The story of Ratanpur
Referred to as Ratanpura in the ancient inscriptions of Haihaiya Kings, the modern day Ratanpur, full of temples and ponds, is an ancient town of immense historic value, is situated in the Kota tehsil of Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh. The town has a rich history and according to some mythological theories, the town has connections to Hindu epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. In the medieval times, Ratanpur acquired much importance as King RatanDev shifted his capital to this place, to rule the then Dakshin-Koshala, now major parts of Chhattisgarh. In the modern times, Ratanpur is famous because of Shri Mahamaya Devi Temple and the Ancient Fort.
If we look down to the history of Hindu Epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, there are many stories connected to Ratanpur. There are three major incidents which would attract anyone’s attention towards this small town. The first incident is related to Mahabharata where it is believed that during the treta yug, when Lord Shiva killed Surpnakha’s husband Kapardidev, for abducting Parvati, tears rolled down from her kajal decorated eyes and filled a pond with dark water, now known as the Kajal Talab of Ratanpur. The other mythological story connected to Ratanpur takes us to the Ramayana epic where it is believed that this town was the birth place of Lord Rama’s mother Kaushalya. Another interesting story which has certainly got more relevance to the modern times is the story of the formation of Mahamaya temple in Ratanpur, as it is believed that the shoulder of Sati Parvati fell at this place, making it as one of the 52 Shaktipeeths, located in the country.
The next phase of importance for the town of cultural heritage of Chhattisgarh, comes from the Kaluchuri’s. Kalachuris were one of the prominent Kshatriyas of Medival India and they ruled various parts of ancient India from 7Th century to 18th century, and one amongst those were Kalachuris of Ratanpur, who called themselves Haihaiyavanshis. Around 1050 AD King RatanDev 1 shifted the capital of Kaluchuri kingdom from Tumman to Ratanpur. There are two interesting theories related to King’s decision to shift the capital city. One theory emphasizes on the strategic geographical location of Ratanpur due to its defensive and riverine site. A village, Koni, presented a suitable place for cantonment of the army and the forest of Ratanpur provided ideal forest training ground for jungle war, also the bridge served as a perfect means of regular supply of material needs of the soldier. While the other theory suggests that once during a night stay under a tree near the Mahamaya temple, King Ratandev 1 saw Goddess Mahamaya and later in his dream the Goddess told him to shift the capital city.
The modern day Ratanpur has many temples, ponds and also the ancient Palaces and forts which is now under the Archeological Survey of India, being repaired for more research on finding its history and importance. The Mahamaya Devi Temple, which is the center of attraction for Hindu devotees, is said to be built around 12th century AD and the first puja and abhishek of the Goddess was performed by King RatnaDev 1. The temple is built on the Nagar school of Architecture and the main campus of the temple has smaller statues of Mahakali, Bhadrakali. SuryaDev, Lord Vishnu, Lord Hanuman, Bhairav and Lord Shiva along with the dual statue of Maa Mahamaya.
The temple attracts most devotees twice a year during the time of Navratas, where devotees have to struggle a lot and patiently wait to get a glimpse of Goddess Mahamaya and pay their rituals. Many big halls surround the main campus of the temple and are used for keeping alive the Jyoti Kalashas for the whole nine days by the temple administration, on behalf of the devotees.
Other temples of rich historical importance include the Mahamrityunjaya Panchmukhee Shiv Mandir. Kanthi Dewal and Ram Tekri.
The ruined fort of Ratanpur has no particular history and is believed to be built by King RatanaDev when he shifted his capital. The earliest inscription found in Ratanpur is dated in Kalchuri Year 821 (1069 CE) in the reign of king Prithvideva, son of RatnaDev 1. The fort which is located on a plateau, is speculated to had four gates of entry named as Simha, Ganesh, Bhairav and Semar Dwar. One of the gates has some statues of God and Goddess. There are many temples inside the fort also like the Jagannath Temple.
Ratanpur is certainly an attractive tourist destination where one can appreciate the beauty of nature as well as admire the historical buildings and temples around the town. The nearest railway station to Ratanpur is Bilaspur Junction and the nearest Airport is Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur.
So do visit the town and enjoy your stay in Credible Chhattisgarh.