States of India
Sirpur or Shripur the city of wealth has been mentioned in ancient epigraphic records and dates back to a periods ranging from between the Fifth and the Eighth century A.D. It was then the capital of the Sarbhapuriya and Somvanshi Kings of Dakshin Kosala or Chhattigarh. It was an important centre of Buddhist from the 6th the 10th century A.D. and was visited by Hieun Tsang, the 7th Century Chinese Pilgrims and Scholar. Excavations in and around the village have yielded scores of temple sites constructed of bricks, stone pillars and sculptures such as the Shiva Temple of Panchayatan style and the beautiful sculpture of Mahishasuramardini. Two Buddhist monasteries have also been found.
The Lakshmana Temple found here is a brick temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is the only brick temple of its size still standing in this State. The door frame is of stone and a figure of the reclining Vishnu on the Sheshnag may be found on the Lintel. This temple was built by Vasata, the widow queen of Harsh Gupta of the Somvansh. Another temple is the GANDHESHESHWARA TEMPLE (formerly Gandharveshvara) and is interesting because of the Epigraphic records and Genealogy of the Kings of the Somvansh. Some extremely good Vaishnav sculptures are to be found in the Mandapa and several Jain, Buddhist and Hindu Sculptures have been collected in the precincts of the temple. The most interesting feature of the Sirpur site is that archeological pieces connected with the Shaiv, Vaishnav, Jain and Buddhist religions (of approximately the same age) have been found side by side. The ruins are seen on the banks of numerous tanks existing within a radius of about 6 kilometers around Sirpur.