Known for its scenic landscapes and a hilltop temple, dedicated to Goddess Bambleshwari, Dongargarh is a beautiful little town, set against stately mountains. Located around 110 km away from Raipur, it is dotted with ponds and is surrounded by a patchwork of farmlands, rustic homes and snaking roads.

A quaint retreat, away from the bustle of cities, Dongargarh invites tourists for its pilgrimage places. Among the most important is the Maa Bamleshwari Devi Temple. Situated on the top of a hill at a height of 1,600 ft, the white temple makes a pretty picture against the green hill. The temple complex has two important sites: the Badi Bamleshwari Temple and the Chhoti Bamleshwari Temple, which are located at the base of the hill. The hilltop offers stunning views of the surrounding area and can be reached either by climbing a long flight of stairs or a ropeway. Dongargarh is particularly vibrant during the celebrations of Navratri (a nine-day holy festival).

It is said that around 2,000 years ago, Dongargarh was called Kamavati and was ruled by king Kamsen, who constructed the temple of Goddess Bamleshwari to celebrate the birth of his son. Later, when Kamavati was destroyed in a war between Kamsen and king Vikramaditya, the latter, though victorious, was filled with remorse at the gory outcome. He prayed to Goddess Bagulamukhi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, requesting her to preside at the Bamleshwari Temple. Since then, it is believed that Maa Bagulamukhi Devi is present here. As time passed, the name changed from Maa Bagulamukhi to Maa Bamlai to Maa Bamleshwari.

Many believe this region is also blessed by the goddess of knowledge and wisdom, Saraswati.

Moreover, a prominent Buddhist site, Pragyagiri, is also worth a visit. Situated just 30 km away from the  Bamleshwari Temple, it lies on the Nangara hillock, dominated by a gigantic statue of Lord Buddha in a meditating pose. Devotees flock to the 30-ft-high statue that looks mesmeric during sunrise and sunset.  Also located nearby is a Jain temple on Chandragiri Hill with an ancient statue of the Teerthankara Chandraprabhuji.

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