Markanda Mahadev Temple is located in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. The temple is 1200 years old and is situated on banks of Wainganga river. The main temple has a Shiva Linga which can be seen by devotees. You can put your offerings outside the temple. The scenic beauty of the temple reveals ancient architecture which is well carved on the outside of the wall of the temple. The carvings on the temple walls consist of various Gods and Goddess. Various parts of the temple have worn out due to the passage of time but now the government is trying to restore this ancient site of pilgrimage.
Lots of devotees gather during Shivaratri to do puja and get a darshan of lord shiva so that their life is filled with peace and prosperity. The environment is very peaceful and you will get a feeling of being at an ancient place.
This temple complex is spread over 40 acres of land. This temple Complex is dedicated to lord Shiva. However, the Markanda name is derived from the Markandeya rishi of Haryana who was an ardent devotee of Shiva.
History of Markanda
Indian Archaeological Department first time had recorded this 120 years before in its survey. Some part of Stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata are connected with these group of temples. The record of this place is made in the gazetteer of Chandrapur district in 1973 as well as the information of Markanda is given on page 373 in part 13 of the encyclopaedia.
In tramlines of the external part of the main temple there are many records of Gods, Goddess and hermits i.e. Vyal, Ashtadikpal, Apsara, Sursundari and Devangana. The records of many birds and ShivParvati are kept there in too. The courtyard of the temple is famous in the world for images of ladies engrossed in dance action. Every image of the God and Goddess here is ornate with various ornaments.
Each god statue has the vehicle included thus making the process of identification easier. The experts say that the total statues counted so far are said to be 409. The art can be compared to that of Khajuraho. Surrounding of the fortifications of the group temples there is the temple of Dashavtar. There are 12 Pithas, there are shown extra 2 Pithas here. One of the experts of culture opinioned that these extra 2 Pithas influences the minds of the people more during this period and so more of the 2 Pithas might have been constructed. There are 12 Shivlingas in the temple and courtyard of the temple.
Late Dr V.V. Mirashi says that this might be the work of the man who ruled from Himalaya to Srilanka during the 11th Century. In historical texts, there was no such king. On the contrary, Rashtrakutas ruled during 8th Century in Vidharbha. There was a formal copper inscription of them in Chandrapur and Akola. Their capital city was Mayurkhandi which is so far undiscovered. Rashtrakuta 3rd Govinda might have constructed the temples’ of Markanda, it is said by Dr Mirashi. In all the groups of temples might be built during 8th and 9th Century. There are seen constructions of Gajlakshmi, Garud etc. on the sculptures of Markanda. There is Mahal Amgaon at 12 Km distance towards the east. In the temple there are records of Gajlakshmi and Narsimha Avatar. Nowadays, our image of Garuda was found in the field. The Villagers installed the image in 2003. The image sculpture is in meditation and Anjali Mudra. The image is a wing. There is a script on a column found along a street leading to Rekhegaon. This column might be of soldiers killed in the war. The experts have read this script. The authorities of Vidarbha should save this temple. Markanda is middle place in India which is a place of matchless art and grandeur.
How to Reach?
The Markanda village is situated at 65 km away from Chandrapur and 184 km from Nagpur. It is at 40 km distance from Gadchiroli and 25 Kms from Mul in Chandrapur District. Bus services are available through out the year from Nagpur, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli to go to Chamorshi and then Markanda. Nearest railway station to the Gadchiroli / Markanda is Mul.
The bus routes to go to Markanda are as follows
- Chandrapur – Gondpipari – Ashti – Chamorshi – Markanda
- Chandrapur – Gadchiroli – Chamorshi – Markanda
- Nagpur – Gadchiroli – Chamorshi – Markanda
- Chandrapur – Mul – Saoli – Markanda.