The city of Raipur is located near the centre of a large plain, sometimes referred as the “rice bowl of India” – where hundreds of varieties of rice are grown. It is the capital of Chhattisgarh. The city believed to be founded in the 14th century AD by the Kalchuri King Ram Chandra is centrally located in Chhattisgarh. Raipur is the biggest city of the region and a fast developing important industrial centre. The city lying on the Mumbai – Nagpur – Howrah mainline is well connected by air and rail and is a good base to visit the tourist centers of the region.
Geography of Raipur
Raipur is situated in the fertile plains of Chhattisgarh Region. It is situated between 22o 33′ N to 21o14’N Latitude and 82o 6′ to 81o38’E Longtitude. It occupies the south eastern part of the upper Mahanadi valley and the bordering hills in the south and the east. Mahanadi is the principal river of this district. Its tributaries being Sendur, Pairy, Sondur, Joan, Kharun and Shivnath. The fertility of lands of Raipur can be attributed to the presence of these rivers. (Map of Raipur)
History of Raipur
Raipur is important in historical and archeological point of view. This place was once part of Southern Kosal and considered to be under Mourya Kingdom. Raipur city had been the capital of the Haihaya Kings, controlling the traditional forts of the Chhattisgarh for a long time. The town of Raipur has been in existence since the 9th century, the old site and ruins of the fort can be seen in the southern part of the city. Satawahana Kings ruled this part till the 2nd-3rd century AD.
In the 4th Century AD the king Samudragupta had conquered this region and established his domination till Fifth-Sixth Century AD when this part had come under the rule of Sarabhpuri Kings. For some period in Fifth-Sixth Century A.D., Nala kings dominated this area. Later on Somavanshi kings had taken the control over this region and ruled with Sirpur (Sripur-The city of Wealth) as their capital city. Mahashivgupt Balarjun was the mightiest emperor of this Dynasty. His mother, the widow Queen of Harshgupta of the Somavansh, Rani Vasata built the famous brick temple of Lakshman. The Kalchuri Kings of Tumman ruled this part for a long time making Ratanpur as capital. The old inscriptions of Ratanpur, Rajim and Khallari refer to the reign of kalchuri kings. It is believed that the King Ramachandra of this dynasty established the city of Raipur and subsequently made it the capital of his kingdom.
Another story about Raipur is that King Ramachandra’s son Brahmdeo Rai had established Raipur. His capital was Khalwatika (Now Khallari) . The newly constructed city was named after Brahmdeo Rai as ‘Raipur’. It was during his time in 1402 A.D. that Hajiraj Naik the temple of Hatkeshwar Mahadev was constructed in the banks of river Kharun.The decline of this dynasty’s rule came with the death of king Amarsingh Deo. This region had become the domain of Bhosle kings after the Amarsingh deo’s death. With the death of Raghuji the III, the territory was assumed by the British Government and Chhattisgarh was declared a separate Commissionery with its Headquarters at Raipur in 1854.
Places of Interest in Raipur
Meaning aged (burha) lake (talab), Burha Talab is the largest lake of several in the city. Its beauty is enhanced on account of an island, laced with green trees and gardens, situated in the middle of the lake.
Situated near the Burha Talab stands the 500 years old Dudhadari Temple, with elaborate carvings. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Ram.
Mahant Ghasi Das Memorial Museum
A large collection of inscriptions, images, coins, sculptures, etc. are displayed in this museum.
Shaheed Smarak Complex
An exceptionally conceptualized architectural marvel of Prasanna Kothari – a memorial of freedom fighters enveloping a huge auditorium, library, museum and an art gallery.