Located in Brahmagiri, The Alarnath Temple is a revered shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu or Lord Alaranth as he is known locally. According to the legend Lord Alarnath is the form of Vishnu- carved out of black stone-as prescribed by the Lord himself to Brahma. It is believed that those who cannot worship Lord Jagannath during his stay in the sick chamber can get the blessings of the deity if they visit the Alarnath temple. This particular legend has its root to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Chaitanya claimed that he visualised the appearance of Lord Jagannath in Lord Alarnath and spent a long period worshiping the deity here. The rock at the Chaitanya temple is believed to have been the place where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat and prayed to Lord, on visualising Lord Jagannath in Lord Alarnath, overcome with joy, emotion and gratitude, Chaitanya laid down in reverence before the lord. The indents in the rock are believed to have been formed from the body heat generated by Chaitanya.
Legend has it that Lord Vishnu was so enamoured by the aroma emanating from the hot kheer served to him that he consumed it without letting it cool down, hence got a blackened face as is depicted in the idol. The priest’s cover the face with sandalwood which acts as soothing balm and also covers up the face.
The present temple is a 14th century shrine attributed to Rajputs from Alwar. The Rajputs settled in Western Odisha between 1300 AD & 1400 AD . The name Alarnath is derived from Alwarnath.
While visiting the Lord Alarnath Temple – try the kheer. It is served as an offering to the lord- it’s just tastes something special.
The temple has been covered with mortar to preserve it and one cannot see much of the original carvings save for some portion of the foundation and blocks of the lintel and the navagrahas- out of the nine, seven are visible in the block , that have fallen off the old structure and preserved.
The idol of Goddess Lakshmi at the Lakshmi Temple is beautiful and is a treat for the eyes.
Brahmagiri doesnt have restaurants, one will be better off to carry packed lunch unless you want to taste the prasad served at the temple for lunch.
The temple priests can be a bit persuasive and even in your face, be forceful when you deal with them.