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Tourist Attractions of Sambalpur

Sambalpur is one of the famous tourist attractions of western Odisha, known for its rich natural heritages and landscapes. There are several tourist attractions which are witnessed by thousands of tourists every year. From the religious wonders to the man made glorious example of architecture, Sambalpur reflects the rich and diversified cultural heritage of Odisha.

Tourist Attractions of Sambalpur

Religious Places of Sambalpur

Goddess Samaleswari Temple
The most prominent temple of Sambalpur dedicated to Maa Samaleshwari, the Samaleswari Temple is situated on the river banks of the River Mahanadi. Maa Samaleswari is the most worshipped and loved goddess of the entire district and is said to be the goddess of Sambalpur. Even it is said that the name of Sambalpur has been derieved from the presiding deity of Sambalpur known as Goddess Samaleswari, enshrined at Samalai Gudi also known widely as temple of Samleswari. Chauhans built the temple in sixteenth century which attracts a numerous devotees every day. Goddess Smaleswari commands deep respect of the local populace and people from various parts of the world visit the temple of Samaleswari. In the month of Chaitra and Ashwin every year a grand fair is held.

The Leaning Temple of Lord Shiva at Huma
The temple of Lord Bimaleswar Shiva is located on the bank of Mahanadi is one of the most famous temples of Odisha. The structure of temple is tilted and is one of the reasons for being one of the mysterious temples of the state. Several investigations performed here, although there are no such historical identities prove the exact reason behind the temple structure being tilted. Any structure that is found inside the temple premises are n tilted condition including the boundaries. As per the priests and villagers the angle of inclination also has not changed since last 40 to 50 years.

However researchers believe that the structure is tilted may be due to some geological reason, may be the earth crust is un-even in structure. On the river bank of Mahanadi where the temple is located there is a special type of fish found, which are called as 'Kudo' fish. They are said to be very tame, and is believed that will eat sweets and other foods from the hands of those who bathe close to the temple. During auspicious days they are given the 'prasad' of the God. It is believed that no one tries to catch these fishes as they are believed to be the assets of God Shiva. The country boats services are made available to sail on the Mahanadi 1957 with the river. Several busses are also made available till the Huma chowk from where the temple is at a distance of 2 km and has to be travelled by foot.

Located at around 160 km from the main city part of Sambalpur Nrusimhanath is a 15th century old Temple of Lord Nrushima located at the pleasing foot step of the Gandhamardan hill which is believed to be a part of the hill which was carried by lord Hanuman on his shoulders for saving Lakshmana’s life when he got hurt by Inderjeet. On another slope of the Gandhamardan hills there is a temple of Harishankar along with the captivating cascades. According to the Chinese traveler of 7th century, Hiuen t’sang, Nrusimhanath was known to be Parimalagiri in the past which was also a renowned place according to the Buddhism. The ruins found on the plateau at the hilltop of Gandhamardhan, around 10 miles long, depict the ancient heritage of the place. The hill is also believed to be very rich in the medicinal herbs. The surroundings of the hill are very pleasant tourist spots visited by several tourists especially in summer season.

It is a combination of both Hirakud Dam and Huma Temple, Chiplima is located at around 35 km from the main city of Sambalpur is said to be the 2nd Hydroelectric Project of Hirakud Dam. A huge natural fall of length around 80 ft is connected in order to generate the electricity.

Ghanteswari Temple Sambalpur
The place is said to be a habitat of the fishermen community, who are said to be the follower of Ghantlei or Goddess Ghanteswari. As the name itself indicates there are the temple of Ghanteswari is filled with the bells and can be seen in a huge number till the place one can see. Earlier there were some big size bells on this spot and with the help of wind those creating enormous sound and hence the place was an important spot for the point of navigation. The sound produced by the bell used to signal the navigators to be aware of the spot and they never came near it. This area being the conglomeration of three streams of water of river Mahanadi forms a whirlpool and is also a reason of drowning of several boats reaching near to the spots in past. Now after the construction of Hirakud dam, this spot has became a lot safer. The specialty of this temple area is, thousands of bells hanging all around and this is the only place of its kind in Odisha. Even today also devotees offer bells to the goddess on their wishes being fulfilled. Some of the Breeding Farm and Agricultural Farm are also located here which adds up to the beauty of the place.

Budha Raja Temple

Budha Raja is situated on Budharaja Hill top, is also one of the most famous shrine of Sambalpur, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Bara Jagannath temple, the Gopaljee and Brahmapura monasteries, the Temple of Ananta Sayana are also some of the other religious places of Sambalpur.

Other Attractions of Sambalpur

Hirakud Dam
The gigantic Hirakud Dam is located at around 20 km northwest of Sambalpur. Hirakud Dam was constructed in the year 1957 with an aim to safeguard the repeated disastrous floods of delta region which are caused by the river Mahanadi. Hirakud Dam also helps in irrigating the vast areas of land. Being one of the longest mainstream dams of world Hirakud Dam is 1100m long and over 60 m in height. An inimitable experience can be gained by driving on the twenty one km long dyke of the Dam. There are two revolving towers, Jawahar Minar on the southern side and Gandhi Minar at the northern side that offers the amazing ew of the mighty Hirakud Dam along with the fantastic expanse of water. The DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) allows the entry near the Dam and it requires prior permission as well. Several buses regularly ply to the Dam from Sambalpur.

Ushakothi Wildlife Sanctuary
Located on the north-east of Sambalpur at a distance of 43 km on NH.6 it is one of the famous tourist spots of Odisha. It is a wild life sanctuary which is believed to be a habitat for wild animals like Tigers, Gours, Elephants, Black Panthers, Deer, Sambars, Spotted Deer, Wild Bears and several such animals. The visitors can catch a view of the animals through the two watching towers located near the tank. Ushakothi wildlife sanctuary also famous as Badrama Sanctuary lying closer to the Hirakud Dam, has a great population of tigers, sloth bears, leopards, elephants and panthers along with the sambal, gaur, nilgai and chital.

Flanked by the Penganga river and the Wardha river the dense deciduous forest covers an area of around 130 sq. km and is yet one of the smaller sanctuaries of Odisha. Animals flocking the nearby watering points at night can be seen from the watch towers installed within the sanctuary. The forest office offers Jeeps to visit the forest for a nominal charge. Forest Rest House provides accommodation for the visitors. Forest Range Officer along with guide and spot lights are also available against nominal charges.

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Debrigarh Wild Life Sanctuary is the most suitable environment as it has the common feeling around the Hirakud Lake and additionally has a thick forests attached. Spread over a zone of 746 sq km the Debrigarh Wildlife Samctuary is extended from ohara till the Debrigarh Reserve forests on the Barapahad mounts.

Cattle Island
Located at a distance of around 90 km from the city of Sambalpur, Cattle Island is a sub-merged hill and before the construction of the Hirakud Dam it was a residential village. The specialty about the island is in its inhabitants. The island is situated at one of the extreme point of Hirakud Reservoir and is believed to be one of the natural wonders. The island is believed to be dwelled only by a group of cattle. During the period of resettlement, the villagers left some of their bulls and cows and after the dam construction was  over the cattle choose to settled down on the hill-top itself. With the time that passed the nearby areas got filled up with the water from the reservoir and gave the shape of the hill-top as it looks like an island.

Being away from the mankind, these cattle then turned out to be wild in nature and they never allow themselves to become the prey of human-beings. As they spend whole of their life on the hill filled up with dense forest, their shape and size are quite bigger in comparison to the normal cattle. Most of the cattle are of white color except a very few. People residing adjacent to the island often try to catch these cattle, but they rarely succeed in capturing those animals. It is believed that cattle are the pet animals, but here it is a contradiction and these are also expected to be wild due to the surrounding atmosphere.

Located at around 100 km from Sambalpur Pradhanpat is a hill that offers a very rare scenic splendor due to its picturesque waterfalls. These falls are closer to the Deogarh town, which is blessed with the background of wooded hills. There are two of the most beautiful guest houses, and Lalita Basanta and the Basanta Nivas which have been built up by the rulers of Bamra in past and are now under the management of the Tourism Department, which now-a-days provide accommodation facility for the visitors.

It is a spot known for the Padmashree award winner Dr. Isaac Santra who worked here for years for the development of people suffering from leprosy. Dr. Issac was itself a patient suffering from leprosy yet the contribution of this great soul will always be remembered with genuine love.

Located on the Western side of the Railway Station of Jharsuguda and at a distance of around 25 km from Sambalpur, Vikramkhol is a travel destination for the lovers of history. The pictographic writings of the great archeological find have been discovered. These prehistoric findings are of great significance. Odisha state museum at Bhubaneswar also portrays the plaster-cast of these inscriptions.

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