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Dhabaleshwar: A Miracle Of Lord Shiva

They say you can find a temple in every lane in India and a lot of times it will be true! Religion plays an important role in keeping the cultural fabric of India together and you will see devout locals and residents visiting their deities often to pray, meditate, find inner peace, and help in times of trouble or just to give their thanks. One such temple is the Dhabaleshwar Temple in Cuttack.

All over the country different gods reside and rule over the citizens. While there are many famous and renowned temples, there are smaller temples dotting the countryside with stunning architecture and stories behind them.

What Is So Special About This Temple?

shiva temple photo
The gate keeper by syam. under CC BY 2.0

Located on a scenic island called Dhableshwar, this temple is around 27 km from Cuttack. The river Mahanadi flows peacefully around the island giving you a sense of calm and a view that is unparalleled.

Odisha’s first ever foot hang bridge connects the island to Cuttack which is the main way of reaching the temple. Built in 200-0, at 245 metres it is the longest suspension bridge in India. Called the ‘Dhabaleshwar Jhula’, visitors can walk across the bridge to reach the temple and even click pictures with the beautiful Mahanadi flowing below them. Tourists are charged a nominal fee for using the bridge.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple with its pristine white structure combines intricate work with modern craftsmanship. While the temple looks relatively new, the carvings on the statues indicate style and architecture around the 10th century. The island gets its name from the temple ‘Dhabaleshwar’ which means White in Sanskrit and Oriya (Dhabal) and God (Eshwar). It is an avatar of Lord Shiva.

You can find the mention of Dhabaleshwar in many ancient texts. Locals can also be found narrating stories and myths about the history of the temple and the Gods.

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Originally constructed by Bir Kishor, the ruler of Khurda, it is said he came upon the ruins of a temple during his visit to the area and decided to rebuild it. Bhubaneshwar Development Authority is in charge of the current care and renovation of the temple and structures.

A courtyard full of statues and other gods surrounds the Dhabaleshwar Temple. Tourists and travelers can catch a glimpse of chiseled black stone or granite statues of deities, gods and goddesses in their many avatars.

The ‘Shivalinga’ is located in the inner sanctum of the temple. Devotees, locals and tourists often offer milk as a sign of respect and love.

Colorful celebrations, stalls and a fair is usually held during auspicious month of Kartika called ‘Bada-osha.’ Approximately 10 lakh devotees and locals make their way to the temple during the fair to honor and celebrate Lord Shiva. Shivaratri and many Purnimas (full moons) are also celebrated with equal fervor and excitement at Dhabaleshwar. Purchase local sweets, flowers and offerings from the stalls and shops around the temple.

January and February is often a busy time at Dhabaleshwar since the weather is cooler. The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation manages and runs a dormitory for guests and weary travelers to rest and freshen up. The rates are minimal and they can also arrange boat rides for tourists to enjoy.

Tourists and travelers can reach the temple by bus or take a boat and soak in the views of the Mahanadi flowing around them. Or you can take a ferry from in or near Cuttack.

It is a perfect weekend getaway from Cuttack or anyone visiting the state of Odisha and wants to explore the temples. The island offers an appropriate setting for a picnic or a day of leisure with family, children and for couples.

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Featured Photo: Gesture by quinn.anya under CC BY-SA 2.0

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