The triple headed mountain at a height of 4900 ft is Odisha’s second highest peak. Located 71KM from Taptapani keep going along NH 326 from Mahendragadh along the Parlakhemundi Mohana road to reach the foot hills of Mahendragiri.
The mesmerising mountain is associated with many a mythological legend. Couple of them is:- It’s said the Lord Parashuram used to meditate in the mountains of Mahendragiri and received his weapon- the double axe from Lord Shiva, since he along with Lord Hanuman are considered immortals in the annals of Hindu mythology, it’s said that he still resides in this mountains. The temple of Parashuram is located on the foothills at Tumba Village.
The second legend associated with the mountains is associated with the Mahabharata. It’s said that during "Agyatvas" - (remain in exile while concealing one’s identity) - the Pandavas along with their mother Kunti made the mountains their home.
Legend aside, the temples named after the Pandavas & their mother Kunti are perhaps the oldest surviving temples of Kalinga School of Architecture. They were built at a time when Kalingan Architecture was at a very nascent stage and didn't have the distinctive style as we know now. The Kalinga School of temple architecture at that time resembled more of the Nagara School of Architecture (temple architecture of Northern India). The five temples at the top of the mountains add to this legend and also lend character to the hill top.
The base of the mountain is Burakhat – the climb to the mountain starts from here. It’s serious off roading for 5 KM. At Burakhat, one can park their vehicles here and either trek to the top or hire one of the two vehicles available to ferry tourists to the hill top.
Contact info of the Vehicle Owner
Name – Mr. Krushna (M)- +91-9439357314 The vehicle is a 4*4 wheel drive Charge's: Rs.2000/day
Even if you own a 4*4 wheel drive vehicle, you are advised to not take undue risks as there are bends which are very steep and inexperience on such roads can prove costly.
The hill top is dotted with a couple of ashrams. The one near Kunti temple – run by Shri Bhaskar Baba- offers meals to tourists who venture to the top of the hill. Thing is you have to put in a word beforehand. The locals at the base can be contacted for the same.
Baba doesn’t charge anything for the meals served. If you intend to have lunch at the hill top offering mesmerising view- it’s strongly recommended that you take the supplies with you. It can be purchased at Burakhat and one of the locals can be enlisted to ferry it on top of the hill for a fee of Rs.150 or so. People of all religion, caste and creed are welcome to stay and eat at the ashram.
One can even opt for a night’s stay at the ashram- the ashram can accommodate 20 people, if you are prepared to sleep on the floor. The ashram provides blankets but it’s advisable to carry your own if you can.
There are no toilets and bathrooms. There are wells which are huge and may be 500 years old fitted with hand pumps- which are used for bathing and drinking purpose. To answer the nature’s call it’s all out in the open. So bear this in mind before planning an overnight stay at Mahendragiri.
One can carry your own tent and pitch it at the ashram premises.
Gandahati Water Fall- located 30KM from Parlakhemundi enroute to Mahendragiri is the picturesque water fall. Surrounded by dense forests and mountains, elephant sightings are frequent here. The pachyderms come to quench their thirst and take a shower at the water fall. The small temple and lots of birds chirping away add to the magic of the place. It’s a nice stop over to relax and carry the onward journey to Mahendragiri.