Shvirinarayan temple is situated in the Champa Janjgir district of Chhatisgarh. It is one of the most sacred places according to Hindu mythology and is situated at the meeting point of rivers Mahanadi, Jonk and Shivnath. This place is also famously known as Jagannath Puri of Chhatisgrah due to the presence of the Shivrinarayan temple. It is believed that in ancient times, an idol of Shri Jagannathji was established in this place which was later moved to Jagannath Puri.
According to legends, it is still believed that Shri Jagannathji visits this place. It is also believed that this is the same place where Lord Rama found Sita and met Shabri. He also ate Shabri’s tasted berries in the same place. It is believed that this place also had Saint Matang’s asylum where Shabri waited for Lord Rama to arrive. The description of this place can be found in relation to every Yug. This place is known as Baikunthpur of Satyug, Rampur of Tretayug, Vishnupur of Dwaparyug and Shivrinarayan of Kalyug.
Shivrinarayan temple is a great example of different mindsets. It’s descriptions can be found in numerous mythological inscriptions. There are also a number of different legends related to this place. These legends depict the temple’s mythological and spiritual importance. This temple is also known as a secret pilgrimage. It is believed that Lord Rama’s incarnation of Narayani still resides here secretly.
It is also believed that Shri Jagannathji’s idol was moved from this place to Jagannath Puri. It is believed that on the day of Maagh Purnima, Jagannathji visits this place. During this time, Bhoga is not offered to Shri Jagannathji at the Jagannath Puri temple. Evidence of this belief can be found in the Yagyavalakya Sanhita.
According to Sankad Puran, Shivrinarayan was a covered with a dense forest. This place was ruled by the Shivir dynasty. It is believed that Lord Krishna died when he was hit by a Shivir’s arrow due to a curse. This Shivir was named Jara. This makes the Shivir uneasy and he wanted to get punished for the sin.
During this time, Lord Krishna is cremated and his ashes are poured into the sea. When Jara gets to know about this, he visits the sea and brings back Lord Krishna’s dead body to Shri Sindurgiri. He offers his prayers and starts practising Tantra. This dead body of Lord Krishna cam to be known as Neel Madhav.
A good description of Neel Madhav’s idol being established in Puri can also be seen in the works of Shri Sarladas. Some people believe that Neel Madhav’s idol was placed in a cave in the Sambhal ranges by Indrabhuti. It is believed that Indrabhuti offered his prayers and practised Tantra in front of this idol. His successors also did the same for a long period of time after which this idol was placed in Puri.
It is believed that when Jara got to know about Neel Madhav being moved to Puri, he stopped eating and drinking. Knowing this, Neel Madhav incarnated as Narayani and promised to secretly reside at the place. Hence, this place came to be known as a secret pilgrimage.
A huge fair is organised in this temple on the occasion of Maagh Purnima. Various food arrangements are also made and people take baths at the meeting point of rivers Mahanadi, Jonk and Shivnath. The person visiting this place on this occasion is believed to attain salvation. A Ratha Yatra is also organised and people from all over India visit this place on this occasion.