Orissa- a state well known for its tribal communities, artistic handicrafts, prolific artists, ‘iket’ textiles, temples, beaches, wildlife sanctuaries and what not. Orissa is a northeastern state very well known for Konark Temple. But apart from that Orissa is also known for many heritage tourist spots, and one among the those is the Raibania fort.
Raibania is one of the oldest group of the forts in Orissa which now sadly is in the list of ancient ruins. The fort is situated in Baleswar district of Orissa around 3.2 km from the river Subarnarekha. The fort is said to be built in the 13th century, by the royal king of Ganga dynasty, King Langula Narasinghadev, the fort is regarded as one of the biggest medieval forts in Orissa.
Raibaina was the main ground where the soldiers used to practice their skills such as martial arts. The fort is very famous for its marvelous architecture, and designs. The walls of the fort are said to be built in the shape of an irregular pentagon and the entire fort is built using sandstone, laterite stone, red stone, paste of limestone and mud. Raibania has four forts inside it. Many among them are in ruins. The fort is also said to house a barrack, storehouse, and a palace.
There are basically three gateways for the entrance; west side, east side, south side, and the north side and each side is said to be covered with lush green sugarcane forest. The fortified area is also said to have many tanks, as many as 26 tanks are found in the area, the probable reason for a large number of tanks being there, was to provide water for the soldiers. One of the interesting facts is that all these tanks are given names dedicating to certain prince and princesses and even warriors.
There’s a well called Joda Halia Kua. The well is still known in the Raibania for its unique structure. The specialty is its distinct structure, having a staircase going circularly downward so that one could easily step down and drink water. Thinking a well with a staircase is something hard to imagine, but visiting this age-old fort is an experience, one can witness the power and knowledge of ancient architecture which is difficult to find nowadays. Sat Gambhira Attalike is another popular place to see inside the fort. Apart from that, there is a temple popularly known as Jay Chandi Temple, the temple is almost covered with vegetation making it difficult to explore. The temple was dedicated to Lord Jagannath.
Due to natural calamities like flood, storm most of the structure of the fort is in ruin, and most of the things of the fort are under excavation. The fort being 776 years old is of profound importance adding to the value of Indian heritage. The architecture demonstrated in this fort cannot be seen in any of the forts in Orissa.
Raibania fort may have ruined but it stands for great historical significance. It was built for the rulers of Ganga dynasty, for their protection and made sure that no foreign invasions were possible. Highly fortified walls and Subarnarekha fencing from three sides and fourth side covered with large thick forests made sure that no attackers could get inside.
History is all about the past and Raibania Fort in Orissa is something one should not miss if they want to know how amazing the ancient architecture was.
Photo by AURO KUMAR SAHOO