture is recovered in the excavation. A 5th-6th century CE Brahmi inscription is also recovered but in very damaged condition. Two donor inscriptions of 10th-11th century CE were also recovered, these read Teekam Gang and Vitthal. Another 7th-8th century CE inscription reads Shri Dhruva Bale.
- SRP-26 (Shiva Temple) – This temple is located behind Anand Prabha Kuti Vihara. It is a west-facing temple and excavations only yielded its grabha-grha. As the temple did not have any antarala or mandapa, it appears to be a very early temple, probably constructed around the 4th-5th century CE. The doorway was built in stone, rest of the temple was built in brick. Inside the garbha-grha is a white shiva-linga.
- SRP-27 (Hari-Hara Temple) – This east-facing temple has twin garbha-grhas, dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. It is built on a high jagati (platform). Both the garbha-grhas share the common antarala. Garbha-grha in the south has a linga and dancing Shiva on the doorway lintel, and the one in the north has a broken image of Vishnu and Gaja-Lakshmi over the doorway lintel. Its mandapa is a five-pillared hall. It has a stone doorway, the lintel of which has images of Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, and Kartikeya. Sharma14 assigns this temple to the Sarabhapuriyas as they were devout Vaishnavas and built this temple to bring harmony between Shaiva and Vaishnavas.
- SRP-28 (Twin Temple) – This is an east-facing temple dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. Due to its location near the river, the temple has suffered much damage and only its foundations were recovered. It was built on a high platform, with one temple on the south and another on the north.
- SRP-30 (Devi Temple) – This south-facing temple consists of a garbha-grha and ardha-mandapa. A very damaged female goddess statue has been recovered from here.
- SRP-34 (Hari-Hara Temple) – Two garbha-grhas, both facing east, were constructed side-by-side on a single high raised platform. North temple consists of a garbha-grha, ardha-mandapa, and mandapa. It has shiva-linga inside. Southern temple also has a garbha-grha, ardha-mandapa and a mandapa. A broken image of Vishnu is recovered from here.
- SRP-33 (Trideva Temple) – This west-facing temple has three garbha-grhas placed side-by-side connected with a common mandapa. The mandapa is approached by a flight of step and provide space for a circumambulatory path. This triple-shine is enclosed within a complex, surrounded by stone walls. Five small temples are provided inside the enclosure, four were provided at the corners and the fifth is in the center of the eastern wall. A Nandi-mandapa was provided in front of the main entrance. In between the space of the main entrance and Nandi-mandapa, a sarvatobhadhra pillar was placed. Its four faces were carved with images of dancing Shiva, dancing Ganesha, Parvati, and Kartikeya. The common mandapa attached to the three temples has four pillars topped with a lintel. The lintel was carved with images of Uma-Maheswar, Ganesha, and Kartikeya. Central garbha-grha has a shiva-linga. In the southern garbha-grha, a broken image of Durga, and in the northern garbha-grha a broken image of Vishnu is recovered. This is the only triple-shrine complex excavated in Sirpur. Sharma15 assigns it to the early 6th century CE, it is developed after the Hara-Hari temples, as an example of unity among Shiva, Vishnu, and Shakta followers.
- SRP-36A (Veda-pathshala) – East of Raykera tank and surrounded by two smaller tanks on the north and south, remains of a pathshala (school) and its attached panchayatana Shiva temple have been unearthed. Both the structure face each other however garbha-grha of the temple and mandapa of the pathshala are not in the same line. Sharma suggests that this ensures that the Shiva-linga in the garbha-grha and the image of Vishnu in the mandapa do not come in a straight line. The pathshala faces east and is built on a raised platform. A damaged four-armed Vishnu image has been recovered from here.
- SRP-36B (Shiva Temple) – It is a west-facing panchayatana (quincunx) temple, attached to the above pathshala. It is built on a stone platform, slightly lower than that of pathshala. It has a garbha-grha, a pillared mandapa, and four subsidiary shrines at four corners. These four shrines are constructed over a raised platform, sharing the same with the main temple. Inside the garbha-grha is a white shiva-linga.
- SRP-38A (Chamunda Temple) – It is a west-facing temple consisting of a garbha-grha, an antarala, and a mandapa. Its mandapa was divided into three parts. Inside the mandapa, space for niches was provided to house deities. An image of damaged Ganesha was recovered from here suggesting it was once adorning one of the niches of the mandapa. Antarala has two pilasters decorated with various aspects of Shiva. These are Shiva Alingana-murti, Chandeshanugraha-murti, Andhakasuravadha-murti, Vamana-murti, Uma-Mahesvara over Nandi, Ardhanareeshvara, Kalyanasundara-murti, and Vishapaharana-murti. Garbha-grha has an image of Chamunda, shown with eight arms and three eyes and seated in ardhaparyanka-mudra. She is shown seated over a corpse, whose severed head is held in one of her arms while she is eating its intestines with her two arms. At her feet are shown two jackals and one vulture. There is a head popping out behind the corpse, Sharma identifies it with Shiva. Sharma16 assigns this image to the reign of Sarabhapuriyas around the 5th-6th century CE.
- SRP-38B (Yugal Temple) – This site is located immediately northeast of Chamunda temple. This is a twin temple structure constructed over the same platform. Temple was constructed in brick and stone. Temple in the south is bigger than its northern counterpart suggesting that the latter was a later addition. Each temple is consisted of a garbha-grha, an ardha-mandapa and a mandapa. The northern temple was dedicated to Vishnu and the southern to Shiva.
Next – Buddhist and Jain Monuments
1 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 108
2 Shastri, A M (1995). Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins and Somavamsins vol. II. Motilal Banarasidass. New Delhi. ISBN 8120806360. pp 376-379
3 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 101
4 Bosma, Natasja (2018). Daksina Kosala: A Rich Center of Early Saivism. Groningen. ISBN 978-94-034-0392-2. p 162
5 Bosma, Natasja (2018). Daksina Kosala: A Rich Center of Early Saivism. Groningen. ISBN 978-94-034-0392-2. p 82
6 Bosma, Natasja (2018). Daksina Kosala: A Rich Center of Early Saivism. Groningen. ISBN 978-94-034-0392-2. p 214
7 Cunningham, Alexander (1884). Report of a Tour in the Central Provinces and Lower Gangetic Doab in 1881-82, vol XVII. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.
8 Hira Lal, Rai Bahadur (1916). Descriptive Lists of Inscriptions in the Central Provinces and Berar. Nagpur. pp 97-99
9 Beglar, J D 1878). Report of a Tour in Bundelkhand and Malwa and in the Central Provinces, 1873-74, vol VII. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi. pp 172-173
10 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 188
11 Bosma, Natasja (2018). Daksina Kosala: A Rich Center of Early Saivism. Groningen. ISBN 978-94-034-0392-2. p 161
12 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 113
13 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 75
14 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 93
15 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 100
16 Sharma, A K (2012). Ancient Temples of Sirpur. B R Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. ISBN 978-9350500545. p 91
Acknowledgment: Some of the photos above are in CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain from the collection released by Tapesh Yadav Foundation for Indian Heritage.