MADHUKESVARA TEMPLE

Prachi river valley in Odisha is known for its rich confluence of religions & heritage monuments, and among it, there’s a lesser known & lesser visited ancient temple by the name Madhukesvara.

Madhukesvara is located on the banks of Kusabhadra river (a distributary of Mahanadi like Prachi) at Deulidharpur in Banamalipur block (22 km from Bhubaneswar). It’s a 15.8 m Shiva temple built in Kalingan style with a rekha vimana and a pidha jagamohan. The important features of this temple is the torana (arch) which has resemblance with Mukteswar temple’s torana in Bhubaneswar. The stone inscription in proto Odia language, inside the temple mentions about Gajapati dynasty, but it seems like built during Somavamsi rule (as per the brick sizes used) & later renovated by Gajapatis in 15th century.

It’s a living temple built in pancharatha plan facing east with a Shivalinga . On the outer side, there’s not much images beyond parsvadevtas. The building technique used is aslar dry masonry with sand stone & bricks. Since it stands in isolation & located between a river & a canal (Gop canal), there is water logging issue during the monsoon. The common festival & rituals carried in the temples includes Mahashivratri, Makar Sankranti, Bada Osha etc. There’s one more heritage temple nearby on the other side of the Gop canal, with the named Bodhakesvara, which is locally referred as the elder brother of Madhukesvara.

Madhukesvara is without any basic facilities like public transport, toilet, & even without any provision shops nearby, hence visitors need to pre-make necessary arrangements on their own. The route : Bhubaneswar >>Uttara Square>>Balianta>>Balipatna>>Banamalipur market>>Deulidharpur>> Madhukesvara

Photo & Article: Taranisen Pattnaik

Bike trip to Northern Odisha- by XBHP , BBSR

XBHP-Team-at-Mitari

XBHP team undertook a road trip to Northern Odisha on 9th-10th September 2017. We covered Chakratirtha, Gadachandi, Salandi Dam, Emami Jagannath Temple at Balgopalpur, Chandipur, Panchalingeshwar ,Nilgiri & Mitari- the blue lake.

A-bikers-favourite-pic-the-Bike-and-the-Landscape

A-bikers-favourite-pic-the-Bike-and-the-Landscape

The places were breathtaking and the perennial stream near Gadachandi is a perfect place to take a refreshing bath and rejuvenate yourself for the onward journey. Our journey was a smooth one, save for the odd patch of bad roads especially between Salandi Dam ( also called Hadgarh Dam) to Bhadrak and the torrential rains.

Our first stop was Chakratirtha

Chakratirtha-Water-Fall

Chakratirtha-Water-Fall

Our second stop was at Gadachandi.

Gada-Chandi-Temple

Gada-Chandi-Temple

 

 

XBHP-Team-at-the-Gadachandi-Water-fall

XBHP-Team-at-the-Gadachandi-Water-fall

Small-Lake-on-the-way-back-from-Gadachandi

Small-Lake-on-the-way-back-from-Gadachandi

 

 

 

Our third stop for the day was at Salandi Dam also known as Hadagarh Dam.

Salandi-Dam

Salandi-Dam

Due to poor road condition we reached Bhadrak at 4pm, after a quick lunch we headed off to Emami Jagannath Temple, Balgopalpur before we retired for the day at Chandipur.

Next day we started for Panchalingeswar.Located near Chandipur its a revered Shiva Temple,located on a hill top the temple makes for a picturesque setting with a stream flowing through.

Panchalingeswar-Temple-Complex

Panchalingeswar-Temple-Complex

After Panchalingeswar we headed off for Nilgiri, According to data on web, the Nilgiri state was founded in 1125 by a mystical ancestor coming from the Chhota Nagpur region. In 1525 Raja Narayan Singh distinguished himself by his service to Emperor Akbar in the battles against Afghan invaders. Between 1611 and 1797 there were seven successive rulers. The rulers of Nilgiri State were Rajputs of the Bhanja dynasty. This Palace was built on 1898 .

Nilgiri-Palace

Nilgiri-Palace

There is a small tunnel located in the front yard of Palace. As the caretaker explained it is connected to the main gate of the Palace. There is a well inside the tunnel & its water is used for all temple rituals. In summer one can walk from one end to another but in rainy season as the water level rise up it is restricted from common people. As they don’t want people feet’s touching the water .

The-Tunnel-in-the-Nilgiri-Palace

The-Tunnel-in-the-Nilgiri-Palace

On the way back we stopped at Mitari the Blue Lake

Blue-Lake-at-Mitari

Blue-Lake-at-Mitari

On the way back , we experienced heavy rains which delayed us by a good couple of hours, we could reach Bhubaneswar at 8pm, exhausted but a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Our team for the Trip

The-XBHP-Team

The-XBHP-Team

Reach us at our facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/xBhpBBSR/

 

 

 

 

Sisupalgarh- The Lost City

Pillars-of-Sisulpalgarh

Sisupalgarh, the name itself means a lot. The remains of the ancient city Sisupalgarh has been discovered near Bhubaneswar, capital of the Odisha,India. And truly, I am fortunate enough to live in the city. I try to find various things regarding Sisupalgarh and to my surprise this monument or rather say city, is one of the most preserved city in the world. The excavations of Sisupalgarh took place in various phases. The first excavations at the site were carried out by Mr.B.B. Lal in 1948.On the basis of the architectural pattern and artefacts discovered during the excavations, Mr.B.B.Lal concluded that this fort city flourished between 3rd century BC and 4th century AD. An American-Indian team took up work in 2001. In 2005 ground penetrating radar revealed the probable position of the southern moat.On the basis of the new findings, Miss Monica L. Smith and Mr.R.K. Mohanty claim that the fortified city flourished from around 5th century BC and probably lasted well after the 4th century. Thus, this defensive settlement originated prior to the Mauryan empire.

Stone pillars of Sisupalgarh

Stone pillars of Sisupalgarh

The construction of Sisupalgarh was based on JalaDurga(Water Fort) concept, which in Odia is known as GadaKhai concept. Jala Durga is a type of durga or fort, which must be situated within water body, and its access is rendered difficult on account of the typical tract. It is divided into two categories, viz., the Anterdvipa (Island fort) and the Sthala Durga (Land fort). Antardvipa-Durga (island fortress) is surrounded by natural (sea or river) water bodies. Sthala-Durga (plain fortress)is surrounded by artificial moats or irrigated by a river. This may be assumed that Sisupalgarh was based on Sthala Durga concept, as we can also find remains of River Gandhawati, which is now famous as Gangua nala.

Present state of River Gandhawati

Present state of River Gandhawati

They also have a planned drainage system. It’s really surprising that when urbanisation and planning was not taken place in full fledged form, the planners of Sisupalgarh, develop such kind of design.

Remains of Drainage system of Sisulpalgarh

Remains of Drainage system of Sisulpalgarh

The pillars of Sisupalgarh really attracted lots of enthusiastic mind. But, what were the specific uses of these are still not clear. Some room type structures were discovered adjacent to those pillars, during the excavation.
Till now Eighteen stone pillars were excavated, and a lot is there to excavate. Kindly note the body of pillar is plain.While travelling into the city, I found a small settlement of some people. Near their settlement, a small pond is available.From this small pond, at that time, some antiquities were found but they were lost now. A special type of pillar were recovered from this pond by these persons and due to the typical structure of that pillar, they are worshiping it now, as a Shiva Linga.

Pillar worshipped as Shivling by Locals

Pillar worshipped as Shivling by Locals

Inside the city you will get another small pond. This pond is famous as RaniGadhua, or the pond where the Queen used to bath.This RaniGadhua is almost dried up now. The typical things I found there was a well and a boundary of a small tank. When you closely look at the boundary of that tank, you will observed the peculiar images of elephants, which were also found in lots of temples and other heritage places.
The steps that lead us to the RaniGadhua also have a small temple like structure. It may signify that, after bath, queen did some small puja remembering her IshtaDeva or IshtaDevi.

Elephant Carvings lead to the Rani Gadhu Pond at Sisupalgarh

Elephant Carvings lead to the Rani Gadhu Pond at Sisupalgarh

The other side wall also has structures similar to the old Kalingan Architecture. Various gates were also discovered during the excavations. It is known that this fortified city had eight numbers of gates. Two gates pierce each of the glacis of the quadrangular plan. A glacis is an artificial slope as part of a castle or fortresses. Sisupalgarh’s defenses are the highest known of this period in India. The ancient settlement probably was not dense, but rather there was room inside the fortress to graze.

The Steps to the gate of the Sisupalgarh fort

The Steps to the gate of the Sisupalgarh fort

The population of the city could have amounted to 20,000 to 25,000. Archaeologists have employed geophysical survey, systematic surface collections and selected excavations in the 4.8 km perimeter of the fortified area and studied individual houses and civic as well as domestic architecture to arrive at the figure. The significance of the population is clear when one bears in mind that the population of classical Athens was 10,000. However the historians also claim that it is too early to comment on the population of the city as yet only a part of the city has been excavated.

Remains of Drainage system of Sisulpalgarh

Remains of Drainage system of Sisulpalgarh

Now a day, due to the negligence of state government, ASI and Odisha tourism this world known heritage city is under the threat of Land Mafia. According to a survey by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1947–48, the area was spread over 562.68 acres of land, but today only 0.77 acres of this entire land remain under the ASI’s control. More than 1,000 buildings are constructed inside the fort area, violating norms of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010. This clearly shows that there has been no action taken by the state and ASI authorities to stop the illegal activities.

A water tank amidst the ruins of Sisulpalgarh

A water tank amidst the ruins of Sisulpalgarh

Illegal encroachments can be seen by land mafias in the area. Since 2002, yearly satellite images document the illegal house building especially in the north-western quarter which increased in tempo since 2010. Encroachment starts with the staking out of lots. Gradually, building materials is piled up. Foundation walls are laid. Then suddenly the house is erected as soon as possible before the officials can react. Since 2010 the developers have begun to build into the southern city wall and the officials seem to do nothing to counter this.

Illegal encroachment at Sisupalgarh

Our historians identified Sisupalgarh with Toshali and Kalinga Nagara. Kalinga Nagara was the famous capital city of King Kharavela. The Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave) inscription of Udayagiri in Bhubaneswar points towards this fact.
I want to conclude with a famous quotation by German Professor Paul Yule of the University of Heidelberg “We have one Sisupalgarh in the entire world and we have to preserve it.” When German Professor Paul Yule can understand the importance of Sisupalgarh, I wonder why our own Government, ASI and Tourism department are not able to understand.
Please Save Sisupalgah…..

Post by Ashish Sarangi
His twitter handle – @ashishsarangi

Immemorial Memory; Kutunipadar

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.

Beautiful Landscape enroute to Kutunipadar

Beautiful Landscape enroute to Kutunipadar

Beautiful roads to Koraput

Beautiful roads to Koraput

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Google Map , Kutunipadar

Google Map , Kutunipadar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Shivling at Talachampi

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.

Tarini temple,Kutunipadar

Tarini temple,Kutunipadar

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.

Kutunipadar the place of a crore Shivlings

Kutunipadar the place of a crore Shivlings

Shivlings at Kutunipadar

Shivlings at Kutunipadar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

Kutunipadar Idols

Kutunipadar Idols

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.

Lord Vishnu in Ananta Shayan Mudra

Lord Vishnu in Ananta Shayan Mudra

 

Maa Tarini, the presiding deity of Kutunipadar Tarini Temple

Maa Tarini, the presiding deity of Kutunipadar Tarini Temple

 

Cheramundi Kuldip, mother of head priest of Tarini Temple, Kutunipadar

Cheramundi Kuldip, mother of head priest of Tarini Temple, Kutunipadar

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

11 Things to do in Odisha

Here is my take on the most popular things to do in Odisha.

1.Marvel at the Exquisite Art and Architecture of the Udaygiri and Khandagiri Caves
The Udaygiri and Khandagiri caves are the landmark in Odisha. Situated in Bhubhaneshwar, these historic caves are ornately carved as to please the eyes of the onlookers. Udaygiri has a group of 15 caves while Khandagiri is an 18 caves complex. The caves are famed for its impeccable sculptures and reliefs and Brahmi inscriptions.

2.Lose Yourself to Divinity at Konark Sun Temple
This 13th century temple has been acclaimed worldwide for its beautiful architecture and intricate carvings. Dedicated to Sun God, most of the parts of this temple now lies in ruins but is still worth paying a visit. Boasting of Kalinga architecture and erotic sculptures of Maithunas this temple excites history buffs and someone who enjoys photography.

3.Take a Stroll Along the Shore of Peaceful Chandrabhaga Beach
At a short distance from Konark Sun Temple is the Chandrabhaga Beach. The beach has religious importance as a seven-day fair in honor of Sun God. Devotees from all parts of the country come here to take a dip during the fair. Apart from the fair, the beach is a lovely place to be at with family and friends. Witness beautiful sunset and take a stroll along the shore to best enjoy your time here.

4.Seek the Blessing from the God of Gods at Jagannath Temple
Now, Odisha has got its fame marked by this grand Hindu temple. One of the four holy places for Hindu devotees, Jagganath Temple needs no introduction. Although a non-Hindu is prohibited from entering the temple, it is a pure delight to get the merely get the view of this sacred place from outside as well.

5 Bird Watching at Chilika Lake
Chilika Lake is another important identity of Odisha. This brackish water lagoon extended in an area of 1100 sq km in Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts is probably the largest coastal lagoon in India. The lake is also an ecosystem with a giant fishery resource. One if lucky has the opportunity to spot dolphins here as well. Those who love birdwatching, Chilika Lake could be an ideal place to visit in Odisha. The place also makes an excellent backdrop for some gorgeous pictures.

6.Explore Rural Odisha at Raghurajpur
Raghurajpur is an ideal destination to learn about the rural life of Odisha. No where can you see such a fine assemblage of artwork. The village has an artistic environment that exhibits the diversity of Oriya culture. It is a good platform to get acquainted with the lives of rural people and their fine art culture called Pattachitra. Craft items like palm leaf inscriptions, stone and wood carvings, papier mache, sodhai work, mural painting, wooden and cow dung toys, filigree, applique, terracotta are all created and proudly displayed here.

7.Shop for Oriya Craft at Pipli
Famed for appliqué work, Pipli in Odisha opens its doors for tourists to observe the creative side of Oriya people. The craft involves stitching and embroidering small pieces of colored cloth with flowers, animals, village scene and traditional designs on to a larger base cloth. At Pipli you can shop for decorative Garden Umbrellas, Wallets, Wall Hanging, lampshades, Pouches and Bags.

8.Watch the Sun Go Down in Chandipur Beach
Set at the coast of Bay of Bengal, Chandipur Beach in Odisha is known for its 1 to 4km high rising tides. The beach is situated about 16kms from Baleswar Railway Station in Balasore district. Apart from its amazing high tide rise, Chandipur beach is known for its beautiful sunset view. A pristine beach, it makes an ideal picnic spot and a romantic getaway for many.

9.Marvel at the Diverse Wildlife of Simlipal National Park
Simlipal National Park reflects the rich diversity of wildlife in Odisha. Situated at in the Mayurbhanj district, Simlipal is a popular elephant reserve. The national park also houses some very pretty waterfalls like Barehipani and Joranda. An enthralling place, Simlipal can be enjoyed by both adults and children. Like Nandankanan Zoological Park, this place also helps in understanding the importance of wildlife conservation.

10.Explore the Tribal Villages to Witness the Backbone of Culture of Odisha
Odisha is the home of many tribes who are farmers and food gatherers. These tribes despite their poverty have a rich culture and traditions that include highly developed artistic skills like body painting, ornaments making, weaving and wall paintings. Music and dance also are an important part of these tribes who rejoice at little happiness they can find. To learn about real Odisha, it is advisable to take a tribal tour. Bondo, Didayi, Barogadaba, Kondhs and Dongarias are some of known tribes in Odisha.

11.Meet the King Crocodiles of Bhitar Kanika Wetland
A paradise for nature lovers, Bhitar Kanika Wetland is a major attraction in Odisha. The mangroves extend to an area of about 650 sq km river delta of the Brahmani and Baitarani rivers. Home to 55 mangrove species, the mangroves harbor a large population of saltwater crocodiles. The beach called Gahirmatha that separates Bay of Bengal from the mangroves is the nesting hub for Oliver Ridley Turtles in India. There is nothing so enthralling than to take a boat ride amongst the intricate mangroves and sight wildlife.