About the Temple
Dedicated to Goddess Kali, this temple set amidst an island inside the Chilika lagoon. The pristine backdrop of the Chilika lagoon and the hills of Eastern Ghats makes Kalijai one of the most popular destination in Odisha. It is also a revered place of worship and witnesses many devotees especially from the nearby areas almost everyday.
Legend of Kalijai
The temple is a classic case where the legend engulfs the history. The beautiful setting of the temple was the source of inspiration for one of the most prominent Odia literary works, Pt Godabarish Misra’s epic poem “Kalijai”. Pt. Mishra’s eloquent illustration of a newly married girl named “Jaai” who was going with her father to her in-laws place at the island of Parikud came across a violent storm. The boat which was carrying her and her father, capsized- Jaai drowned but not before her prayers to Goddess Kali were answered in the form of saving everyone else in the boat except her. Recognising the young girls sacrifice, the villagers built a temple dedicated to goddess Kali, where she is known by the name of Kalijai, in her memory of Jaai.
The poet’s imagination, the poignant pathos and the richness of the verses soon caught the imagination of the people so much so, that it has become the very identity of the temple today.
History of Kalijai
Legend aside, the history of Kalijai Temple is equally interesting albeit little known. The book “History of Parikud” published in 1930 by historian Radha Charan Panda states that the temple was built by King Jagannath Mansingh the king of Bankad in the year 1717.
In the year 1779, King Harisevak Mansingh took refuge in Parikud after being defeated by the King of Khurda. After a lull, Harisevak Mansingh’s son – the crowned King of Bankadgarh Bhagirathi Mansingh was also attacked by the Khurda Army.
Facing eminent defeat the king visited the temple and surrendered himself to Goddess Kali and asked for her protection. As the winter was setting in, a huge flock of flamingo’s arrived at the lake and the army of King of Khurda mistook them for huge battalion of army assembled by the King Bhagirathi Mansingh and retreated.The locals opined that the goddess made the King victorious (Jai) hence she was named as Kalijai.
Makara Sankranti – is observed with great aplomb at the temple.