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History of Dantewada

History of Dantewada talks about the different changes that lead to its formation. Dantewada was formed in the year 1998. This particular region has several similarities with the District of Bastar as far as culture is concerned. Dantewada District which is also known as Dakshin Bastar or Dantewara District is a district in Chhattisgarh. It is the district headquarters of the state which is a part of Bastar Division. Until the year of 1998 the district of Dantewada was a tehsil of the larger District of Bastar.

Origin of the name ‘Dantewada’

Dantewada derived its name from the town capital of the district which is named after the deity of the town Ma Danteshwari. The Goddess that is Ma Danteshwari is the most worshipped and revered Goddess who is an incarnation of Shakti. The region of Dantewada is believed to be one of the total numbers of 52 sacred Shakti pithas of the Hindu Mythology.

Past and Present of Dantewada

Before the Independence of India, the district of Dantewada was a part of the state of Bastar. After the Indian Independence in the year 1947, Bastar's ruler assented to the government of India and hence the state became a part of the District of Bastar in Madhya Pradesh. Bastar District was then divided into the 3 districts of Dantewada, Bastar, and Kankesr in the year1999. In the year 2000, Dantewada had become one of the 16 districts of Madhya Pradesh that represented the new state of Chhattisgarh. Dantewada was further subdivided in the year 2007 which resulted in a new district of Bijapur with consisted of 4 Tehsils that is Bijapur, Usoor, Bhairamgarh and Bhopalpatnam.

According to Ramayan, the famous epic of India, Ram who is the hero had taken shelter in this region during his exile. This place which was once known as Dandkaranya has thus been associated as Ram’s Karmabhumi which means the land of destiny.

Inhabitants of the banks of the River Sindhu known as Sindhughati separated from the Prag Dravidians in 1500 B.C. It is mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit literature that one section of this segregated group reached Bastar as Dravid Speaking “Nag”.  The Chhindak Nags were ancestors of modern Gonds.
The region of Bastar was once ruled by the Satwahana rulers from 72 BC to 200 AD. Before the Nala dynasty, traces of flourishing of Jainism and Buddhism can be seen in this region.

During the periods of Nalas (350-760) and the Nagas (760-1324) the ruling system was tribal republican in this area which is worth mentioning. But in the later periods the system had gradually been ruined. During the later years the entry of outsiders laid the foundation of Feudalism in this area, which created obstacles and inertness in development for five centuries continuously.

The different dynasties or rulers of the district of Dantewada are Nalas (350-760 AD), Chalukya (1324-1777 AD), Nagas (760-1324 AD), Bhonsle (1777-1853 AD) and British (1853-1947 AD). Also, the capitals of this particular region at different times in history are Chitapur, Dantewada, Rajpur, Bade-Dongar, Bastar, Rajnagar, Jagdalpur, Mandhota and Barsur.

The present district of Dantewada has come into existence in the year 1998. Although this area had been unknown for a while to the outer world because of the inaccessible geographical situation, ruins and remainings of the ancient sculptures and temples found here has made the researchers of History to spend their time digging deep into the glorious past of this region.

History of Goddess Danteshwari Temple

Goddess Danteshwari Temple is an ancient temple in the district of Dantewada which was constructed by the rulers of Chalukya Dynasty in the 14th century. This particular temple which is around 600 years old is located at the confluence of the River Shankini River and the River Dhankini River. Also, the temple has been divided into four zones that are Maha Mandap, Garbha Griha, Mukhya Mandap, and Sabha Mandap.

It was built as a dedication to the Goddess Danteshwari. This temple represents the symbol of feminine divinity and is believed to be amongst the 52 Shakti Peeths.

It is believed that Goddess Parvati had burnt herself because of the insult by her father to Lord Shiva that resulted in Lord Shiva performing the Taandav or dance with the body of Goddess Parvati in his arms. During the Taandav dance, Lord Shiva is said to have destroyed the Yaga of Daksha while Lord Vishnu cut the body of Goddess Parvati, which then got scattered around in 52 places. These 52 places have thus been termed as the Shakti Peeths.

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