Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Odisha (Orissa) State -9

Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Odisha (Orissa) State

Kedareswar Temple, Odisha

Kedareswar Temple, one of the eight Astasambhu Temples, is near the Mukteswar Temple, in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. The presiding deity is Lord Shiva, referred to locally by the name ‘Kedareshwar’. It is in the precinct of Kedara-Gouri on the right side of the road leading to Puri from Bhubaneswar and at a distance of 40 metres south of Muktesvara. It is one of the ten monuments within the precinct. It is the main temple of the complex. The temple is facing south and the enshrined deity is a circular yonipitha made of sandstone. The linga at the centre is missing. The sanctum is 2.5 square meters which is 0.8 meters below the present ground. It stands near the yard of the Mukteswar Temple.


There lived a couple named Kedar (male) and Gouri (female). They loved each other and decided to marry. The society was against the union, so it led them to flee from village. During the journey Gouri felt hungry, so Kedar went for food and was killed by a tiger. Later Gouri hearing this at this place jumped into the pond. The king of Utkal, Lalatendu Keshari, knowing this raised a temple named Kedareshawr or Kedargouri Temple. Still lovers come here to pray for a happy wedlock without any obstacles. The pond here is said to have some medicinal property.


The temple is surrounded by Dutiya Kedaresvara on its west at a distance of 500 meters, Kedara kunda on its east at a distance of 0.50 meters, Gouri temple on its southern at a distance of 6.00 meters and compound wall on its northern side at a distance of 20.00 metres.


 Harishankar Temple, Odisha

Sri Sri Harisankar Devasthana, in India, is on the slopes of the beautiful Gandhamardhan hills, Orissa. It is popular for its scenes of nature and presence of two Hindu lords, Vishnu and Shiva. As a holy place, along with a beautiful stream passing on the granite bed, it has given some visitors a feeling of peace. On the opposite of side of the Gandhamardhan hills is the temple of Nrusinghanath. The plateau between the two temples has been found to have ancient Buddhist ruins, which are considered to be remnants of the ancient Parimalgiri University.


The deity of Harisankar was discovered by a Chauhan dynasty king of Western Orissa, during the 14th century. From that time, the deity has been worshipped. A dancing Ganesha image has been found, which can be traced to the early 12th century. The temple was constructed by the order of then queen Durlabha Devi of Maharaja Vaijjal Dev Chauhan.



It is located in the district of Balangir, Orissa. The nearest railway station is at Khariar Road.



Puphagiri, Odisha


Puphagiri (Also Puspagiri Mahavihara) was one of the earliest buddhist mahavihara spread across Cuttack and Jajpur district, Orissa (ancient Kalinga) in 3rd century AD  and flourished until the 11th century in India.  Today, its ruins lie atop the Langudi hills, low hills about 90 km from the Mahanadi delta, in the Jajpur and Cuttack district in Orissa.  The actual mahavihara campus, spread across three hilltops, contained several stupas, monasteries, temples, and sculptures in the architectural style of the Gupta period. The Kelua river, a tributary of the Brahmani river of Orissa flows to the north east of Langudi hills, and must have provided a picturesque background for the mahavihara. The entire mahavihara is distributed across three campuses on top of the three adjoining hills, Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, and Udayagiri.

Puphagiri ranks along with Nalanda, Vikramshila and Takshila universities as one of the primary institutions of higher learning in ancient India. The three universities were mentioned in the travelogues of the famous Chinese traveller Xuanzang (Huien Tsang), who visited it in 639 CE, as Puphagiri Mahavihara,  as well as in medieval Tibetan texts. However, unlike Takshila and Nalanda, the ruins of Puphagiri university were not discovered until 1995, when a lecturer from a local college first stumbled upon the site.  The task of excavating Puphagiri's ruins, stretching over 143 acres (0.58 km2) of land, was undertaken by the Orissa Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies between 1996 and 2006. It is now being carried out by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).  The Nagarjunakonda inscriptions also mention about this learning center


ASI has launched a major conservation effort, and as of 2007, in the process of acquiring more land in the university's vicinity.[citation needed] Once fully unearthed, the site is expected to become a significant international tourist destination in India.[13] The state government has initiated an annual Buddha Mahotsava at the site.
There are other Buddhist attractions around Langudi hills, the site of Puphagiri. Kaima hill in its immediate vicinity contains a unique rock-cut elephant surrounded by four monolithic khondalite pillars, and dates back to the Mauryan period in the 3rd century, B.C. Deuli, a hill situated in the confluence of the Brahmani and Kimiria rivers, has preserved five rock-cut Buddhist chambers inside caves. Some more Buddhist sites have also been discovered at Bajragiri, Sarapur and Paikrapur. The Langudi sites are perhaps the largest historic Buddhist complex in India.
Langudi can be approached from Jaraka and Chandikhol on the National Highway 5, and are easily accessible from the urban centres of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. The best months to visit the place would be during October and February


As of 2007, the ruins of this Mahavihara have not been fully excavated yet. Consequently, much of the Mahavihara's history remains unknown. Of the three Mahavihara campuses, Lalitgiri in the district of Cuttack is the oldest. Iconographic analysis indicates that Lalitgiri had already been established during the Sunga period of the 2nd century BC, making it one of the oldest Buddhist establishments in the world


Asokan statues

The recent discovery of a few images of the emperor Ashoka are a major find Based on this find, it has been suggested that the Puphagiri Mahavihara may have been commissioned originally by Asoka himself



Dhauli, Odisha

Dhauli   hills are located on the banks of the river Daya, 8 km south of Bhubaneswar in Orissa (India). It is a hill with vast open space adjoining it, and has major Edicts of Ashoka engraved on a mass of rock, by the side of the road leading to the summit of the hill. Dhauli hill is presumed to be the area where Kalinga War was fought.
The Rock Edicts found here include Nos. I-X, XIV and two separate Kalinga Edicts. In Kalinga Edict VI, he expresses his concern for the "welfare of the whole world". The rock-cut elephant above the Edicts is the earliest Buddhist sculpture of Orissa. The stone elephant shows the animal's foreparts only, though it has a fine sense of form and movement. It has another significance, which is related to earth in form of an elephant, and to that extent, elephant probably represented the Buddha to devotees.
Ashoka had a special weakness for Dhauli, where the battle was fought. The Daya river is said to have turned red with the blood of the many deceased after the battle, and enabled Ashoka to realize the magnitude of horror associated with war. He saw to it that Dhauli became an important centre of Buddhist activities. He built several chaityas, stupas and pillars there. He got abodes excavated for the recluse, instructions inscribed for officials, expounded the main principles of dandaniti for the public, provided special status to his new kingdom including the stupas at Dhauli.
On the top of the hill, a dazzling white peace pagoda has been built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in the 1970s.
The nearby region also houses Ashokan edicts and possibly a Stupa at Bhaskareshwar temple at Tankapani road as argued by scholars. The Dhauligiri hills also has an ancient Shiva temple which is the place for mass gathering during Shiva Ratri Celebrations


Khirachora Gopinatha Temple, Remuna, Odisha

Khirachora Gopinatha Temple   is in Remuna. It is a little town 9 km east of Balasore, about halfway between Howrah and Bhubaneswar in Odisha . The name "Remuna" is from the word "Ramaniya" which means very good-looking.



Lord Gopinatha, flanked by Sri Govinda and Sri Madana Mohana, is made of black stone. Sri Gopinatha stands in bas-relief. Govinda and Madan Mohan, who were brought from Vrindavana in about 1938 by a devotee named "Chaitanya Dasa Babaji", are standing freely. It is said that Sri Rama carved Gopinath with His arrow and that Sita worshiped this deity in Chitrakuta. During vanvas to show the next avatar vigraha to Sita. King Langula Narasingha Deba, the king of Utkal, brought this deity to Remuna in the 13th century from Chitrakuta. This king arranged to have dug the two big tanks, Brajapokhari and Kutapokhari.


Over 500 years ago Madhavendra Puri was going to Puri to get some sandalwood for his Sri Gopal deity in Vrindavana. When he stopped at Remuna and saw Sri Gopinath, his heart was filled with devotion and joy. When he saw the delicious khira (stuffed milk) offered to the deity, he desired to taste some so he could offer the same preparation to Sri Gopala. Madhavendra Puri would only accept food that was spontaneously offered to him, and he seldom asked anything. Because he was not offered any of the khira he left the temple without tasting it.
After finishing the worship to Gopinath the Pujari rested. In a dream Gopinath told him to get up and take the pot of khira that he had hidden under his garments and to give it to Madhavendra Puri. The Pujari got up, found the sweet, and brought it to Madhavendra Puri. The Pujari told him For you Sri Gopinath has stolen khira. There is no other fortunate man like you. This is how the deity got the name "Khira Chora Gopinatha". 'Khira' means milk, and 'Chora' means thief.


One can get delicious khira here called as Amruta Keli. The Gopinatha khira is a preparation of homemade condensed milk, sugar, and cream, with a sprinkling of raisins. It comes in pots, which are personally tasted by Lord Gopinatha.


Pilgrims from all over India visit all around the year. Local residents visit on every occasion and festivals. Western ISKCON devotees are often visit the temple.


Transport to Balasore

Balasore is a strategically located city   about 194 kilometres (121 mi) north of the state capital Bhubaneswar.


Temples in Junagarh, Kalahandi, Odisha

Junagarh is a town and a notified area committee in Kalahandi district in the Indian state of Orissa. It was the capital of the former state of Kalahandi. Junagarh is 26 km from Bhawanipatna, connecting National Highway 201.This highway recently has been termed as National Highway 26.

The Temples

  • Lankeswari Temple
  • Shiva Temple
  • Dadhi baman Temple
  • Jagannath Temple
  • Trinath Temple
  • Sai Temple
  • Gayatri Temple
  • Kanak Durga Temple
  • Poda Mahadev Temple
  • Sriram Temple
  • Sani dev Temple


Maa Lankeshwari is the principal deity of the Naga clan at Junagarh. The deity is still revered by the king and his descendants. The descendants of the king perform puja in the temple of Lankeshwari on the auspicious day of Mulashtami as KHANDABASA
‘Khandabasa’ festival was observed at Goddess Lankeswari temple at Junagarh with the congregation of a large numbers of devotees.After performing the traditional rituals, the swords of Goddess Lankeswari and Bhairav were placed on the two sides of the Goddess Lankeswari altar by a representative of the royal family in standing position over a heap of rice.Goddess Lankeswari is treated as a war Goddess as thus the significance of the practice of ‘Khandabasa’. Tradition has it that during the rule of Chindakanaga, Ganga, Kalachuri and Naga dynasties the traditional sword of Goddess Lankeswari was worshipped to seek her blessings before going to a war.
Durga Puja and gajalaxmi puja are also important festival. Various pandals are constructed throughout the town.


Leaning Temple of Huma, Odisha

The Leaning Temple of Huma is the only leaning temple in the world and the only one of its kind in India.  It is located in Huma, a village situated on the bank of the Mahanadi, 23 km south of Sambalpur in the Indian state of Orissa. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
Nobody knows whether this structure is leaning by design or by default. One interesting fact is that while the edifice leans, the pinnacle of the temple is perpendicular to the ground.


Apart from the main temple the Bhairavi Devi temple is situated to the left of the main temple and Bhairo temple is situated to the right of the main temple.According to historical records Ganga Vamsi Emperor Anangabhima Deva-III built this temple.Temple was rebuilt or renovated by King Baliar Singh (1660-1690 A.D.), the fifth Chauhan king of Sambalpur. The rest of the temples were built during the rule of King Ajit Singh (1766-1788 A.D.) of Sambalpur.
The temple is positioned on the rocky cradle just on the bank of the river Mahanadi. The basis of leaning cannot be assumed to be the technical flaws at the time of construction. It is also not easily acceptable that weak foundation might have caused leaning attitude of the temple. In fact, construction of temple is quite favourite of Chauhan Kings as well known to us from innumerable temples built during their reigns. They had already established themselves as good builders. Again, the temple is not an enormous structure. There might have been interior displacement of the rocky bed on which it stands, either due to flood current in the river Mahanadi or earthquake, thus affecting the straight posture of the original temple.
In other words, the plinth of the temple has deviated slightly from its original arrangement and as a result, the body of the temple has tilted. there is no denying the fact that this has fascinated the attention of historians, sculptures and other researchers. The surprising thing is, the main temple is tilted to one direction and other small temples are tilted to some other directions. Within the temple complex i.e. within the boundaries of temple, everything found to be in tilted condition including the boundaries and the angle of inclination is not changed since last 40/50 years as said by the villagers and priests. The reason of the tilt can be due to some geological reason, may be the earth crust is uneven in structure. The angle of inclination is yet to be measured.


The worship of Shiva is said to have been initiated by a milkman, who daily crossed the Mahanadi to a place on the bank where the underlying rock cropped out. Here he daily offered his dole of milk, which was at once consumed by the rock, and this miraculous circumstance led to enquiries, which ended in the construction of the present temple.[3]

Annual fair

An annual fair takes place at the foothill of the temple in March every year on the occasion of Shivratri, which is a typical village fair with its unforgettable golden chasm. There is a special type of fish found here known as 'Kudo' fish. They are so tame that they will eat foods from the hands of those who are on the banks.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Odisha

'Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves  are partly natural and partly artificial caves of archaeological, historical and religious importance near the city of Bhubaneswar in Orissa, India. The caves are situated on two adjacent hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri, mentioned as Kumari Parvat in the Hathigumpha inscription. They have a number of finely and ornately carved caves. It is believed that most of these caves were carved out as residential blocks for Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Udayagiri means "Sunrise Hill" and has 18 caves while Khandagiri has 15 caves.
The caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri, called lena or lea in the inscriptions, were dug out mostly during the reign of Kharavela for the abode of Jaina ascetics. The most important of this group is Ranigumpha in Udayagiri which is a double storeyed monastery

Count of the caves

B.M. Barua, basing on a reading of line 14 of the Hathigumpha inscription declared that altogether one hundred and seventeen caves were caused to be excavated by Kharavela and others on the Kumari hill (Udayagiri). Marshall has counted more than 35 caves in both the hills, while M.M. Ganguli has enumerated only twenty seven caves.
The number of existing caves may be counted at Udayagiri as eighteen, while Khandagiri present only fifteen excavation. The local names of the existing caves are present below and those are numbered according to the enumeration of the Archaeological Survey of India.

The famous caves

In Udayagiri, Hathigumpha (cave 14) and Ganeshagumpha (cave 10) are especially well known due to art treasures of their sculptures and reliefs as well as due to their historical importance. Rani ka Naur (Queen's Palace cave, cave 1) is also an extensively carved cave and elaborately embellished with sculptural friezes. Khandagiri offers a fine view back over Bhubaneswar from its summit. The Ananta cave (cave 3) depicts carved figures of women, elephants, athletes, and geese carrying flowers.

Inscriptions in Caves in Brahmi

Hathigumpha inscription

The Hathigumpha cave ("Elephant Cave") has Hathigumpha inscription, written by Raja Kharavela, the king of Kalinga in India, during the 2nd century BCE. Hathigumpha inscription consists of seventeen lines incised in deep cut Brahmi letters on the overhanging brow of a natural cavern Hathigumpha in the southern side of the Udayagiri hill. It faces straight towards the rock Edicts of Asoka at Dhauli situated at a distance of about six miles.

List of Caves at Udayagiri

1.   Ranigumpha
2.   Bajagharagumpha
3.   Chota Hathigumpha
4.   Alkapurigumpha
5.   Jaya-vijayagumpha
6.   Panasagumpha
7.   Thakuranigumpha
8.   Patalapurigumpha
9.   Mancapurigumpha
10.                     Ganesagumpha
11.                     Jambesvaragumpha
12.                     Vyaghragumpha
13.                     Sarpagumpha
14.                     Hathigumpha
15.                     Dhanagharagumpha
16.                     Haridasagumpha
17.                     Jagammathgumpha
18.                     Rosaigumpha

List of Caves at Khandagiri

1.   Tatowagumpha No.-1
2.   Tatowagumpha No.-2
3.   Anantagumpha
4.   Tentuligumpha
5.   Khandagirigumpha
6.   Dhyanagumpha
7.   Navamunigumpha
8.   Barabhujigumpha
9.   Trusulagumpha
10.                     Ambikagumpha
11.                     Lalatendukesarigumpha
12.                     Unnamed
13.                     Unnamed
14.                     Ekadasigumpha
15.                     Unnamed
The above nomenclature, however has no historical significances but accepted at present for the convenience of scholars and general readers. The art of Udayagiri and Khandagiri being almost contemporaneous with that of Sanchi, marks a striking resemblance with it but at he same time retains its own individuality and advance technique.


Panchalingeshwar, Odisha

Panchalingeshwar Temple   is in Balasore district of Orissa. It named after the five Shivalinga that are enshrined inside. The temple is on top of a hillock near the Nilagiri hill (not to be confused with that of Western Ghats).
The Shivalingas are said to have been enshrined by Sita, the wife of Lord Rama during their exile. Another story holds that King Banasura worshiped the Swayambhu Lingas at this place given its beauty. A perennial stream, which is the main attraction of the area, regularly washes the Shivalingas as it flows over them. To reach to the temple one has to lie flat on the rock parallel to the stream to touch and worship the lingas inside the water stream.


Panchalingeswar is 30 km from Balasore and 85 km from Baripada. There are regular transport facilities between Balasore and Baripada.


Nrusinghanath Temple, Odisha

Sri Nrusinghanath Temple is a temple situated in the slope of Gandhamardhan hills in the district of Baragarh, Orissa.


According to Huen Tsang, the Chinese traveler, this place was a centre of Buddhist scriptural learning. Lord Nrushinghanath is a much-adored deity of Orissa and a great fair is held in his honour on the 14th day of bright fortnight in the month of Vaisakha. According to Oriya and Devnagari inscriptions, the temple was built by Baijal Dev in early 15th century AD. The temple is constructed in Orissan style of architecture.


In recent year tourism has been developing in around Gandhamardhan hills. An annual big fair held on Nrusimha-chatrurdasi day during Vaishakha shukla chaturdashi(in May) attracts thousands of pilgrims from far and near. Nrusimhanath Temple is about 110 km west of Baragarh and 164 km from Sambalpur. Khariar Road Railway Station is the nearest railhead.


Maa Khichakeswari, Odisha

 Khiching is an ancient village in Mayurbhanj District of Orissa, India. It is abode of Maa Kichakeswari Devi.Here was built a fabulous temple from Black Stone.
Khiching is located about 50 km east of Keonjhargarh city and 27 km west of Karanjia. There are several villages in the vicinity, including Sukruli, Naupana, Kakharupana, Salabana, Viratagada, Kichakagada. Other nearby villages are Singida . The major festival in Khiching is Sivarathri, which is celebrated over seven days. The major tourist attraction of Khiching is the Temple Of Maa Kichakeswari. The temple was constructed during the year 920/925. Goddess Kichakeshwari, which was not only ishtadevata and kuladevi of Bhanj dynasty but also the State deity of Princely State of Mayurbhanj ruled by them. The temple suffered in the hand of Vandals. King of Mayurbhanj, Maharaja Pratap Chandra Bhanjdeo reconstructed the temple in the year 1934 spending an approximate amount of Rs.85,000.00. Height of the temple is 100 ft (30 m) and total area is 1764sq.ft. Main temple remains closed between 12 noon to 3 PM. There is a museum constructed by Maharaja Purna Chandra Bhanjdeo in the year 1922.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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