Patnagarh is a town situated around 40 km away from the district headquarter of Balangir. The place houses some enticing ancient temples. The Parameswari Temple was constructed in the Chalukya style of architecture. The Someswar Siva Temple is a 12th-century-old temple which is an important pilgrim.
In Patnagarh you will also find a wide array of ancient temples which now lies in ruins. Most of these temples were constructed during the rule of the Chauhans of Western Odisha.
Patnagarh is surely a town to explore and observe to learn about the history of Balangir. The place still retains its royal charm of a past era. This place is visited by many researchers in history and students of archaeology every year.
Harishankar stands on the slopes of the Gandhamardan hills. It is a place of magnificent natural beauty and a Hindu pilgrim spot too. A perennial stream passes by the place. The place is famous for the Hari Shankar Temple which is devoted to Lord Vishnu as well as Lord Krishna. Several temples dedicated to Hanumanji, Lord Jagannath and Lord Ram are situated in this temple compound. A dharamsala is there inside the temple complex to accommodate its devotees.
The idol of Hari Sankar was discovered in the 14th century AD by a king from the Chauhan dynasty. Along with that idol, a statue of Ganesha in a dancing posture has been found too, which dates back to the 12th century.
The Nrusinghanath Temple is located on the opposite side of the Gandhamardan hills. The plateau between the Hari Shankar Temple and Nrusinghanath Temple is covered with Buddhist remnants of a bygone era which is believed to be the Parimalgiri University.
Harishankar can be visited throughout the year. There is a Herbal Garden in this place where you will find around 1000 herbal trees. The place is well connected by a network of well-maintained roads. There are frequent bus services from Balangir to Harishankar. It is situated 72 km from Balangir.
Jal Mahadev, Jal Mahadev is situated 84 km from Balangir. The peculiarity of this place is that it has the deity of Lord Shiva beneath a perennial stream, instead of a Shivalinga, and people worship the lord by pouring milk and water.
At Jal Mahadev, we find the Swayambhu of Lord Shiva or Lord Shiva appears in his own image. Here, devotees from far and near perform pujas by offering bel leaves and flowers on the stream. The place has numerous Shivalingas all around it.
Devotees also take a dip in the stream for salvation. Jal Mahadev sits on the panoramic Madara Hills. The place is the home to some exotic plants, beautiful birds and several animals.
The place is also the home to various reptiles and different species of insects. Apart from a religious visit, people come here for picnics. Adventure lovers visit here for trekking and camping.
Jal Mahadev is a must-see attraction in Balangir. People interested in photography must visit this place.
Rajendra Park is a hundred-year-old park constructed by HH Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo, the last the king of Patnagarh. This park stands in the heart of the city of Balangir.
The park has around hundred varieties of roses and other species of flowers as well. In the evening the beauty of the park is accentuated by the three fountains which are lit up. Moreover, old Hindi songs are played in the evenings. The park is fitted with a Dolby Digital Sound System which is used to play these songs. There lies a statue of HH Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo in the middle of the park.
The park has been recently refurbished by the Municipality Board of Balangir. The park is equipped with playing areas for children, various amusements and a cafeteria. The park remains open from 2 pm to 10 pm.
Anand Niketan is also famous as the Khujenpali Ashram as it is situated at Khujenpali, 5 km away from Balangir. The ashram was set up by Paramahansa Swami Sree Satyaprajananda Saraswati in the year 1985. The ashram is situated on a land of about 40 acres.
It is surrounded by the Viswatma Vidyamandir School, Ashutosh Peeth, Sadhana Kehtra, Puja Mandapa, Yoga Centre, Prajna Kutir, Santh Nivas, gardens and green jungles. Thousands of visitors come to this place every year from all over the world to find peace and connect to divinity.
Visitors also come here to learn and practice Yoga. Several festivals, such as Navratri, Guru Purnima and Shiva Ratri are celebrated here. A visit to this ashram is highly recommended.
Ranipur and Jharial are the twin villages that are 104 km away from Balangir. In ancient times, Ranipur was the place where the queens of Patnagarh used to stay and Jharial used to be a fort. The place is of religious importance as various cults, such as Vaishnavism, Saivism, Buddhism and Tantrism flourished here. The Tong river, also known as Tong Jor, flows by the hamlets.
Historical sites, such as Patnagarh, Maraguda, Asurgarh, Narisinghnath, Saintala Podagarh and Belkhandi, surround Ranipur-Jharial. Several temples constructed by the Somavanshi kings of Dakhin Koshal are found here. These dates dated back to the 8th to 9th centuries. According to historians, there were around 200 temples in an area sprawling for half a mile lengthwise and one-fourth of a mile breadthwise.
Ranipur-Jharial is famous for temples without roofs called hypaethral temples and houses one such temple consigned to 64 yoginis. Another major attraction of this place is the Someswar Siva Temple built by Mattamayura Shivacharya Gagana Siva. The place also houses the Indralath Temple which is the tallest brick temple in Odisha.
Saintala, situated 35 km away from Balangir, is a place of interesting archaeological and historical importance. The place houses the famous Maa Chandeshwari Thakurani Temple where Goddess Chandi in Mahishasuramardini avatar is the consigned deity. This temple is believed to belong to the Somvansi period. The door of the temple is embellished with images of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu or the Dasavatara, Ganga and Yamuna.
Saintala celebrates all the important festivals of Odisha with grandeur. The festivals are Rath Yatra, Sabitri Brata, Durga Puja, Gaja Laxmi Puja, Diwali, Makar Sankranti, Holi or Dola Purnima, Manabasa Gurubar, Rakshya Bandhan, Bishuba or Pana Sankranti, Kartik Purnima, Janmastami, Nabanna or Nuakhai, Ganesh Puja Bhai Jiuntia, Pua Jiuntia, Ram Navami and Saraswati Puja.
The festival of Navratri Durgapuja is unique to Saintala. It is celebrated for nine days. During this time, Bhai Juntia is observed on the ashtami tithi or 8th day. A visit to Saintala is highly recommended especially during the festive periods.
Tentulikhunti is a quaint village situated 213 km from Balangir city. This village is believed to be the seat of various religious celebrations during the rule of Savapuriya dynasty.
The Savapuriya dynasty reigned Patnagarh before the Somavamsi Kesharies came into power in the 8th century AD. You can still see three monolithic idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra in a barren land surrounded by paddy fields.
Mursing is a primitive village inhabited by aborigines of Odisha. The place gets its name from Narasingha, the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu, who has killed a demon called Mura. This demon prayed to be associated with the name of Narasingha.
Although the place does not have a grand temple for the various gods and goddesses of Vaishnavism cult, Mursing does not lag behind in the performance of the rituals which are comparable with the temples in Puri. At present, the beautiful idols are enshrined and worshipped in a casual shade and all the rituals and festivals are observed in conformity with Hindu customs. There are certain idols that have gone through embodiment or Navakalevara. These idols are taken in different chariots during the Car Festival throughout the village.
Under the guidance of a school teacher, Bijoy Kumar Mohanty, who was in the care of worshipping the old deity of Lord Jagannath, the villagers invited the Rajguru of the king of Puri to consecrate the idol.