Posts filed under ‘Balangir-Harishankar-Jogisarda-Ranipur Jharial’

Harishankar Temple, Balangir

October 1, 2011 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

Go chase waterfalls of western Orissa

Following item are from The Telegraph

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 6: If you thought of Orissa as a home to beautiful beaches, awesome temples and exotic wildlife sanctuaries, do not forget to add waterfalls to the list.

Almost all the districts of the state have one or more falls, but some are associated with popular destinations like protected forests, wildlife sanctuaries and temples because, in most cases, tourists are not interested to see just waterfalls, feel officials of the tourism department. But the recent rise in the interest of people in getting into eco-tourism sites, there could be a chance to get serious travellers to do some trekking around waterfalls.

Alok Mishra, marketing manager with the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC), said that apart from the regular packages, emphasis was also given to promote waterfalls as major destinations as done in states like Maharashtra and Kerela, but connectivity through roads and infrastructure facility for tourists to stay should be upgraded to explore their potential.

Former joint director of the tourism department Biranchi Mishra, who is also a well-known travel writer, felt that waterfalls do attract tourists at places like Hrishankar, Pradhanpat, Barehipani, Jorandha, Khandadhar and Sanghagra and Badaghagra, but these need to be clubbed and packaged with other religious, historical, forest areas so that tourists could be more interested to include the places in their travel list.

“Like Barehipani and Jorandha in Similipal Tiger Reserve are two beautiful waterfalls of the state. But they are attached to the tourists’ travel plan who want to visit the protected areas. But people coming to see the falls in Keonjhar district — Sanghagra and Badaghagra — might be interested in coffee plantations and observing the lifestyle of the tribal families. So we have to integrate them.

Likewise, the waterfalls of Nrusinghanath and Harishankar have other nearby attractions like temples and medicinal plants. Pradhanpat falls in Deogarh district had the first hydroelectricity generating unit when there was no hydro-electric power concept in Orissa. It showed the foresightedness of the then ruler of the princely state called Bamanda. We have to have a complete database on such things and inform the travellers,” he said.


Orissa’s pride among all the reserved forests, Similipal Tiger Reserve, has got this stepped waterfall which descends from the Meghasani hills in Mayurbhanj district. It is the highest waterfall of the state coming down from a height of 400 metres. Barehipani’s beauty from the viewpoint on the other side of the hill is a thing to remember. As the birds in the forest become quiet at dusk, the sound of the waterfall become very prominent. The waterfall looks breathtaking in full moon.


Similipal is also home to Jorandha (150 metres) amidst the rich Sal vegetation. The tall trees around the fall create a wonderful ambience.


Devkund falls, in periphery of Similipal Tiger Reserve, has a series of beautiful waterfalls and the shrine of goddess Ambika. It is situated at a distance of 65km from Baripada and 140km from Chandipur. On the outer periphery of the Sal forest, the perennial waterfall is situated under the Udala block. The waterfalls from the hilltop in five stages by creating five “kundas” or reservoirs named Amrita Kunda, Ghrita Kunda, Haladi Kunda, Devi Kunda and Deva Kunda. On the banks of the river Dev festivals like Raja and Makar Sankranti are celebrated every year.


This beautiful waterfall in the mineral-rich forests of Sundargarh district descends from a height of 225metres and is the second highest waterfall in the state.

The magnificent view of the cascading waters also makes for a good picnic spot and the entire area is a treasure trove of rare medicinal plants. The place is 114km from the steel township of Rourkela.

Badaghagra/ Sanghagra

Part of the Ghagra river, a tributary of Baitarani, the waterfall is 10km away from Keonjhar town. The 60metre fall is also near the Sanghagra falls (30metres), lying 5km from the district headquarters town. These two falls are popular picnic spots near Keonjhar town. However, another picturesque spot is Gonasika (45km from Keonjhar) where the river Baitarani goes underground briefly and emerges further down over a stone projection shaped like the nose of a cow.


The sacred hills of Gandhamardan in Bargarh district enshrines the temple of Nrusimhanath. Waterfalls like Bhimadhar, Gadadhar, Guptadhar and Chaladhar are beautiful locations.

Besides the falls, tourists also love to see ancient archaeological remains present in the area. The spot is 20km from Nuapada.


On the southern side of Gandhamardan hills, Harishankar shines with a series of beautiful waterfalls cascading on the hill slopes and the last one provides a water slide to the amusement of bathers. An added advantage to the two places of Nrusimhanath and Harishankar is the 16km trekking route by which travellers can go from Harishankar to Nrusimhanath and vice-versa and the journey ensures meeting many rare, endangered and precious medicinal plants. Even historians say that influence of Buddhism was also seen in the archaeological works in the entire area. According to Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsang, the belt might be the seat of a Buddhist university called Polo-mo-lo-ki-li.


The 16metre high waterfall is only 15km from Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district. The rainbows created by sun rays playing with the water spray creates a special charm.


This beautiful fall is part of Pradhanpat hill, which offers a scenic view and the water comes with several steps from the top creating several natural swimming pools on the hill itself. Close to the Deogarh town, the place is 96km from Sambalpur on NH-6. This waterfall had the first hydro-electric power unit in the state. This region was previously under the princely state of Bamanda.


The southern-most district of the state, Malkangiri, has got this beautiful waterfall besides several beautiful lakes spread across the region. The fall is situated 70km from Jeypore town. Duduma waterfall descends from a height of 155metres and feeds water to Machhakunda Dam.

Apart from the waterfalls listed in tourism packages, Gandahati in Gajapati district and Khandadhar, Gundichaghai and Handibhanga in Keonjhar district also draw large crowds.

February 7, 2011 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

All about Gandhamardan’s healing touch

Following items are from The Telegraph:

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 28: A trekker’s delight and a treasure trove for rare medicinal plants, Gandhamardan Hill Range is famous for its two shrines of Hari-Shankar and Nrusimhanath.

Affordable and reachable both by rail and road, the region could be a perfect getaway for you this winter.

While Nrusimhanath is situated at the Bargarh end of the 6,000 hectare range, Hari-Shankar is at the Balangir side. Hari-Shankar is 40km away from Kantabanji on the Titlagarh-Raipur railway stretch and 90km from Balangir town.

The most interesting part of your trip should be the trek from Hari-Shankar to Nrusimhanath through the forest. It could take as much as six hours to cover the 15km stretch.

Hari-Shankar on the southern slope of the Gandhamardan Hill Range is unique because of its shrine of both Vishnu and Shiva. The entire hill range has more than 20 perennial streams.

While there are forest rest houses (FRHs) at Hari-Shankar and Nrusimhanath with four and two rooms respectively available in the range of Rs 100-Rs 250 a night, a budget hotel built by Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) at Hari-Shankar has air conditioned rooms for Rs 1,100-Rs 1,200 a night.

Budget hotels at Balangir town are available in the range of Rs 400-Rs 800 a night.

Balangir divisional forest officer (DFO) Rajkishore Sahu said: “People Chhattisgarh come to Hari-Shankar by trekking the entire way. The deer park between the temple and forest rest house (FRH) now has 200 deer. At Hari-Shankar, there is also a very beautiful herbal garden with 300 varieties of plants.”

Sahu said there are 300 separate plots dedicated to 300 different varieties of plants at the garden. Some of these plants are very rare in these parts.

“The herbal garden near Nrusimhanath contains 150 varieties of plants, but they are not planted in the way in which the Hari-Shankar thing has been done,” he added.

If you have a problem with the 15-km trek from Hari-Shankar to Nrusimhanath, you could opt for the road via Paikmal, taking which you could reach Nrusimhanath in two hours.

Though there are no big animals like elephants and tigers in the forest, you could encounter leopards, hyena, peacock, flying squirrel, monkeys, snakes, bear and wild boar.

“The facilities extended by the temple administration and the forest and ITDC people are good and one can enjoy the stay with the entire family,” said Mrutyunjay Tripathy, a state government employee who visited Gandhamardan Hill Range last year.

According to the Ramayana, while bringing the entire Gandhamardan range from the Himalayas to treat Lakshman with Sanjivanee, Hanuman, the valorous monkey god, broke some parts of the mountain and the pieces fell at the place where today’s Gandhamardan stands with its treasure of fragrant medicinal plants.

The hill range is composed of a cluster of hills with altitudes varying between 600 and 1,005 metres above the sea level. Bender, Butel, Chalidilli, Chhatradandi Gandhamardan, Potpani and Thuta are the prominent hills in this range. The range stands as a natural barrier on the border of Balangir and Bargarh districts.

“The forest in the hill range comes under the tropical moist deciduous type. Due to its diversified topography with 22 perennial streams, the region provides an ideal environment for the growth of both plants and animals. However, these resources are under severe threat due to over-exploitation including collection of firewood, fodder, medicinal plants and heavy incidence of grazing. Out of the 1,076 species of plants found in Bargarh district, a total of 850 species of vascular plants belonging to 540 genera under 138 families are available here,” said ecologist Prasad Dash.

“Of the 28 endemic medicinal plants found in the Eastern Ghats, seven are found in Gandhamardan alone. Dominance of phanerophytes indicates a tropical moist and humid climate. The top flat plateau of the hills running through the length of Gandhamardan is covered lush grasslands,” he said.

A variety of rare and endemic hill stream fish are also available here. Due to the rich floral diversity, a large number of honey bees and birds are found here. Because of the presence of a variety of plants, a large variety of butterflies are also found here,” Dash added.

But the hill range is most famous for its medicinal plants and is also known as an “ayurvedic garden”.

More than 400 plant species were found in the area with medicinal properties. Among them, Asparagus racemosus, Celastrus paniculata, Chlorophytum arundinaceum, Costus speciosus, Curculigo orchioides, Curcuma angustifolia, Gloriosa superb, Gymnema sylvestre, Plumbago zeylanica, Rubia cordifolia and Tinospora cordifolia were harvested in bulk for preparation of medicines by local people.

Unsustainable collection of the above medicinal plants has placed them in threatened and vulnerable categories in Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) of the state. Some medicinal plants such as Asparagus gonoclados, Enicostema littorale, Pimpinella heyneana, Garcinia xanthochymus, Radenmanchera xylocarpa, Embelia basal, Symphorema polyandrum, Vernonia anthelmintica, Xanthoxylum rhetsa, Cordia macleodii, Litsea glutinosa, Pterocarpus marsupium and Schrebera swietenioides, which were abundant at one point, are now rarely seen and come under the threatened category of medicinal plants in Orissa.

January 15, 2011 at 8:05 am Leave a comment

A.U. Singhdeo and the 40-year-old Harisankar Deer Park

Following is a report from the Telegraph (reported by Sudeep Kumar Guru from Balangir):

Balangir, Oct. 3: The 40-year-old Harisankar Deer Park located at the foothills of Gandhamardan hills, around 80km from here, has fallen prey to apathy on part of the district administration and political will.

There are around 201 deer left under an unhygienic condition. Six deer have died due to want of fodder in the last two years.

The deer park was set up in 1971 over 1.50 acres of land with a view to drawing tourists at Harisankar. In the beginning, the park used to house eight deer along with other species such as blue bull, bear, leopards and peacocks. Soon the park became a popular tourist spot as it happened to be the only one in the western part of the state at that time.

The popularity of the deer park prompted the authority to develop a similar one — Gandhamardan Deer Park — on five acres after two years.

Gandhamardan too had deer blue bull, bear and leopards.

However, maintenance of Gandhamardan later became a tough task for the authority due to paucity of funds. Some animals of the park were shifted to Nandankanan while several other fell prey to poachers. The last animal of the park was killed around 10 years ago.

Locals lament closure of the park. “The park could neither be saved nor revived despite A.U. Singhdeo, a political heavyweight from the district, becoming the tourism minister twice in the recent past,” said Radheshyam Sahu of nearby Khaprakhole village.

At present, Gandhamardan park lies abandoned while Harisankar languishes due to space constraint. The park now houses 201 deer. Lack of space hinders free movement of animals inside the park and incidents of deer dying here have become a routine affair.

Sources said the state government provided 1.60kg of fodder everyday for each deer, which is far less than what is required. The animals are supplied leaves and branches of trees collected from the Gandhamardan forest to meet their food requirement.

Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Balangir R.K. Sahu admitted that the park was too small to accommodate 201 animals. “The park is running only on state government aid as the Centre has not granted park status to Harisankar. We have asked authorities to shift half of the deer to other places,” he said.

“The state government provides only Rs 2 lakh annually which is not sufficient to maintain the park,” he said.

October 5, 2010 at 7:44 am 1 comment

Chhatishgarh government to develop Nrusinghnath tourist spot

Following report is takem from

With out considering the tourism potentiality, when state government is interested for mining in the Gandhamardhan hill, the decision of the Chhattisgarh government to spend Rs.two crores for the development of the Nrusinghnath, natural tourist spot located on the foothill of Gandhamardhan makes everyone happy.


 Gandhamardhan, the famous range of hill which covers Nuapara, Bargarh and Balangir district of the state is well-known for its medicinal value of having thousands of rare species of medicinal plants. Nrusinghnath in one side and Harisankar on the other side attract lakhs of pilgrims every year. But over the past, state government does not give much attention on the development of these spots because it is interested on the bauxite that reserves in the hill.

The decision of the Chhattisgarh government receives huge appreciation from the local people as they apprehend severe destruction of the natural beauty once mining is taken place in the area. “We do not want mining at any cost as we apprehend serious consequence of the environment once mining is taken place in the area. We also apprehend extinct of the rare species of medicinal plants that are available here. So we welcome the decision of the Chhattisgarh government. I attended the meeting held in Raipur recently where CM Raman Singh took the decision to spend Rs. 2 crores for the development of the Nrushingnath”, former president of the Nrusinghnath trust Pradeep Kumar Purohit said. According to him, the Chhatisgarh government will construct a Panthnivas at Nrusingnath in the first phase, for the benefit of the hundreds of tourists that are coming every day to the famous temple. 80% of the tourists coming to the place are from Chhattisgarh as they consider the place is pious.  But they face serious difficulties as there are no proper accommodation facilities near the temple. Due to lack of accommodation facilities tourists come to the place only in the day time.

Sources said, the Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh has written a letter to the Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik requesting the latter to provide an acre of land for the same. The construction will take place once Orissa state government identifies the requisite land.   Nrusinghnath is considered as ‘papaharini tirtha’ for the people of Chhatishgarh, so a large number of people from the state come every year. To realize the fact, members of the temple trust and Gandhamardhan Yuba parisad met the Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh to discuss about the improvement of the facilities available in the Nrusinghnath temple area for the tourists.

“It was a pleasant meeting with Raman Singh, the chief minister of Chhattisgarh held at Raipur on last Sunday where he announced about the construction of a huge building for the accommodation purposes”, convener of the Gandhamardhan Yuba parisad.Dhirendra Mohanty said.  “We are thankful to the national general secretary of the BJP Dharmendra Pradhan for coordinating and convening our meeting with Raman Singh”, Pradeep Kumar Purohit said.

July 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm Leave a comment

Pictures of Harishankar and Nrusinghanath

Following are the pictures of Harishankar and Nrusinghanath located in Gandhamardan Mountain of Western Odisha. Harishankar is located on the Balangir side of the mountain whereas Nrusinghanath is located on the Bargarh side of the mountain. Gandhamardan Mountain is known world wide as a reservoir of medicinal plants. These beautiful pictures are taken from the blog of Satyesh Naik and album of Pratap Bhanja.

Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 1Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 2Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 3Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 4Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 51Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 6Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 7Harishankar and Nrusinghanath 8

November 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm 3 comments

Tourist centres of Western Odisha

Following are some of the tourist centers of Western Odisha as identified by Odisha govt. This list is obtained from the Orissa Reference Annual-2004. Please have a careful look if some tourist  places of your region are missing. We should compile a complete list of tourist centers of Western Odisha. Then we will appeal to the tourism minister of Odisha and India to declare some of the attractive places  as special tourism zones.



  • Deulajhari : Hot Spring


  • Balangir : Old city
  • Gaikhai M.I.P. : Scenic Spot
  • Harishankar : Religious Center
  • Jogisarada : Religious Center
  • Patnagarh : Religious Center
  • Ranipur Jharial : Chausathi Yogini temple
  • Saintala : Religious Center
  • Turekela : Scenic Spot


  • Baragarh : Sambalpuri Hand- looms
  • Debrigarh : Wildlife
  • Devdarha : Scenic Spot
  • Gaisima : Religious Center
  • Ganiapali : Historical Site
  • Nrusinghanath : Religious Center
  • Papanga : Scenic Spot


  • Boudh : Buddhist Shrine
  • Charichhak, Puruna Katak : Strategic Point, Religious place
  • Charisambhu : Religious Center


  • Pradhanpat : Waterfall


  • Gujapahar : Scenic Spot
  • Jharsuguda : District Headquarter
  • Kuilighugar : Scenic Spot
  • Pikalghugar : Scenic Spot
  • Vikramkhol : Pictograpic Inscriptions


  • Amathagarh : Fort
  • Ampani : Scenic Spot
  • Asurgarh : Historical Site
  • Belkhandi : Religious Center
  • Bhawanipatna : District Headquarter, Old city
  • Dharmagarh : Historical Site
  • Gudahandi (Dokrichanchara) : Pictograpic Inscriptions
  • Jakam : Scenic Spot
  • Junagarh : Historical Site
  • Karlapat : Wildlife
  • Kusurla : Religious Center
  • Mardiguda : Scenic Spot
  • Phurlijharan : Waterfall
  • Rabandarh : Scenic Spot
  • Sapagaranda : Religious Center
  • Talguda : Fort
  • Thuamul-Rampur : Scenic Spot


  • Budhikomna : Religious Center
  • Nuapada : District Headquarter, Old city
  • Patalaganga : Religious Center
  • Patora : Scenic Spot
  • Sindursil : Scenic Spot
  • Thipakhol : Scenic Spot
  • Yogimatha : Cave Paintings


  • Chipilima Religious Center
  • Gudguda Scenic Spot
  • Hirakud Scenic Spot
  • Huma : Religious Center, Leaning Temple
  • Kandhar : Birth Place of Bhima Bhoi
  • Sambalpur : Sambalpuri Hand-looms
  • Ushakothi (Badarama) : Wildlife


  • Binika (Papakshya Ghat) : Religious Center
  • Chandalipat Puja Dunguri : Religious Center
  • Charada : Historical Site
  • Khaliapali : Mahima Shrine
  • Kotsamlai (Patali Jagannath Pitha) : Religious Center
  • Sonepur : Temple Town


  • Chhatri : Hill Scenic Spot
  • Darjeeng : Scenic Spot
  • Deodaraha : Scenic Spot
  • Ghogar : Religious Center
  • Junagarh : Fort
  • Khandadhar : Waterfall
  • Mandira : Scenic Spot
  • Miriglotah : Waterfall
  • Rourkela : Steel Plant
  • Sundergarh : District Headquarter
  • Ushakothi : Scenic Spot
  • Vedavyasa : Religious Center


  • If you have any pictures of these places please do send me at

November 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm 6 comments

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