Being the business hub of Western Orissa, Bargarh is situated towards the western border of the state towards Chhattisgarh. The place was initially a fort and was initially called as the Baghar Kota, as derived from the inscriptions from 11th century AD. Bargarh has also witnessed early Buddhist settlement and have influenced the lifestyle of the people for a short span of time. Bargarh though has few tourist attractions but it is rich in its cultural heritage. Bargarh is famous for the Dhanuyatra that is said to the biggest open theatrical stage and depicts the Krishna Leela. The place is dotted with temples and also has Buddhist monasteries and caves that showcase the settlement of different cultures at different points in time at Bargarh. Enlisted here are top 5 places that are a must visit when in Bargarh.
Nrusinghnath is one of the most worshipped deities in Orissa and is an avatar Lord Vishnu. The temple of Nrusinghnath was built in 1413 A.D on March 17 as inscribed. The temple is only 45 ft high and is divided into two parts. The first part is the seat of Lord Nrusinghnath while the other part has four pillars which are supporting three gates. The architecture of this temple is one of its kinds in Orissa. The inner sanctum has statues of the Nav Grahs or the nine planets, Jamuna, Ganga, Nandi and many others. There are idols of eight-handed Ganesha and Sahadev, the cow-herd, which are carved near the Nav Grahs. The original idol of Nrusinghnath also resides in the temple. The temple is a unique site that takes the visitor by awe. Apart from being of religious importance the place has a mesmerising aura and offers a unique blend of architecture leaving imprints from various eras of life that have existed in this place.
As per the epic Ramayana, while Lord Hanuman was carrying the entire mountain mass to Lanka so as to find a cure for Laxman by providing him with Sanjeevani. It is believed that a part of mountain was dropped here while on the way to Lanka. Gandhamardana is the synonym to that portion of the mountain mass. Today the places houses over 5000 rare herbs that are studied and used for medicinal purposes. The place is also a wildlife sanctuary that houses rare birds and animals and are bliss to its spectators.
3. Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is an emerald heaven that is nestled in the Baraphad Hills that lie at an altitude of 2267 feet above sea level. The place is famous for being the base for Veer Surendra Sai, a freedom fighter who was said to be caught here by the British officials. The place is now converted into a wildlife sanctuary. Animals like Indian Bison, elephants and black bucks are the most important in the region. The sanctuary also houses an artificial water reservoir, Hirakud reservoir that attracts a number of birds that migrate here during the winters. The reservoir is the third largest congregation of birds in Orissa.
Astasambu or the Eight Shivas have been a vital part of Bargarh and its vicinity. During the reign of the Chauhans there were many temples made that were dedicated to Lord Shiva. Amongst those there are eight temples that are considered to be of utmost importance and together they form the Astasambu. These temples are Bimaleswar Temple at Huma, Nilakantheswar Temple at Nilji, Kedarnath Temple at Ambabhona, Visweswar Temple at Soranda, Baidyanath Temple at Deogaon, Swapneswar Temple at Sorna, Mandhata Baba Temple at Maneswar and Balunkeswar Temple at Gaisama. These temples though being short heighted, they are a fine example of intricate carvings and artistic architecture of the Chauhan Dynasty.
5. The Mighty Mandap
About 10 km away from the Nrusinghnath Temple one can sight an old Buddhist cave. This cave is called The Mighty Mandap. The cave dates back to the early Buddhist settlements about the time when Hiuen T’Sang visited the region and was mentioned as the Buddha Vihar in his works. The Mighty Mandap is an evidence of the Buddhist architectures of the bygone days.
Bargarh is famous for the various cultural festivals and has a richly blessed heritage. The place is a must visit when in Orissa as it takes you to the cultural tour. It is advised to visit Bargarh during the winter months especially during the Dhanuyatra festival.