Khordha , once upon a time was the Kingdom of the Kalinga dynasty , is famous for its heroism , the Paika rebellion and the architectural beauty. The history of Khordha is linked with the history of Kalinga. Presently it is the headquarter of Khordha district , situated in 85 degree 37' 30" E and 19 degree 40' to 20 degree 25' N and 20 KM from the capital city of Bhubaneswar on the National Highway No 5. The District KHURDA came into being on 1 st April, 1993 by dividing it off its erstwhile Puri District which after division became Puri, Khurda and Nayagarh. Later on in the year 2000 the District name is changed as KHORDHA. It comprises of : ATRI Atri is a small village in Begunia police station situated in 20 degree 15'N and 85 degree 30'E. It is by road about 13 km. from Khurda and 2 km. from Baghamari which is motorable throughout the year. Amidst paddy fields a hot spring bubbles up from the ground and a strong odour of sulphur pervades the locality. The temperature of the spring water is about 55 degree celsius. The soil at the spring and for a considerable distance round it, is composed of alluvium, of marl and laterite. The water of the hot spring is collected in a reservoir which is provided with outlets to prevent stagnation. The circumference of the reservoir is 10 feet and the depth is 15 feet. The water is clear and stones lying at the bottom of the reservoir are visible when the sun's rays fall on the water. It has been calculated that per hour 375 cubic feet of water is flowing out of the reservoir. The temple of Hatakeswara (Siva) is situated near-by where Sivaratri and Makar Sankranti festivals are held and are attended by a large number of people. The Makar Sankranti festivals lasts for about a fortnight. On the Sankranti day nearly twenty thousand people congregrate at the mela. The festival is managed by a local committee. There is a belief that the spring has the miraculous power of removing the curse of barrenness from women. People throw into the reservoir coconuts, betel nuts, and other fruits and flowers as offering. Barren women come to the reservoir before dawn, at about 3.00 a.m., and search in the reservoir bed for fruits, nuts, etc. Whatever thing their hands could catch they eat with the belief that they would be blessed with child within a year. A bathing complex has been constructed by the Tourism Department. Population of the village in 1981 was 1038 persons.Balipatna
Balipatna is a village in the police station the same name and is 21 km. from Bhubaneswar by road. The place is connected by Uttara-Balakati-Nimapara road which is a branch road of the State Highway No.8. The place is famous for being the birth place of poet Ananta popularly known as Sisu Ananta, one of the Pancha Sakha poets of the 16th century A.D. At a little distance from Balipatna, there is a small village called Amankuda, a little away of which flows the Prachi river. An old image of twelve-armed Durga, called Barabhuji is worshiped here.Balugaon
Balugaon situated in 85 degree 13'E and 19 degree 45'N, is a small town bordering the Chilka lake. It lies on the National Highway No.5 and is served by a railway station of the South Eastern Railway. The town is gradually prospering because of its export trade in fish supplied by the Chilka lake. It is also a commercial centre with Banpur area as its hinder land. Ferry service is available from here to cross the Chilka and reach places like Garh Krushnaprasad in Parikud, Malud, etc. Close to the ferry route is Kalijai. It is situated on a small hill, half merged under the water. A temple was constructed on the top of the hill by the ex-Raja of Parikud, where goddess Kalijai is being worshipped. The goddess is highly revered by the local people, particularly by the fishing community, and big fairs on the occasion of the Makar Sankranti and the Raja Sankranti are held every year. About 5 km. from Balugaon is Barakul from where the scenic beauty of the Chilka can be better enjoyed. At Barakul there is an Inspection Bungalow of the Public Works Department on the bank of the lake.
Banamalipur, a village in Balipatna police station is situated on the bank of river Kushabhadra. It is an important trading centre in the area. A market sits here for two days a week, i.e., on Tuesday and Saturday. The main commodity for sale being pan or betel leaf. Pan is exported from here to different parts of Orissa as well as to some adjoining States. The village is not directly approachable by bus service as the river Kushabhadra is not bridged. Buses plying from Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri and other places stop on the other side of the river. At a distance of about one and half kilometres from Banamalipur the Siva temples of Beleswar and Tribeniswar are situated in the village Bhapur. Every year on the Magha Amabasya day a big fair called 'Tribeni Mela' is held here. On this day in the early morning thousands of people take their holy dip in the river 'Prachi' to wash off sins. The village Bhanragarh is situated on the Kushabhadra at a distance of about 3 km. from Banamalipur. Here, on the wall of the temple of Madhukeswar Siva there is an inscription written in old Oriya script.Banpur
Banpur is a town situated in 85 degree 10'E and 19 degree 47'N in the south-west of Khurda. It is 5 km. to the north-west of the Balugaon railway station with which it is connected by an all weather road. Buses and rickshaws ply from Balugaon to this place. The town consists of the revenue mauzas of Banpur, Bhagabatipur, Bispatna, Jagannathpur, Dasarathipur and Bodhapur. The town has derived its name from Banasura, a demon-king of legendry fame, who is said to have ruled over this place. A line of feudal lords, the ancestors of the Rajas of Parikud, were reigning from here till the 18th century when the Raja of Khurda drove them away to Parikud. The old fort of Banpur was destroyed under orders of the East India Company during its early years of occupation. The place is famous for the temple dedicated to goddess Bhagabati, the presiding deity of Banpur. It is one of the famous Shakti Pithas of Orissa. The temple stands on the edge of a deep pool within a high enclosure wall. The temple is managed by a committee appointed by the Commissioner of Endowments, Orissa. The Sebayats of the temple have been given landed property to perpetuate their service in the temple. There is a Siva temple at Banpur known as Daksheswar or Dakshya Prajapati temple situated at the entrance of the town. It is an old temple and contains fine specimens of Orissan architecture and sculpture. At a distance of about 14 km. to the west of Banpur the Salia Dam has been constructed amidst a picturesque site. The dam has been constructed at the catchment area connecting two hills on both the sides and serves as a minor irrigation project.Barunai Hill
Barunai is a small hill (304.8 metres high) situated in 85 degree 39'E and 20 degree 9'30" N, and is about one and half kilometres to the south of Khurda town. It is a saddle-backed hill, rising into bare and often inaccessible precipices. A large portion of the hill is covered by reserve forest where teak grows luxuriantly. The Bhoi Kings of Orissa made Khurda their capital during Muslim occupation. They lived in a fort that stood at the foot of the hill. The site was apparently selected because of its strategic position. It was protected on one side by the hill, which was easily defended and on the other side by dense, almost impenetrable jungle. In the time of Virakishore Deva(1736-1780) the fort was taken by the Maratha and in 1804, during the Khurda rebellion, it was carried by storm by the East India Company troops after a siege of three weeks. The fort is now in ruins, some traces of its walls and the ramparts still remaining. Some mounds mark the site of the Raja's palace. On the northern slope of the hill, at a height of about 45.72 metres (a hundred and fifty feet) above the plain, is the temple of Barunai, where a large fair is held for three or four days on the occasion of the Raja Sankranti festival in the month of June. Inside the small temple are placed two rude images of black stone, called goddesses Varunai and Karuani, sitting together. They are now worshiped as forms of goddess Durga, the Pujari being a Brahmin, but their origin might possibly be from the Vajrayana cult. A perennial spring flows down the hill by the side of the shrine. Thick mango groves on both the sides of the stone-steps leading up to the temple have added to the beauty of the place. The hill contains several caves of which the largest one is known as Pandavaguha, capable of accommodating one hundred persons. Rows of low rocky pallets line the floor, and it has obviously been the residence of Hindu ascetics. There are a few inscriptions of considerable age, e.g., that of Makaradhwaja Yogi, dated 900 of an unspecified era, another dated Samabt 780, and three others inscribed in old Kutila characters. There is a Rest house near the temple of Barunai with an accommodation for seven persons.Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar (20 degree 15'N latitude and 85 degree 50'E longitude) is the name which has been given to a area covering 91.9414 square kilometres. It covers 28 villages or rather mouzas which are revenue units. These mauzas are Purba Badagada, Paschima Badagada, Bhubaneswar, Kapileswar, Haripur Patna, Lakshmisagar, Lakshmisagarpatna, Bhimpur, Siripur, Rampur, Bomikhal, Govindaprasad, Kalaraput, Sudarpada, Kapilprasad, Pokhariput, Berna, Nayapalli, Barmunda, Jagamara, Jharapada, Charbatia, Nuagaon, Gada Gopinathprasad, Pandara, Garkan, Chandrasekharpur and Damana. The mauza Bhubaneswar (now commonly called Old town) has been known as such for many centuries and the place has evidently derived its name from its principal deity Tri-Bhubaneswar or Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar has two distinct divisions, viz., the Old Town and the New Capital. The Old Town is characterised by mixed land-use which is a usual phenomenon with all ancient towns and cities of India. It contains splendid specimens of Kalinga architecture spanning some twenty-five centuries of history, depicting the grace, the joy and the rhytm of life in all its wondrous variety. The New Capital, the foundation of which was laid in 1948, was started with a portion of a reserved forest as nucleus. It has now become a city which has been built expending crores of rupees. This part is a planned administrative town with broad avenues, self-contained residential units, modern buildings and institutions. Thus Bhubaneswar offers an opportunity to behold centuries-old art and architecture, side by side modern massive buildings and institutions. The Bhubaneswar is bounded on the north by the villages Patia, Rokat and Mancheswar; on the east by the villages Koradakanta, Keshura, Bankual, Basuaghai, Mahabhoi Sasan, and Raghunathpur; on the south by the villages Kukudaghai, Orakala, Ebaranga, and Bahadalpur; and on the west by the villages Jadupur, Begunia, Dumuduma, Jokalandi, Andharua and Jagannathprasad. Bhubaneswar is situated at an altitude of 45 metres (146 feet) above the sea-level. It has a bracing climate with a maximum and minimum temperature of 31.0 degree celcius and 16.0 degree celcius during winter, and 38.0 degree celcius and 27.0 degree celcius during summer respectively. The average rainfall in a year is 152.4 centimetres (60 inches). The period from October to April is considered to be the best season of the place. It enjoys the healthy climate of the forest country, the cooling sea breeze coming across the verdant delta area which is agriculturally rich. The city is connected by rail, road and airways. It is on the mail line of the South-Eastern Railway. The National Highway No. 5 runs through the city. An excellent air port with concrete runway has been constructed in the Bhimpur mauza on an area of 725 acres.Temples :
There are numerous temples in the Old Town built from the 6th century A.D. to the 15th century A.D. an account of which is given below according to their period of construction. Many of these are covered from top to bottom with exquisite relief carvings with delicate floral and geometric designs, figures of gods and godlings, nymphs and dryads of the woods, and couples in amorous embrace. The two temples, commonly known as Lakshmaneswara and atrughneswara, standing in a row (along with Bharateswara) opposite to the much later Rameswara temple by the side of the road leading to the Lingaraj temple have generally been regarded as the earliest temples. The period of the Satrughneswara and Lakshmaneswara temples is assigned to the close of the sixth century A.D. The Satrughneswara represents a sikhara temple. The sculptures of this temple are marked by the vigour and exuberance of the designs recalling the best characteristics of the post-Gupta art. The date of the arasurameswara temple has been assigned to 650 A.D. At Bhubaneswar there are at least two other temples, such as, the Bharateswara (opposite the Rameswar temple, standing alongwith the Satrughneswara and the Lakshmaneswara), and the Swarnajaleswara temple which can be recognised as close cognates of the Parasurameswara. The conservation work of the temple Swarnajaleswara has been undertaken by the Archaeology Department, Government of Orissa. The Parasurameswara temple, a small but lavishly decorated temple, embodying nearly all the characteristics peculiar thereto. Enclosed within a compound wall, the temple facing west, is a small compact shrine with squattish thick-set gandi, while the Jagamohan, instead of being stepped pyramid as in the typical Orissan temples, is a rectangular structure with a terraced roof. The next epoch (C.A.D. 700-900) produced a large number of temples at Bhubaneswar, of which ten or twelve are still in its original condition and the rest have perished leaving a number of detached sculptures. So far as architecture is concerned, these temples are characterised by the Pancha-Ratha plan unlike the Tri-Ratha plan of temples of the earlier group. The Jagamohans are of the same type with one door but no window and pillars inside. A Buddhist inspiration had influenced the iconography and execution of a few images which may be traced to the influence of the Bhaumas. The above characteristics are common to the Markandeswara, the Taleswara, the Vaital, the Sisireswara, the Mohini and the Uttareswara. The Vaital temple is remarkable for its uncommonly barrel shaped double-storied tower.
The Mukteswara is one of the most beautiful temples of India and has been described as a dream realised in sandstone. Elegantly decorated from top to bottom, it stands within a gracefully laid out low compound wall with a beautiful torana in front. Apart from its beautiful sculptures that eloquently speak of the sense of proportion and perspective of the sculptures and their extraordinary skill, the temple also reveals some notable features both in architecture and in the attributes of the cult images, which with some or no modification came to be the standard of all the other important temples that followed it. The builder of the Mukteswar borrowed certain features from the early architectural tradition but also introduced new architectural designs, new art motifs and new conceptions about the iconography of the cult images. The abrupt changes in the early forms of the cult images, in the architectural designs and even in the minute details of the sculptural representations indicate that the builder of the Mukteswara was the harbinger of a new culture. The date of the temple is assigned somewhere between the temples of Sisireswara (800 A.D.) and the Brahmeswara (1060 A.D.). There are two other temples at Bhubaneswar which may be regarded as close conteporaries of the Mukteswara. One of them is the Sureswara, a very small structure, which stands near the Kotitirtheswara temple in the close neighbourhood of the Swarnajaleswara, and the other is the Gauri temple situated in the compound of the Kedareswara. The superb temple of Rajarani bears certain architectural features rare in their occurrence in the other temples at Bhubaneswar. In spite of such features, which seem to lend it a somewhat exotic appearance, the temple has a distinct relation with the evolution of the Orissan temple form. The figures are so beautiful that stealing still goes on. About the time of the last Govinda Dwadashi a head was broken and stolen. During last few years another head has been stolen. The figure of a damsel playing with a bat and a ball had its head a few years ago. Now it is without one. All this is happening inspite of watchman being appointed. Its magnificent sculptures are unparallled in the history of plastic art in Orissa, and they are more akin to the Mukteswara, the Brhameswara and the Lingaraja, than to any other. Hence, it is apparent that its chronological position lies somewhere about the dates of these temples. Dr. Krushna Chandra Panigrahi has tried to show that the original name of the temple was Indreswara and that it was a Saiva shrine. Mano Mohan Ganguly has written that the present name Rajarani has been derived from a "very fine grained yellowish sandstone called Rajarania in common parlance" with which the entire edific has been built. The Chief Editor, Gazetteers, Orissa, has observed, "The name Rajarani may have come from the name of the stone or the name of the stone may have come from the name of the temple. A visit to the interior of the temple makes two points clear :
(a) There never was a deity in the temple
(b) When Rajarani was built multiple storeyed building and use of iron beams had come into vogue.
Jagamohan of Rajarani shows some numbers on the stones which probably meant that it has been rebuilt".
What strikes the visitor at the first sight is the cluster of minature rekhas around the gandi. The temple is noted for the well-preserved dik-palas, all on the corner projections of the lower jangha. Clad in diaphanous drapery they stand on lotuses, with their mounts below. The celebrity of the Rajarani temple is also to a large extent due to the tall and slender sophisticated nayikas carved in high relief and depicted in various roles and moods. The Dakra Bhimeswara temple that bears the feature of the Rajarani may also be assigned to this period. It stands on the left side of the road to Puri in the close neighbourhood of the eastern gate of Lingaraja compound. This monuments has projecting turrets in its sikhara in the same way as those of the Rajarani, and like the latter, a number of obscene figures also.
The next dated temple is the Brahmeswara, erected about 1060 A.D. by Kolavati Devi, mother of the Somavamsi king Uddyota Kesari in the eighteenth year of his reign. The Brahmeswara temple supplies some well-marked features and characteristics that became distinctive of the Orissan temple type in the
later ages. The Orissan temple form as one sees in the Brahmeswar, and so grandly exemplified in the majestic Lingaraja, is certainly the result of a long process of evolution through centuries. This is the second temple at Bhubaneswar with internal embellishments in the Jagamohan, the first being the Mukteswara.
The temple of Lingaraja is the most notable temple not only of Bhubaneswar, but also of Orissa; and according to expert opinions is also one of the best archaeological monuments of the East. Rising to a height of about 180 feet (54.8640 metres) and dominating the entire landscape within an area of about fifteen kilometres this great temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga type of architecture and the culminating result of the architectural activities at Bhubaneswar. It stands in the midst of a number of smaller temples within a spacious compound of laterite measuring 520 feet (158.4960 metres) in length and 465 feet (141.7320 metres) in breadth and having gates on the east, north and south. So much has been said about its architectural features that very little remains to be said. Prof. R.D.Banerji records from his personal observation that the sanctuary is a hollow pyramid composed of several superimposed chambers, the access to which is obtained by a staircase built through the thickness of the wall. Barring this peculiarity, the sanctuary is otherwise a Panch-Ratha deul having close architectural affinities with the Brahmeswara temple.
The Lingaraja temple is a combination of four structures, all in the same axial alignment, viz., deul, jagamohan, natamandira and bhogamandapa, the last two being subsequent additions. The bada of the sanctuary has five divisions. The pabhaga consists of five richly-carved mouldings. The corner and intermediary rathas of the lower jangha are relieved with khakhara mundis having the seated figures of eight dik-palas. The recesses between the rathas are filled in with varieties of gaja-vidalas and nara-vidalas. The bandhana is made of three finely-carved mouldings and the baranda of ten. In the recess are nayikas of enchanting grace and beauty in various actions. The carvings on the mundis and in mouldings, rich and minute as they are, do not overshadow the essential character of the figure themselves-a remark that as well applies to the entire temple itself. The grandeur of the temple chiefly lies in its towering gandi.
The effect of its great height is accentuated by the deeply incised curved vertical lines which sour upwards to its top. The number of bhumis in kanika-paga has been increased to ten, and the bhumi-amlas have assumed a new form, rounded at the corner and rectangular at the sides. The decoration of the raha above the projecting lion, rampart on an elephant, is a series of chaitya-windows in low relief. The ponderous amalaka is supported by dopichha lions at corners and four-armed seated figures, one each above the raha. The jagamohan is equally monumental and closely follows the deul in decorative details. The pidhas are arranged in two tiers, each crowned by a lion above a bho-motif. The vertical sides of all the nine pidhas of the lower tier are relieved with friezes consisting of processions of infantry, cavalry, elephants, etc. Both the Natamandira and the Bhogamandapa are open halls and the former has a flat roof. The images of Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Parvati appear respectively in the western, eastern and northern niches of the sanctuary. The life size images of the parswa debatas are all chlorite. The fine scroll work to decorate the garments of the deities and the magnificent backgrounds against which these deities appear, indicate a supreme artistic taste and the zenith of the decorative art of the period. The temple of Lingaraja was built in the 11th century A.D. The next dated temple is the Kedareswara. The inscription in the Kedareswara temple proves that it was built before 1142 A.D. Three other temples, which appear to be cognate members of this temple, are the Rameswara, the Alayukeswara and the Siddheswara. These temples represent a period when some of the most ancient shrines were renovated or reconstructed.
All these temples are of Pancha-Ratha type. A study of the western side of Siddheswara clearly shows that the stones were of an older temple, otherwise a piece which obviously meant to be placed horizontally could not have been placed vertically. This probably was not an accident, but purposely done to indicate that it was not the original temple, but rebuilt from the stones of a former temple. Here also many stones have numbers engraved on them to show that it was a rebuilt temple.
The Megheswara (1195 A.D.) and the Ananta Basudeva (1278 A.D.) temples were built definitely during the Ganga period. The Megheswara, the earliest of the Ganga temples at Bhubaneswar, shows the beginning of a Sapta-Ratha plan, and as time passed on, it came to be the established rule with the Ganga monuments. The accumulated experiences of the past in the temple building were utilised to build strong and compact edifices skilfully. During this period, in all the important structures, the frontal adjunct consisted of three chambers known as the Jagamohan (audience hall), the Natamandira (dancing hall) and the Bhogamandapa (offering hall). The iron beams which began to be used in the preceding period, now came to be used regularly, because of the increase of projection and their further subdivisions.
Another new feature introduced was the Bahana-Stambha set up in front of the shrines. The other important monuments belonging to this period are the Bhaskareswara, the Yameswara, the Mitreswara, the Varuneswara, the Chitreswara, the Sari temple, the temple of Parvati inside the Lingaraja temple and the Vakeswara. The Vakeswara is important in having a Naba-Ratha plan, the only monument of this plan at Bhubaneswar. Besides the temples mentioned above, the Ganga peirod also witnessed the construction of a large number of smaller temples, such as Someswara, Gosahasreswara, Bhavanisankar and several unnamed ones. In the compound of the Lingaraja temple alone there are about a dozen temples which bear some of the Ganga characteristics.
After the Gangas, the glorious period of temple-building activities in Orissa was over. But the spirit lingered on during the Suryavamsi supremacy which also witnessed the erection of some notable temples in Orissa. The temple of Kapileswara appears to be the last notable monument to be built at Bhubaneswar. It is situated on the bank of the Gangua about 1.6 km. to the south of the Lingaraja temple.
It has a three-chambered frontal complex, but the late date of the temple is more evident from its cult images.
Religious shrines in the New Capital area :
In the New Capital area several miniature temples have been constructed at different places. These temples, excepting the Chintamaniswara, Bhuasuni and Budheswari have been constructed during the last forty years.
Among these temples there are several Saiva, Sakta and Vaishnava temples built in stone or brick in Orissan style with cement plasters on it. Most of these temples are devoid of architectural skill, designs and decoratives. They are mainly constructed to meet the social and religious needs of the people, such as, daily worship, marriage ceremony, sacred thread ceremony, Janmastami, Sabitri Brata, Siva Ratri, Dola Jatra, etc. All these temples are built through public charity and donations.
Among these temples mention may be made of
the Jagannath temple in Unit VII;
the Radha-Krushna temple in Unit-IX;
the Sri Rama temple in Kharavela Nagar;
the Jhadeswari temple in Siripur;
the Bana Durga temple in Ganga Nagar;
the Chintamanishwara temple and
the Budheswari temple in the Old Station Bazar;
the Bhuasuni temple near Santarapur Bazar;
the Raghunath temple in Kesari Nagar and
the shrine of Jagneswara and the Sivananda Prayer Hall in Asoka Nagar.
Besides these Hindu religious shrines, there is one mosque, two churches, one Guru Dwara, one Buddha Vihar and one Jaina temple in the New Capital area.
The mosque was constructed in 1959 in Bhauma Nagar on the western side of the Sachivalaya Marga. The Sunni Muslims usually congregate here for general prayer on every Friday and their festival days. There is a Madrasa attached to the mosque.
The foundation stone of the Protestant church, called the Union Church, was laid on the 17th December,1960. It is located in Bhauma Nagar near the mosque. In this church all the Christians of Protestants denominations can be members. On every Sunday and ecclesiastical days people of the Christian community congregate here for prayer and for celebrating the festivals. The Church is under the charge of a Pastor. The Roman Catholoc church, called the Saint Vincent De Paul Church, was established in December, 1968 at Satya Nagar. A Parish Priest is in charge of this church. The office of the Archbishop is located in the premises. On every Sunday and ecclesiastical days the Roman Catholics assemble here to pray and to observe their festivals.
There is one Guru Dwara of Sikhs. It was established in 1960 in Kharavela Nagar. The holy book of the Sikha "Guru Granth Sahib" is worshipped here. The Guru Dwara also runs a charitable homoeopathy dispensary.
An area has been earmarked in Unit-9 on the eastern side of the Sachivalya Marg, for the construction of a Buddha Vihar. It is allotted to the Mahabodhi Socieity of India. The Holy Bodhi Tree has been planted here and a cement platform has been constructed around it.