29th August 2017
It’s about 8 o’clock in the evening when I got a tweet from Mr. Ashish Sarangi (@ashishsarangi). He mentioned about the ‘Koti Shivalinga Mountain’ situated at Kutunipadar of Laxmipur block, Koraput. He posted pictures of some of the stone carved sculptures. He also asked about the route map to that place. I was surprised to see his enthusiasm. Though I live in Damanjodi, I am not familiar with the roads of Kakiriguma and Laxmipur. I started collecting data about that place from various sources. I had a colleague, Gautam Bisoi, from Kakiriguma but he didn’t visit the place himself. During my service life I had not done any investigative visit but I was unable to control my anxiety after seeing those photos. That night was passed by thinking about that place.
30 August 2017
I woke up early in the morning. I tried a bit for further information and failed to do so. I thought I, myself have to cover the place to know more. It was 10 o’clock in the morning when I left home. I had to go 30 KMs to reach Kutunipadar as per my preliminary info but was ignorant about the actual distance of the place. I thought my journey would be more enjoyable if I have had a companion with me. I began my journey towards my destination with such thoughts. Suddenly I stopped by a young boy, who wanted a lift up to Kakiriguma. He was Harischandra Naik of Kakiriguma, who works in a private hospital of Jeypore. Then I was not alone. Our journey was resumed with all sorts of gossips while we were passing through the villages Mathalput, Litiguda, Puturakati, Dangapai, Khajuriput, Baiguda, Bhitargad etc. The wide and empty roads with beautiful environment we were proceeding towards Kakiriguma.
We reached Kakiriguma at about 11 o’clock. During this period a friendship has been developed among us. I requested Harishchandra to accompany me if he feels free. He agreed to my proposal and we headed till Kusumaguda village, 5 KMs from Kakiriguma, from where we have to take left turn to reach that unknown place. There itself we met a teacher from TalaChampi village who provided further information of the route.
Then we headed three kilometers towards Talachampi village enroute to Kutunipadar thru the rich and beautiful paddy fields and springs. Then the paved road ended suddenly and rest 1 kilometer road was muddy till the Tarini Temple, where we stopped by the priest of the temple. He invited us to visit the temple. But with all anxiety I asked him about the ‘Shiva Temple’, noticed in photos on the previous day. He directed us to a nearby cave where a Shiva Linga was being worshiped. We went there and found the place immediately but lost my hope there itself as that was not the place for which I traveled 30 kilometers.
Then we returned back to the Tarini Temple again with little bit of disappointment. Reached there at 12:30 PM. We entered the temple to pay a visit to the deity. The priest received us with all respect.
The moss covered steps, during rains, were beautiful. It was in symphony with the surrounding beaty covered with greenery. Twelve numbers of brass bells were hung there in front of the entrance of the temple. I was delighted by entering the temple as the same pictures floated in my memory canvas. That was enough to indicate that I had reached that memorable place “Koti Shivalinga Mountain”. The priest Sunari Kuldip told it’s the famous ‘Koti Shibalinga Parbat’, which contains 1 Crore Shiva Linga over there.
Just after the entrance there was the black horse of Goddess Tarini. There were countless Shiva Linga(s) of various shapes were there and the size ranges from few inches to 4 feet. Though his previous three generations were worshiping there, Sunari Kuldip was unable to provide any solid idea about the antique archaeology out there. I think these stone sculptures must be of some century old artifacts. May be older than what I think but that can only be discovered by proper research with modern technologies (Petrology & Radiology).
All the walls were carved with various Hindu idols, i.e. Shiba-Parbati, Kaali, Ganesh, Laxmi, Balajee, Jagannth, Bramha, Vishnu.I think the Vishnu Ananta-shayan idol was carved with special care as it attracts perople’s vision for few moments. Whoever the ancient artisan, he must have taken utmost care to carve it. It’s feast for the eye. The centre of the temple has lot of Linga(s) in addition to the Vishnu idol.
The temple is named after Goddess Tarini. She is the main deity worshipped out there.
While returning from the spot we met with the priest’s mother Cherumani Kuldip. She also described their legacy of worshiping at this place since last three generations. When we asked about the administration’s role for the development of this area, she expressed her anguish. Many of the local leaders promised development of the temple but none of them cared actually.
I am thinking about the future and worried about the deteriorating artifacts carved with devotion, may be few centuries ago. They are under open sky and exposed to all weather conditions. But how much our administration is caring about these ancient sculptures. We can add glory to this complex by constructing a grand temple there with paved roads up to it. Preservation of such works of art must be done soon by the government prior to complete wear and erosion. The public representatives must care about this captivating place. Returned from there remembering the whole scenario. Kutunipadar is really a great place to visit once in a lifetime.
The author can be reached at his twitter handle – @odiapuo