MAA SAMALESWARI TEMPLE, ADHISTHATRI DEVI
Shree Shree Maa Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, is a strong religious force in western part of Orissa and Chhattisgarh state of India. On the bank of the river Mahanadi the mother goddess Samaleswari is worshipped from ancient times as Jagatjanani, Adishakti, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati. The region in which the temple is situated has a rich cultural heritage. Sambalpur region is popularly known as Hirakhanda from ancient times. Ptolemy has described the place as Sambalak, Acording to Tavernir, the French traveller, and Edward Gibbon, the English historian, diamonds were exported to Rome from Sambalpur.
THE HIRAKUD DAM, THE LONGEST EARTHEN DAM
DAM exist only 15 kms. north of Sambalpur, the longest earthen dam of the world stands in its lone majesty across the great river Mahanadi, which drains an area of 1,33,090 Sq.Kms., more than twice the area of Shrilanka. The bulk of Hirakud dam contains earth, concrete and masonry materials sufficient to make a road 8 metres wide and pave it from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and Amritsar to Dibrugarh in Assam.
From horizon to horizon the resorvoir forms the largest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 Sq.Kms. and a shore line over 640 Kms. A twenty-one Kilometres drive on the dyke offers a unique experience of calm serenity and majesty of nature. One can enjoy the sight of mighty Hirakud dam and the fantastic expanse of water from the top of the revolving minarate called Gandhi Minar.
HUMA TEMPLE, LEANING TEMPLE OF LORD SHIVA
A village in the Sambalpur Subdivision, situated on the left bank of the Mahanadi, 23 kms. south of Sambalpur. The village contains the Leaning temple dedicated to Lord Siva, which was built in the reign of Baliar Singh, the fifth Raja of Sambalpur. The worship of Siva is said to have been initiated by a milkman(Gauda), who daily crossed the Mahanadi to a place on the bank where the underlying rock croped out. Here he daily offered his dole of milk, which was at once drunk up by the rock, and this miraculous circumstance led to enquiries, which ended in the construction of the present temple. Huma is a place of pilgrimage, and is also visited by strangers out of curosity to see the different kind of fish in the river. A great fair takes place at the foothill in March every year on the occasion of Sivratri. The presiding diety is Bimaleswar Siva.
The special type of fish found here are called as Kudo fish. They are said to be so tame that they will eat sweets and other foods from the hands of those who bathe close to the temple. During auspicious days they are called by their names and given the prasad of the God. Here nobody tries to catch them as they are believed to be the assets of the God.
Now about the main point of attraction i.e. the tilted structure of temple. From the investigation and interviews performed by our team, nobody able to give satisfying reply. The surprising thing is, the main temple tilted to one direction and other small temples tilted to some other direction. And within the temple complex i.e. within the boundaries of temple, everything found to be in tilted condition including the boundaries. Now again the angle of inclination is not changed since last 40/50 years as said by the villagers and priests. However the structure is tilted may be due to some geological reason, may be the earth crust is un-even in structure. About the inclination, its not possible to judge whether the angle is in a increasing trend or not. For that some sort of measurement mechanism should be given to analyse it very correctly as it is done in leaning tower of Pissa.
GHANTESWARI TEMPLE AT CHIPLIMA, SAMBALPUR
Maa Ghanteswari Temple is one of the most holiest and beautiful place in Sambalpur. As the name indicates, there are bells (Ghanti) everywhere. People offer bell to Maa after their the fulfillment of their wishes. A large number of pilgrims visit this place everyday from acrooss the state. This is treated as Heart of Chipilima (a beautiful picnic spot). The specialty of this temple area is, thousands of bells hanging all around, the only place of its kind in Orissa. Maa Ghanteswari Temple is located at 33 kms south-west of Sambalpur and on the bank of river Mahanadi. It was playing an important role for navigation in the past. It was called a light house without light.
The place got its name from goddess Ghanteswari. Earlier there were some big size bells on this spot and with the help of wind those were creating enormous sound which made the navigators aware of this trechorous spot and they never came near it. This area being the conglomeration of three streams of water of river Mahanadi, the water current here is very trechorous forming a whirlpool. Due to this many boats were drowned while nearing this spot. Here the wind blows quite heavily and with the help of it the bells were producing sound. Now after the construction of Hirakud dam, this spot became safer.
Gudguda, one of the most beautiful Picnic Spot. Though Gudguda comes under Sambalpur District, Many people flock this place from neighboring towns like Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur and even Rourkela too. From Jharsuguda, it takes only 1.5 hours to reach to the spot. The Roads are fantastic after you cross Kolabira Village. Journey to this place is very pleasant. You can hardly find any vehicles after Kolabira Village. This place is fully covered with dense forest. As soon as you are about to enter the spot, you can find many Mango and Lichi Orchards on both side of the roads. You can also hear chirping of birds, gushing sound of waterfall etc.
You will love this place as it is a very peaceful place to spend your day away from your hectic and busy life. Let us tell you that before entering to the exact spot you need to cross a small waterfall, which can easily be crossed if you have any four wheeler. Maruti 800 and Maruti Van will have little difficulty in crossing this in Moonson time. This Place has three Step by step waterfalls, these Waterfall have been beautifully carved themselves through the rocks. This Place is also good for Mountain Trekking. Do not forget to carry Trekking shoes along with you whenever you plan to visit this place. Let us mention one more thing that the water flowing in this falls is extremely chilly, one of the main reason is because waters are hardly expose onsun raysas it is covered on all sides. Rest you can easily know more about the spot once you see the Photographs taken in that spot.
DEBRIGARH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
The Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary stands out from all the wildlife sanctuaries in the state in terms of sighting wild animals. One of the major reasons for this could be its proximity to the Hirakud dam as it provides a perfect water source host for the animals, birds and aquatic fauna of the sanctuary.“Apart from the animals already inhabiting the sanctuary, there are also migratory birds and they come to explore the nearly 150 km2 area of the Hirakud reservoir. As the dam is a standing water body, many varieties of diving ducks can be seen.
Perhaps the sanctuary welcomes the largest number of diving ducks in winter compared to all the other sanctuaries in Orissa. There are six eco-tourism cottages in the sanctuary at Barkhandia and each has all the facilities to accommodate a complete family or two adults. Most importantly, the tariff includes all meals. Permission for the entry into the sanctuary is available at the gates.