Rock Painting and Lithography of Bikramkhol
On the Jharsuguda-Lakhanpur Road at about 25km. from Jharsuguda there is a village known as Banjari. In the vicinity of the village the ancient cave of Bikramkhol is located. In this inaccessible dense forest ancient people lived surviving on fruits, roots and animal meat. During 4000 BC there was evolution of human civilization in the region and a script was developed by them.
There are some ancient script engraved in the wall of Bikramkhol and also paintings of animals. Circular holes have been dug in the wall where weapons, dress and other articles of use were being kept suspended. Even on the floors circular holes have been dug to pound the grains. Bikramkhol has been declared a tourist spot by the Central Government and tourists, historians and researchers from all over the country and abroad.
Ruins of Hill Forts of Ulapgarh
On the Jharsuguda-Belpahar Road at a distance of 21 Kms. from Jharsuguda there is a village known as Lajkura. In the vicinity there is a hill known as “Maheswar Pahad” where the remains of an old holy fort attracts the attention of historians, researchers and tourists.
On the foot of Maheswar Pahad, there is small village called “Ulap”. About one kilometer from the village, the ruins of Ulapgarh are situated. At this place, the Maheswar pahad is about 1000 ft high and on the top there is a huge plain surface. On this rectangular plain stone surface the fort of Ulapgarh had been constructed. The plain stone fine surface is about 400 metre long and 250 metre wide. On the eastern side of the fort there are almost about 7 kms. Of densely forested Baramunda Hills and on the Western side, the Belpahar Railway Station is located at a distance of 5 kms. On the north there is a dense forest stretching up to Hemgir and in the South stretching up to Badjob village.
A 12 ft. wide and 150 mts. Long moat had been constructed which stretches from east to west. There was a Sivalingam and a place of worship in the Fort. A well had been dug on the stone floor which provided drinking water to the inmates of the Fort through out the year.
On the stone floor, there are many square holes and 70 round holes. The diameters of the hole vary from 1-3 inch. Wooden poles used to be put on these holes to support super structures for living room, store room, arsenals, Kitchen, sleeping room etc.
About 1000 people could take shelter at Ulapgarh at a time. On the western side of Ulapgarh and down hill there is Ushakothi cave. On the walls and floors of this cave also there are many circular and square holes. Probably the defence personnel of the fort used to suspend there clothes and other belonging from wooden poles fitted to these holes. The soldiers of the dense forest of Maheswar hill could easily over power and defeat the enemies before they could climb up the hill and attack the fort.
It is believed that Ulapgarh was being used as a residential fort by some kings of “Naja” Dynasty. Research is going on by various Indian and Foreign researchers and Historian in this direction.
Padmasini Temple of Padampur
At a distance of 70 Kms. from Jharsuguda, there is Hirakud reservoir on the left side of village Bhikampali. Just at the point where the river Mahanadi leaves the than Madhya predesh and enters Orissa to pour in to the Hirakud reservoir, there was once a town called as “Padampur”. The famous Sanskrit dramatist “Bhabahbhoti” was believed to be born here. Moreover, it is said that “Bajrajan’ Tantra marg of Buddhism took origin here.
Goddess Padmasini is the reigning deity of this town. The temple of “Padmashini’ was constructed in 7th century A.D. by a Chalukya king of South. However the original temple had met decay and was believed to be reconstructed by the Chouhan king of Sambalpur in 16th century. A look at the “Jagmohan’ of original temple reveals striking resemblance with architecture of the Chalukya era.
Even the stone statue of goddess Padmasini bears striking similarities with the style of the Chalukya period. In the whole Orissa Padmasini Temple is a unique example of Chalukya art and architecture. In 1956 Padampur town was submerged in Hirakud reservoir, but the deity has been shifted to a new temple at nearby ‘Pujaripali’.
Who had constructed the temple in the 7th century puzzles many historian & researchers often.
Ramchandi: An ancient Shaktipitha
This important place of ‘Shakti Worship’ is located 10 km. away from Jharsuguda town inside a cave.
Rampur Dandapat (Jamindari) was created during the reigning ‘Chhatrasai Dev’ the 7th King of Sambalpur (1657-1695). One Khytriya youth of Rajpotana belonging to Gaharwal family ‘Prannath Singh’ with his velour subdued the local aborigines of Rampur area in IB basin and received Rampur area as Jagirdari from Chhatrasai Dev, the ruling king of Sambalpur. The Rampur Jamindari had an area of 786 sq.miles.
From the remote past Davi Ramchandi is being worshiped as the reigning deity of Rampur region. The Shrine is famous not only on the Rampur area but throughout the western Orissa. Many pilgrims and devotees come to the Rampur cave from far and near to visit and worship the goddess Ramchandi.
Koilighughar water fall (Lakhanpur)
The Koilighugar water fall is situated 55 kilometer away from Jharsuguda in the Lakhanpur block near the village Kushmelbahal. A rivulet named ‘Ahiraj’ takes origin from the ‘Chhuikhanch’ forest and while flowing through its rocky belt falls from a height of 200 ft. creating the water fall of Koilighugar. After the fall the rivulet flows west wards to merge into the river ‘Mahanadi’. It is a picturesque beauty spot with its sylvan back drop.
Inside the fall there is a Shivalingam known as ‘Maheswarnath’. The lingam is submerged in water and not ordinarily visible. If somebody tries to see it from inside the water in winter and summer the lingum is visible under the reflected sunlight, hence for the benefit of the pilgrims another Sivalingam has been created outside the waterfall.
There is an “Ashram’ of a holy man “Saham swami’ near the water fall. Every year a fair sits in Kalighugar on the occasion of Sivaratri.
Ancient Siva Shrine of Jhadeswar Temple, Jharsuguda
The ‘Jhadeswar’ temple is located at a distance of about 1 km. from the Jharsuguda Railway station beyond the old town ‘Purunabasti’ inside a small forest.
There is a self appearing (Swayambhu) Sivalingam here the actual age of which is unknown. But during the reign of ‘Govind Singh’ Jamindar of Jharsuguda the lingam was being worshiped inside a hut made up of leaves. In 1916 a Gujarati contractor named “Mulju Jagmal’ erected a small temple here. The Jamindar of Jharsuguda arranged Savayats for daily worship and donated agricultural lands for maintenance of the temple and puja.
The temple was renovated in 1969 by philanthropist from Calcutta Lt.Surajmal Mohota.
Since 1916 a fair takes place here on every Sivaratri day. The Jhadeswar temple area has important significance in the history of Jharsuguda. On the eastern side of the temple the original ‘Jharguda’ settlement has grown. On its northern side there was a settlement of ‘Gond subject’ of the Jamindar of Jharsuguda. Jhadeswar temple is recognised as original Siva shrine.
‘Adyaswambhu pitha’ of Jharsuguda. A Small beautiful garden has been grown near the Jhadeswar temple which is used as a picnic spot because of its scenic beauty.
Shree Pahadeswar Temple, Jharsuguda
It is situated at the top of a small hill on the eastern side of Jharsuguda and is another place of attraction in the District.
The temple was constructed by a Gujrati Contractor Lt. Bitthal bhai Saha in 1921. With its natural surrounding viz. Garden, Ashsram etc and because of easy accessibility, it attracts a lot of visitors. From the hill top a bird’s eye view of Jharsuguda town enthralls the visitors.
Shiva Shrine of Mahadebpali
On the South East direction of Jharsuguda and on the bank of river Bhaden there is an ancient Sivashrine’ at Mahadebpali. The study of local history reveals that, there was a small kingdom of a ‘Haihay King’ in this region. A Siva temple had been constructed by the king on the river bank. The king of Ratnapur (Surguja) attacked this kingdom in concern with the marriage of the only daughter of the Haihay king’ and during this aggression the ‘Haihay King’ was killed and his kingdom was destroyed.
In the 16th Century ‘Balram Dev’ the 1st Chouhan king of Sambalpur occupied this fort and there was a war between the Sambalpur king and the Ratnapur king, as a result the importance of the ‘Bhogaragarh’ fort declined.
For a long time the ‘Bhogaragarh’ fort and the surrounding temples remained abandoned. As a result the temples near the fort decayed. A few years back the villagers of Mahadevpali constructed a new temple at the original site.
As the history of local area is clearly linked with this temple it is considered to be one of the Astaswayambhus of Jharsuguda district. Every year fair takes place here on the day of Sivaratri.
Historical Kolabira Fort
This fort is situated at a distance of 17 kms. From the Jharsuguda town on the bank of river ‘Telen’.
The Kolabira Jamindari was formed during the reign of Lt. Jayat Singh (1781-1818) the Chohan king of Sambalpur. It had an area of 278 sq.kms… It was bounded on north by villages Arda, Dhutura, Baijapli and Bamra kingdom. One Manasdhar Singh was the 1st Jamindar of Kolabira. During the 13th Century the ‘Gond’ tribe was ruling the Gondwara region (Modern Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh). At that time small Gond kingdoms such as Kherlu, Betal etc. were created. During the later part of 14th Century, the Gond kingdom disintegrated. As a result the ferocious Gonds migrated in large numbers to the Sambalpur kingdom and settled there.
During the 16th Century the kings of Sambalpur appreciating the physical prowess, valor and loyalty of Gonds gave them shelter as subjects and the Gond Chieftains were given responsible posts in the earning. Jayant Singh the King of Sambalpur had appointed ‘Mansadhar Singh’ as the Jamindar of Kolabira.
After Mansadhar Singh his son ‘Karunakar Singh’ (Nayak) took charge of Kolabira Jamindari. At this time Maharaja Sai was the king of Sambalpur and after his death his widow Queen Mohankumari was made the queen, but the actual administration was done by the British. As a result, there was an armed revolt started against the British. The queen was sent as pensional to Cuttack and the British appointed an old Khytriya named ‘Narayan Singh’ as the king of Sambalpur.
BirSurendraSai, the Chauhan Jamindar of Khinda started armed revolution against British and Karunakara Naik the Jamindar of Kolabira Joined the revaluation as a follower and his property was confiscated because of his support to Surendrasai. The shrewd British authorities declared clemency to those who surrendered and to escape gallows and to get back the Jamindari. The rebel Kolabira Jamindar alternately surrendered. But illegally and treacherously he was hanged in the jail premises of Sambalpur on 11th February, 1858. The British army in the mean time had blown the palace of Kolabira Jamindar by Cannons, later the son of Karunakar Nayak appealed before the ‘Court of Wards’ at Nagpur and got back his confiscated Jamindari and properties in 1860. The English repaired the damaged palace and fort as compensation. At present the descendants of Kolabira Jamindar recide in the premises of the old fort which is grossly damaged. In the history of freedom struggle Kolabira is known as ‘Agni Tirtha’. Many people including historian and researchers visit this place often.
Source : jharsuguda.nic.in