Located on the banks of the Mahanadi River in the state of Chhattisgarh, Sirpur Shreepur is a famous Buddhist destination that is still waiting to be discovered. In ancient times Sirpur served as the capital of Dakshin Kosala. It was a great centre of Buddhist learning between the 6th and 10th centuries. The Chinese monk and scholar Hieun Tsang is believed to have visited the city in the 7th century AD.
According to Hieun Tsang, Sirpur was a home to hundred Buddhist monasteries inhabited by over 10,000 monks from South east Asia professing Mahayana form of Buddhism. Discovery of conch bangles seems to suggest the presence of Buddhist nuns in the viharas.
The excavations at the site have unearthed important Buddhist sites and artifacts including 10 Buddhist visharas and a metre-high monolithic statue of Buddha in the “Bhumisparsh mudra”, dating back to the 6th century. Another big find is the Buddhist Stupa built by Ashoka. Tradition is that the Buddha himself had visited Sirpur.
The 7th century AD Laxman Temple is one of the most renowned structures in Sirpur. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is one of the finest specimens of brick temples in India.
How to reach Sirpur
Air: Nearest airport to Sirpur is in Raipur which is 80 km away. Raipur’s airport is connected by flights with major cities in India.
Road: It takes 1 hour 30 minutes by road from Raipur to Sirpur. A drive to Sirpur from Raipur through the wooded expanse is a bewitching experience by itself.
Rail: Raipur is well connected via rail with major cities and places in India
Best Time to Visit Sirpur
Best Time to Visit Sirpur is in the month of January when the Sirpur National Dance and Music Festival organised by Chhattisgarh Tourism Board in order to promote the Buddhist site of Sirpur.