The Prachi river flowing through the Prachi valleys is called the Saraswati of the east of India. The mysterious Saraswati has disappeared centuries ago. But the Prachi river, even under limited circumstances, is still flowing relentlessly. The Prachi Valley is famous for the magnificent monuments built on the banks of the Prachi River. 7th. to 16th In the middle of the century this region was a very prosperous region. Most of the monuments were built in the same time period. These monuments include brick temples, stone temples, monasteries, stepwells, shrines, ghats, forts, harbors, sand dunes, etc.
The Prachi Valley has been witness to the co-existence of different religious ideologies. Among them Jain, Buddhist, Shaivite, Shakti and Vaishnava ideologies are prominent. Most of the monuments located here have been destroyed over time. What remains now is certainly a living testimony to the glorious civilization that was once flourishing in the region. Out of 150 monuments located here, only 2 monuments come under the Archaeological Survey of India. 15 The monument is under the protection of the State Archaeological Department.
The Chedi dynasty of Kharavela, Shailodbhava, Bhaumkar, Somvanshi, Purvi Ganga dynasty, Gajapati, Mughal and Maratha dynasties are among the dynasties belonging to this region.
Mahakavi Jayadeva created a great artwork by sitting on the banks of the holy river Prachi. Geet Govind was composed.
Prachi Valley – Road Trip in Odisha
Prachi Valley is located at a distance of 15 km from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha. The extent of this valley is about 54 km and it is connected with Khordha, Cuttack and Puri districts. The Prachi River originates from a small village called Dakamba, located near the Naraj Dam in Cuttack, and joins the Kadua River in the opposite direction, 3 km from the Debi mouth of Puri. It then ends in Keutjung.
Bhubaneshwar-Phool Nakhara-Adaspur or Bhubaneshwar-Uttara-Balipatna, from both these directions you can reach Prachi Valley. My favorite and memorable route is Bhubaneshwar-Phool Nakhra-Adaspur, in which we also have darshan of Niali, Chaurasi Amareshwar, Gopa and Balipatna.
One cold Sunday morning, I went out to visit the Prachi Valley. After going about 15 kms on Bhubaneswar-Cuttack National Highway 16, stop for refreshment at a place called Pahal. Pahal is especially famous for its fresh fried Rasgullas. There are many shops on both sides of the national highway where these rasgullas are available. But I suggest you to go to the shops of Prachi Bazar Vanik Sangh, located under the bridge, on the right side of the highway, to taste this local delicacy. The name of this union is also named after the Prachi Valley, under which this Pahal region comes. You must also try another local delicacy, Chhena pod, which is made from chenna prepared by tearing milk.
After refreshment I proceeded towards Phool Nakhra while riding my bike on the highway. Turning right came on Addaspur-Niali State Highway 60. My first stop on this circuit was the Shobhaneshwar temple at Niali in Cuttack district.
Near the entrance of the Shobhaneshwar temple I met a huge statue of Nandi. The 48 feet high Shobhaneshwar Temple is situated on the left bank of the Prachi River. The Kalinga style temple has Pidh Jagmohan (sanctum sanctorum) and Rekha Vimana means Rekha Shikhar (peak hole). The remains of the pillars in front indicate that there may have been a Natya Mandapa at some point of time.
It is estimated that this vibrant temple was built by Emperor Anangabhima Deva III of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 12th century. It was done at the end of the century. The inscriptions written in the Udra-Magadhi language on the walls of the temple give information about the Jagirdar Nagvanshi King Vaidyanath who would have taken the responsibility of this temple after the Ganga dynasty.
Sandstone has been used in the construction of this east-facing temple. Inside it is a Shivling which is installed inside a circular yonipeeth.
Mahashivratri is the main festival here. There is a small museum in which rare statues of Madhav and other deities obtained from the Niali area are on display. This temple is at a distance of about 23 kms from Phool Nakhra.
Must Read: Chausath Yogini Temple of Hirapur Odisha
Madhavananda Temple at Prachi Ghat
My next stop was the very beautiful Madhavananda temple located in Madhav village which comes under the Niali section of Cuttack district. The 49 feet high Madhavananda temple is a rekha vimana containing the pedestal Jagmohan. The Kalinga style Natya Mandap has a flat roof. This east facing temple was built in the 13th. Eastern Ganga dynasty in the middle of the century. Sandstone has also been used in the construction of this vibrant temple. The presiding deity of this temple is the four-armed Madhava who is an incarnation of Vishnu. His statue is sculpted on black chlorite. The idol of Garuda carved in granite is very panoramic.
Janmashtami, Dol Purnima and Ram Navami are the major festivals here. You can take the afternoon Mahaprasad in the temple by giving prior notice. This temple is located in Puri Lord Jagannath’s maternal uncle’s house is believed. This temple is about 30 kms from Phool Nakhra and about 7 kms from Shobhaneshwar.
Angeshwar Mahadev Temple
Through the narrow roads of the village, I reached the Angeshwar Mahadev Temple at Nua Pitpada in Cuttack district. The 14.25 feet high Angeshwar Mahadev Temple is a rekha vimana of the Kalinga style. This east facing temple was built by the Somvanshis in the 10th century. It was done in the century. Baked bricks have been used in the construction of this vibrant temple, which is not easily visible in this part of India. The most astonishing fact is that this temple built by bricks survived the catastrophic cyclone in 1999 even when that cyclone destroyed everything in this area. The presiding deity of this temple is Patalfuta Shivling, which is seated on a circular yonipeeth.
The main festival of this temple is Mahashivratri. Nearby is the Vishwanath temple which is a unique heritage. If time permits, then definitely visit this temple. This temple is about 52 kms from Phool Nakhra and about 18 kms from Madhavananda temple.
Must Read: 24 Scenic Elements At Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple
Chaurasi ka Varahi temple
My first stop at Puri after crossing the Cuttack district is the most beautiful of all the temples in this circuit. That is the Varahi temple of Chaurasi village. The Varahi Temple, located in the strangely named Chaurasi village, is situated on the right bank of the Prachi River. The 15.84 m high temple has a Khakhara Vimana and a square Jagmohan. This east-facing temple built by sandstone was built by the Somvanshis in the 10th century. It was done in the century.
The presiding deity of this temple is the two-armed mother Varahi. He has a fish in his right hand due to which he is also called Matsya Varahi.
Located in a lush green garden, almost the entire structure of this temple is monolithic. It is now looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India. This temple is very famous for its unique curved engravings and motifs. The Surya engraved on the back of the temple is very special. Dussehra and Razza are the main festivals here.
This temple is about 57 kms from Phool Nakhra and about 7 kms from Angeshwar. You can also come to this temple through Angeshwar Chowk located in the direction of Nimpara-Kakatpur which is only 2 kms away from here.
Famous Gangeshwari Temple of Prachi Valley
My next stop in Puri district was the Gangeshwari temple which is located in Byalisbaati of Gopa Khand. The 15.85 meters high temple has a Khakhara Vimana and a generation Jagmohan (Pavilion) of Kalinga style. This vibrant temple is very unique due to its facing in the south-west direction. It is also constructed by sandstone. The special element of this temple is its pylon. You must have darshan of the stunning Varahi present in the form of Parshwa Devi.
The presiding deity of this temple is the four-armed Mahishasuramardini. This temple is believed to be a replica of Konark temple.
Dussehra, Chaitra Tuesday, Shola Puja etc. are the major festivals of this temple. This temple is about 18 kms from Varahi temple. You can also reach this temple through Amreshwar Chowk located in the direction of Nimpara-Kakatpur which is only 2 kilometers away from here.
While coming back from this temple, do not forget to eat Komal Chhena Jheeli. These are fried sweet balls of chenna, which were invented by Neempada’s self. Artabandhu was done by Sahu’s family. The task of managing his ‘Artabandhu Sweet Shop’ now rests on his son’s shoulders. Those who love to eat and write about different food items must come here.
Read more: Ancient Birja Devi Shaktipeeth – In Jajpur Nagar, Odisha
After a short ride to Puri district, I turned back to Khordha district to visit Buddhanath Temple. Situated about 27 kms away from Gangeshwari Temple, this temple is situated in Garedi Panchan village under Balipatna section. This temple is situated in the picturesque backdrop of Garedi Panchan and typical rustic perspective. The 21.85 m high temple has a rekha vimana and a generation Jagmohan of Kalinga style. This east-facing temple was built by the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 13th century. It was done in the century. This vibrant temple is also constructed by sandstone. Laterite has been used in the construction of two platforms located in the temple premises. The architectural motifs of the temple, especially Parvati and Kartik are very visible.
Mahashivratri and big Osha festival
Mahashivratri and Bada Osha are the major festivals here. Maa Amritlochani is the village devi of this village who is worshiped in an ancient temple of Buddhanath temple complex. One has to cross a distance of 24 kms from Bhubaneshwar via North Chowk to reach here.
On the way back to Bhubaneshwar, stop at Balkati, a little before North Chowk, and watch the process of making bell metal artefacts. Artifacts made of this metal are very famous here. Using this metal, artisans have been making beautiful brass vessels and temple bells for many centuries. From here these items are supplied to many places in Odisha and outside Odisha.
One Day Tour of Prachi Valley
I had completed the tour of these wonderful places located in the heritage circuit of Prachi Valley in one day. Apart from these, you can also visit some other places, which are as follows:
- Kurum Buddhist site
- Madhukeshwar and Bodhikeshwar Temples of Deolidharpur
- Kakatpur Mangal Mandir
- Jaydev Peeth of Kenduli Village
- Hirapur Chausathi Yogini Temple
Must Read: Raghurajpur – Village of Pattachitra Artists in Puri
- Public transport facilities are not available for visiting most of the heritage areas. I suggest you arrange a car hire for yourself.
- Roadways are convenient for vehicles. The amazing scenes seen on the way introduce us to the rural life.
- Public facilities like toilets, canteens and eateries may not be available on all routes. As far as possible, use fuel station toilets and accessible toilets.
- Most of the above mentioned sites are located in rural areas which are away from the main road. Therefore, carry enough water and food with you.
- Adequate signs are available at all the necessary places along the route which will give you easy access to these temples.
- You will definitely find food and snacks at places like Pahal, Phool Nakhra, Niali Neempara and North Chowk.
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This is a guest version written by Mr. Tarnisen Pattnaik.
Shri Tarnisen Pattnaik is a Post Graduate in Business Management (MBA). He is an accountant by profession and has great interest in historical and geographical heritage. He grew up in the temple town of Bhubaneswar which is also the capital of culturally vibrant Odisha. He is a travel enthusiast who spends his free time going solo on his motorcycle. They travel in search of such national heritage about which people know little. They are also particularly curious to know the cultural dimensions of their home state. He keeps on writing detailed editions about his travels and cultural heritage at www.bbs rpulse.com/blog. His versions are particularly related to Odisha. He has a strong desire that the Prachi region should be included in the tourist circuit of Odisha soon.
Translation: Madhumita Tamhane