An ancient village in Madhya Pradesh, Tigawa is best known for its archaeological site of about 36 Hindu temple ruins. It is believed that the temples of the complex were demolished and excavated when a contractor wanted building materials for the railway project during the colonial era.
However, of them, Kankali Devi Temple is in a good condition, and was built in the 5th-century during the rule of the Gupta Period. It is one of the oldest surviving temples in India and showcases the earliest form of Hindu sacred architecture. Located on a plateau near the Kaimur Range, the hamlet experiences hot climate during the summer, and therefore is advisable to be visited when the climatic conditions are favourable; from October until the end of February.
The most prominent Kankali Devi Temple is also one of the most revered pilgrimage centres of the state; it is believed to be one of the Shaktipeeths. Therefore, it attracts hordes of devotees and travellers alike especially on festivals such as Navratri. Legend goes that, during the festival, the neck of the deity tilts to one side.
The temple is also known for being almost identical in its architecture to a temple found in Sanchi, which too is dated back to the 5th-century. Given that the Kankali Devi Temple is a Hindu site while the shrine at Sanchi is a Buddhist site, archeologists state that there were close links between Hindu and Buddhist architecture during the time.
For an immersive experience, you can couple your trip to Tigawa with the town of Bahuriband, about 4 kilometres north of the hamlet. Bahuriband is famous for its 12 feet high statue of the Jain Tirthankar Shantinath. From a history enthusiast to an architecture aficionado, these two villages make for a perfect weekend getaway.
The nearest airport to Tigawa is in Jabalpur, located at a distance of about 80 kilometres. The nearest rail-head is also in Jabalpur. From Jabalpur, you can either take a bus or hire a cab to Tigawa.