As Ganesh Chaturthi is being marked across India today, 10 September, people are sharing pictures of the elephant-headed god to extend greetings on the occasion. Indian Forest Service officer Parveen Kaswan joined in with an extraordinary story of a 1,100-year-old Ganesh idol in Chattisgarh’s Dantewada district.
Where the lord #Ganesha sits in calm atmosphere. 1100 year old Ganesha idol in Bastar #forest. The idol, made during the time of Nagvanshi dynasty, is placed atop a ‘dhol’ shaped hill that lies 14 km inside the forest. #GaneshChaturthi pic.twitter.com/ztgk9WXbF2
— Parveen Kaswan (@ParveenKaswan) September 10, 2021
Kaswan shared a picture of the idol, narrating its story. Established atop the Dholkar hill in Dantewada, the statue was made and established during the reign of the Nagvanshi dynasty. Apart from the calm, serene surroundings of the idol and the breathtaking view it oversees at a height of around 3,000 feet, the idol is also famous for the story behind it.
The idol is worshipped as a saviour by the local Bhogami tribals, who consider themselves the descendants of the female priests of Dholkal. According to myths, the hill is the site of a battle between Lord Ganesha and the seer Parashuram. In the midst of the battle, Ganesha’s tooth was broken and fell here.
To commemorate the mythological battle, the Nagvanshi dynasty installed the statue there. The two and a half feet wide idol is an example of artistic beauty, holding a broken tooth in one hand and a farsa (sharp weapon) in the other. A snake is imprinted on the belly of the statue, denoting a sign of the Nagvanshi dynasty.
The idol has been worshipped for centuries and the hill is also considered a tourist spot. Many people flock to the statue to view the ancient statue. The state government had sanctioned Rs 2 crore for the development of the site as a tourist spot.
In 2017, the locals were in for a shock when the Ganesha idol disappeared from the hill. It was later found in pieces at the bottom of the hill. Police suspected that Maoists were responsible for the incident. According to police officials, Maoists may have pushed the idol from the hill to stall developmental work in the area. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) restored the idol in 62 pieces the same year and re-established it.
According to Kaswan, the idol can still be reached today from Dantewada. People who want to visit the stop have to reach Midkulnar, a small village about 20 km away from Dantewada, and then undertake an arduous trek of about 5-7 km to reach the hill.