Snake Worship, Tantrism and Erotic Architecture- Explore the Unearthed side of India 


Bhoram Deo Temple, Credits: Chhattisgarh Tourism

Photo of Snake Worship, Tantrism and Erotic Architecture- Explore the Unearthed side of India by Kanj Saurav

India is the land of old fables, ancient rituals and a glorious heritage. The Indian subcontinent saw the rise and fall of many empires over millenniums. Those empires no longer exist but they left us with some remarkable monuments which leave us wide-eyed with the grandeur of our majestic past. Most of us are aware of the popular forts, palaces and temples of Rajasthan and Bundelkhand in the North, the temple towns of Tamil Nadu, and the ruins of Hampi in Karnataka. However, that's not all that India has to offer. A significant portion of the Indian landscape has been left virgin to travellers' footsteps, while they coyly home some of the most intriguing and intricate architectural marvels.

Photo of Snake Worship, Tantrism and Erotic Architecture- Explore the Unearthed side of India  1/1 by Kanj Saurav
Credits: Chhattisgarh Tourism

The Bhoramdeo Temple Complex is a group of four Hindu temples dedicated to god Shiva in the state of Chhattisgarh. The archaeological findings date back to the 2nd century, when the maiden structures were laid down by the Hindu rulers of the region. Later, the Nagwanshi Kings of the South Kosala empire who worshipped Snakes as deity and practiced Tantrism added to the existing temples to expand the complex between the 10th-14th century .

Credits: aksveer63

Bhoramdeo Temple- Bhoramdeo is the main temple of the complex constructed in stone. Built in 1100 AD, much before the temples of Khajuraho, ironically, Bhoramdeo is also known as the 'Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh'. If you come across a picture of Bhoramdeo temple, with no doubt, you too would think it was taken at one of the temples of Khajuraho. Its architectural features with human sized erotic sculptures has given Bhoramdeo temple a distinct style akin to the Khajuraho temple and the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha. The temple is furnished with detailed carvings and some of the remarkable visuals are- Vishnu and Lakshmi mounted on Garuda with a king offering prayers, a gana adorning the top part of the pillars, Shiva Linga, a serpent with raised hood, and also images of Ganesha and Shiva, and that of a king and queen.

Credits: Kabirdhamtourism

Istaliq temple- The Istaliq temple was the first temple built between 2nd & 3rd centuries by the Somvanshis. The temple is built with burnt clay bricks, and adjoins the Bhoramdeo Temple. While the temple is in dilapidated condition with centuries of wear & tear, deified sculptures of Shiva Linga, along with images of Uma Maheswar and of the king and queen standing in a worshiping pose is remarkably distinct.

Credits: kabirdhamtourism

Madwa Mahal- The Madwa Mahal, also known as Dulhadeo, was built as a marriage hall in 1349 AD in remembrance of the wedding of Nagwanshi king Ramachandra Dev with princess Raj Kumari Ambika Devi. The external walls of this temple have 54 images in erotic sexual postures explained in the Kama Sutra, which are said to reflect the tantric culture practiced by the Nagawanshi kings.

Credits: aksveer63

Cherki Mahal- The last temple in the complex houses a deified uncarved Shiva Linga form. The roof of the temple has lotus motifs and intricate carvings on the entrance porch.


Photo of Snake Worship, Tantrism and Erotic Architecture- Explore the Unearthed side of India by Kanj Saurav

How to reach?

The Bhoramdeo temple complex lies at the foot of the densely forested scenic backdrop of the Maikal range of hills, 18 km North-West of Kawardha town in Kabeerdham district of Chhattisgarh.

The nearest airport at Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh is 134 km from the complex. Raipur is well connected with major cities of India. A cab from Raipur to Kawardha would take about 2.5 hrs. Buses are also available.

The nearest major Railway Stations are Raipur & Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh & Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. The distance of Kawardha from Bilaspur & Jabalpur is 112 kms and 220 kms, respectively.

There is also a bypass road from Raipur to Madhya Pradesh Highway which skirts the Kanha National Park, located at a distance of 90 kms from Kawardha.

How to plan a trip?

A trip to Bhoramdeo Temple Complex can be planned alongside a visit to the Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, and/ or a visit to Amarkantak, the origin of river Narmada. Both these places lie at the Chhattisgarh-MP border and are about a 1.5 hrs drive from Kawardha.

Women of Baiga Tribe, Inhabitants of Kawardha Credis:,_India.jpg

Photo of Snake Worship, Tantrism and Erotic Architecture- Explore the Unearthed side of India by Kanj Saurav

While Chhattisgarh may seem unlikely to be on your travel bucket list, it will certainly provide a breath of fresh air to your annual mountain & beach sessions. The landlocked geography which has kept itself safe from the advent of any foreign invaders ever in history, has a discrete pristine culture and vegetation to offer. And as you travel deep into the intriguing land, you are sure to witness unusual rituals & costumes and the true tribal culture of the people inhabiting the Kawardha region.