Wandering Destination: Siva Temple, Burla, Sambalpur

Wandering Destination: Siva Temple, Burla, Sambalpur

A small Siva Temple is located near the Nehru Tower of Hirakud dam. Temple built by Rotary Club is located on a small hill and is visible when you descend from Nehru tower to go towards Burla. The ceiling of the sanctum of the temple is painted with pictorial depicts using vibrant colours. Premises of the temple hosts small temples of other deities as well. Temple is a calm place to visit in the evening. Hardly few people visit the temple in the evening.


Wandering Destination : Koilighugar waterfall

Wandering Destination : Koilighughar waterfall

Koilighughar is one of the serene and tranquil location of a waterfall, lesser known spot which is hidden in the Chhuikhanch' forest dominated by Mahua and Saal trees near Lakhanpur. Koilighughar waterfall is around 100 ft on the river Ahiraj later to merge into the Mahanadi river. It is said that Inside the fall there is a Shivalingam known as Maheswarnath. 

The lingam is submerged in water and is not ordinarily visible. For the benefit of the pilgrims, another Shivalingam has been created just outside the waterfall. Worshippers, in plenty, come here to praise the lords. The place of lingam is unique due to its location. Perhaps the most scenic I have ever seen. Beware of the monkeys who are daring enough to snatch anything from your hand, particularly bags.

To enjoy the front view of this beautiful little beast, one should cross the river, go left and climb down a shallow cut through the boulders. The best season to enjoy the thick forest and water flow is from October to December. Koilighugar has an annual fair on the occasion of Sivaratri.

An ashram of Soham swami is located on the premises where the priests of the temples live. 

Place of worship where the alternative Shivalingam is located

A priest cleaning the arsenals of the goddess Durga on the occasion of Vijayadashami
Front view of the fall

Ashram of Soham Swami

Mobile Shots:

An entrance gate being built

Temple on the campus

Cooking space for visitors

Driving from Gobindpur to Koilighugar through forest


How to reach:

On driving from Jharsuguda, drive towards Raigarh on SH 49. From Gobindpur, located at about 20 Km from Belpahar, take a right turn and drive for about 6 km through the forest to reach Koilighugar Waterfall.

Road from Jharsuguda till Gobindpur is newly built in 2016 and is very wide and smooth. At Belpahar railway crossing chokes the traffic especially due to the heavy transport vehicles. While returning to Jharsuguda make sure that you cross the railway crossing before 3.30 PM. After 3.30 PM, all the trucks are released and will make the drive difficult. 

Raigarh is about 40 Km if continued on same highway 49.

Wandering Destination : Vikramkhol Cave

Wandering Destination: Vikramkhol Cave

Vikramkhol caves located in the Sundargarh district is known for the prehistoric rock art and rock inscriptions found reserve forest of Belpahar.

The ancient cave located in Banjari village bears a script written by then resident humans far back in the 4000 B.C (Mesolithic Period). Details about the caves were first published in Indian Antiquary in 1935 by historian K.P.Jayaswal.

The size of the inscriptions is 37 meters in lengths, 5.65 meters in breadth and 8 meters in height. All these engravings both figurative patterns and motifs were pigmented with ochre color. As per IGNCA report [4], at present there is a single specimen of the painting of a honeycomb pattern drawn in bichrome of dark red and white and a host of engravings. A replica of the inscription is exhibited in State Museum of Odisha located in Bhubaneshwar.

The ancient symbols engraved on the walls of the cave of are

  • Paintings of flora and fauna (footprints of animal, deer, cobra hood marks, cupules, cobra hood marks, palm,  and floral design)
  • Geometric shape (triangles with or without a depression at the center, obliterated portion of a rhombic pattern, honeycomb pattern, dots, Roman, and Brahmi alphabetic form, oval carpet shape)
  • Circular holes dug in the wall where weapons, dress and other articles of use were being kept suspended
  • Floors, where circular holes have been dug to pound the grains

Even though Vikramkhol is a tourist place, it lacks the protection to the artwork and lacks the facilities for the visitors. Rock shelters discovered are deteriorating because of lack of attention. The inscriptions are open to the air, maximizing chances of fading over time or vandalism by the visitors. As it is located inside Reserve Forest of Belpahar range, the remote access to the place has also contributed to neglect by Government Agencies.

How to reach:

The caves are about 33 Km from the nearest town of Jharsuguda in Odisha. On NH49 cross the Belpahad railway crossing and at about 2 Km leave the highway to go towards Hemgir.  Continuing on the road for 7 Km, one can see a temple on the road, turn left to enter the forest and follow the dirt road for 3 Km to reach Vikramkhol.

Always keep left once you leave the main road.

A video showing the entrance to the cave road:

Some important tips:

  • Just after the rainy season, the 3-Km road from Grindola to the cave is not motorable. People are advised to keep your car on the main road and walk the distance through the cave.
  • Forest roads are not mapped on google map. Seek directions from the locals. They are very helpful.
  • Carry water and food especially if you are walking. There is no arrangement for food and water at the cave.
  • Photography is allowed.
  • No entrance fee.

More reading:

[1] http://sundergarh.nic.in/rock.htm

[2] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292981343_Glimpses_of_the_Rock_Paintings_and_Rock_Engravings_of_Odisha

[3] http://www.ccsp.it/web/INFOCCSP/VCS%20storico/vcs2009pdf/Pradhan.pdf

[4] http://ignca.nic.in/asi_reports/orjharsuguda002.pdf

Wandering Destination: Ghanteshwari Temple

Wandering Destination: Ghanteshwari Temple

As the name suggests, Ghanta means bells. The title "Ghanteshwari" is originated from the fact that, devotees tie a bell when they visit with some wish. Hundreds and thousands of bells are tied to the holy tree under which the idol of the goddess is situated. Even the breeze rings the bells to create a sweet tinkling sound from the thousands and tiny and big bells. 

In front of the temple is the Mahanadi river bed. The width of the river is large which with the green mountains in the backdrop with some white clouds on the rich blue sky is a beauty to watch on a clear day. However, in earlier times, this beautiful place was dangerous to the sailors.

One story behind the concept of bells goes like this: The Mahanadi river earlier used to have whirlpools which have claimed many lives. An idea of a ‘lighthouse without light’ was born. It was decided by the sailors to build a warning system to intimate the sailor as he approaches the very dangerous spot near Ghanteshwari Temple. To warn any sailor nearing this spot bells were ranged with full force to produce a loud sound. 

Due to the Hirakud Dam built for the flood control, the water level in the bed is now controlled. Controlled flow of Mahanadi obsoletes then much-needed warning-mechanism, however, faith and beliefs of people in Maa Ghanteshwari are still strong. Thousands of devotees visit the temple daily and pray to their beloved goddess.


How to reach:

Ghanteshwari Temple is located in the backyard of Chiplima Hydroelectric Power Station 13 Km from the NH6 (33 km southwest of Sambalpur). Parking is provided by the local governing body at 20 Rs. per car and for 10 Rs. per bike.

Wandering Destination: Chiplima Power Station

Wandering Destination: Chiplima Power Station

Schematic of a typical hydroelectric plant construction

A hydroelectric powerhouse at Chiplima (Power House – II under stage III) is an outcome of renovation carried out by Odisha government under 11th five-year plan. The Chiplima powerhouse was earlier a part of HPS Burla. As a part of the restructuring, Chiplima Power House (Power House No. II) has been separated from HPS, Burla, with effect from 01.07.2009 and renamed as Chiplima Hydro Electric Project. Currently, three generating units with installed capacity of 72 MW (3 x 24) makes the power. The plant uses Kaplan turbine spinning at 350 RPM and uses a head of 72 feet.

Powerhouse is located near famous Ghanteshwari Temple. To enter inside the generation unit, prior permission from authorities should be obtained. However, a spectacular view of the reservoir and the Mahanadi basin is seen while crossing the dam wall to reach the Ghanteshwari Temple

Pathway to cross the reservoir to reach Ghanteshwari Temple
A view of 11/132 KV substation feeding power produced tot he grid

Huge 75 Tone crane installed over dam wall

How to reach:

The power house is located very near to Ghanteshwari Temple. Leave NH53 at Goshala to reach the plant located at about 13 Km from the diversion.