For ages, of all the Hindu deities Lord Ganesh has always sparked imagination and creativity of devotees when it comes to worshipping him. At times the devotion peaks, virtually. And the ‘Dholkal’ Lord Ganesh sitting atop a rocky cliff in Bailadila mountain range at nearly 2,994 feet above sea level in the dense forests of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh testifies the fact.
The origin of the stone idol is as mysterious as its majestic appearance amid the lush green scenic surroundings. Nonetheless, no one knows exactly how and when the idol, made of solid rock was installed on the mountain peak as it certainly would have taken a super human effort.
However, historians and archaeologists believe that the idol might have been installed in the 10th and 11th century period during the reign of Chindak Naga dynasty in the region. A snake sign can be seen carved on the belly of the deity in his typical Lalitasana
The beautiful Ganesh idol, nearly three feet tall and two-and-half feet wide is surrounded by huge stone blocks resembling a temple. The legend has it that once Lord Parshuram visited Kailasa to meet Lord Shiva and was stopped from getting in by Lord Ganesh as he was told to do by Shiva.
As Parashuram tries to trespass Ganesh throws him on earth on the Bailadila mountains. A battle ensues between them. Parashuram with his weapon axe, Parasa (Farsa) cuts a tooth of Ganesh. And a village nearest to the hill was named Farsapal, which was derived from Parshuram’s weapon.The name ‘Dholkal’ is derived from the word ‘Dhol’ which means a drum and ‘Kal’ means a hill as the rock on which the deity is installed looks like a rock drum. “He is our protector and carries a weapon in his left hand,” Kursam Venkanna, a local, told Telangana Today.
Reaching Dholkal is not any easy task. One has to first reach Farsapal 16 km away from the idol location and then trek for nearly 16 hours to reach the Dholkal peak. Yet driven by devotion and adventurism many accomplish the task. From Bhadrachalam, Dholkal is about 259 km in the north and 16 km away from the headquarters of Dantewada district.
“It is a once in a lifetime experience to reach the peak and to pray to the Lord. It also needs a lot of preparation and support of local tribals to embark on the journey,” says Bhadrachalam based electronic media journalist Panuganti Eshwar, sharing his experience of visiting the place.
Though worshipped by the local tribes, Dholkal Ganesh was not known to the outside world until 2012, when it was spotted by a local scribe. Then in 2017, the idol disappeared suddenly causing commotion among the public. The locals, police and the district administration searched and found the broken idol pieces downhill. A team of archaeologists pieced together 62 parts of the idol and reinstalled it at the same location. Police pointed fingers at the Maoists for damaging the idol, but they had denied it.