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Samaleswari Temple

Located on the bank of River Mahanadi at the Western part of Odisha in Sambalpur district the Samaleswari Temple is a Hindu temple which is dedicated to Goddess Samaleswari. Goddess Samaleswari is the deity of the temple and upon which the district has been named as Sambalpur. The place where the Samaleswari Temple is located is one of the cultural spots and is also a natural heritage. From ancient times, Goddess Samaleswari is worshipped as Adishakti, Jagatjanani, Mahasaraswati and Mahalaxmi. Earlier Sambalpur was also known as the Hirakhanda because of the diamond mines located near the areas of Sambalpur.

Samaleswari Temple

Legends Related to the Samaleswari Temple

There are many legends and stories are connected with the temple of Goddess Samaleswari. As per the historical evidences which are found, it is said that the Chowhan dynasty king, King Balaram Dev built the temple of Goddess Samaleswari in the 16th Century AD. There is a very famous historical incident which is related to the Samaleswari Temple that once the King Balaram Dev visited the localities where the Samaleswari Temple of the present day is located and under the Simuli Tree he found images of goddess Samaleswari and from there he got the idea of constructing a huge temple of Goddess Samaleswari. Chhatra Sai Deo, the 7th Independent King of Sambalpur rebuilt the temple in years 1657 to 1665. The deity of the Samaleswari Temple was then named as Samalei due to the temple Simuli Tree under which it was constructed.

Patnagarh Kingdom

Narasingh Dev ruled the independent kingdom of Patna during 1540 AD to 1547 AD. Patnagarh, small town located on the bank of River Mayabati was the capital of the dynasty. Once during a midnight of Sravana month as per the Hindu calendar, the queen of King Narasingh Dev had a severe labor pain and her life was in danger. There used to be an old lady who was believed to be an expert and was also experienced in the delivery process of women, but the point that she used to live on the other side of the river where Mayabati, which was on its full swing in those days.

The younger brother of the King Narasingh Dev, Balaram Dev swam across the flooded river to bring that old lady in order to rescue the queen and later on the queen had a baby boy which was then named as Hamir Dev. Very much impressed with the act of his younger brother Balaram Dev King Narsingh Dev granted a very huge territory in the favor of his younger brother which then became the kingdom of Huma. As the years went on the queen-mother once asked her sons Balaram Dev and Narasingh Dev to take her to the Kalapathar, which is a place located on the river Anga bank. She stood at a place near the river and pointed towards the kingdom of Patna and declared Narasingh Dev would be the king of that territory and Balaram Dev her younger son would be the independent king thereof. From then the Huma territory came into existence and which was then transformed to the kingdom of Sambalpur.

It is said that during construction of the temple a person would be the independent king thereof along with his wife were buried in its foundation as there were the tradition of human sacrifice was there during that time, which then later on became a practice of sacrificing buffalos. Later on this practice was also abolished. As per the temple records the last buffalo which was sacrificed was some three decades ago. There is also a story of a miracle that happened at the temple of Goddess Samaleswari with one of the saints of the Amritsar who later on became the Mahanta of Gopaljee Math and who was the reason behind abolishing the practices of human sacrifices in the temple.

Structure of Samaleswari Temple

A special stone is used as the construction materials in constructing the Goddess Samaleswari temple which is believed to be much stronger that of the Granite. The stones are then cemented with that of the lime mortar. The entire temple building is plastered but due to the rain, weather and many other climatic conditions the temple structure has became stale.

The Samaleswari Temple structure is divided into two different structures. Square shaped sanctum sanctorum which enshrines the deities is situated at four steps below the 10’ feet wide circumbulation which is covered and is also supported by the 12 stone pillars. 11 idols of Parswa Devis the side Goddess are also embed on the outer wall of the sanctum which allows the devotees to worship them while performing the parikramas (rotations). The plinth of the Structure of Samaleswari Temple is around 16’ high and the building is structured in square shape above the plinth. The arch of the temple of Goddess Samaleswari is supported by eight abutments, along with the arched roof, which commences at a height of around 18 feet and gets tapered till 35 feet.

A wide area is also there on the extreme northern side of the Samaleswari Temple which separates the main temple with some 16 odd pillars constituting the audience hall, also known as the sabhaghra. Eight artificial temple motifs are used to decorate the prime part of the temple and on the larger motifs faces towards all the sides and the smaller ones focuses towards the four corners of the temple. The motif which faces towards the North has got an arched opening which then recommends towards the main entrance of the holy temple.

Idol of Goddess Samaleswari in Samaleswari Temple

Goddess Samaleswari
The idol of Goddess Samaleswari is established right at the centre of the temple and is said to be the most loved and worshiped deity of the entire Sambalpur district. The statue of Goddess Samaleswari is made up of the Granite rock and it has an inverted crate type of projection at its bottom. A slight thin cut on the “Baraha” of the idol like face symbolizes to be her mouth. There are also two beaten golden leaves fixed as the two uneven golden eyes of the deity which makes the complete rock as a face of the Goddess Samaleswari. All these elements justify the rock piece as the shape of the face of Goddess. One of the most ancient traditional nose ornament made of pure gold is also hanged on the imaginary nose of the rock piece.

There is a common belief among the people of Sambalpur that the Goddess Samaleswari give power to the sentiments of devotion, fear, affection, awe and reverences within all the devotees who visit the temple of Goddess Samaleswari from all parts of the world to get the blessings of the deity of the entire district of Sambalpur and the western Odisha.

Goddess Samaleswari lives in the heart of the people of not only western Odisha but also in many parts of Chhattisgarh who believe in the existence of Goddess Samaleswari and the blessings that she has on her children.

Location of the Temple

Salameswari Temple
National Highway 200
Kuchinda, OD 768222a

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