On Dussehra every year, people in Chandrapur, an ancient town in eastern Vidarbha of Maharashtra used to throw stones at a sculpture which they thought was of demon king Ravana. However, the tradition stopped few years back when archaeologists revealed the sculpture was of 10-headed Goddess Durga.
The apathy towards preserving the ancient treasure still persists and the rare stone statue which dates back to 400 years still lays there in waiting to get attention and restoration. The complex where the statue is present is part of an incomplete ancient temple.
10-headed Goddess Durga
The 16th century idol is carved out of a single stone and is almost 23 feet long and 18 feet wide, claims Historian Ashok Singh Thakur of Nagpur. A small replica of the original stone idol is kept in Nagpur’s Central Museum. The idol is called “Dashavtari” as it has 10 heads and 10 hands. Each hand holds a weapon.
‘’It is probably the oldest and biggest idol of Ma Durga in Maharashtra. The statue or idol is carved in a single stone but as it couldn’t be completed it still lays on ground in an incomplete temple complex is Bhivapur," says the historian.
Chandrapur witnessed the history of the Gond rule. The region flourished during the reign of Rani Hirai Devi of the Gond dynasty in the 17th century. Many temples were renovated and rebuilt during her tenure.
Taking inspiration from sculptures built during the Gond rule, Raiappa Vaishya, who lived in Babupeth, started work on a magnificent temple. He died while the temple work was in progress. So, the work was never completed. That is why this temple is called ‘Apoorna Devalaya’, said Thakur.