Life Style

Jajpur tourist places – Things to do in Jajpur

Standing within the hall of the traditional Sapta Matrika temple in Jajpur in Odisha,  and searching into the open, I see the waters of the Baitarani River burning within the afternoon gentle. The temple devoted to the Seven Goddesses – Brahmani, Kaumari,  Vaishnavi, Varahi, Narasimhi, Shivaduti or Indrani, and Chamundi has simply closed however the priest tells me that the Seven Moms are the attendants of the principal deity, Maa Biraja and so they shield the complete city of Jajpur. He provides that the Dashashwamedh Ghat on the banks of the river, the place the temple can be situated is the place Jajpur’s story additionally begins. Including to the voice of the priest, our information Samantha takes us on a brief historical past class and offers us an inventory of Jajpur vacationer locations from historic temples like Maa Biraja Temple to the temples round Dashashwamedh Ghat and explains among the issues to do in Jajpur as a heritage vacationer fanatic. 

Historical past of Jajpur

Jajpur was the capital of King Jajati or Yayati of the Somavamshi or the Kesari Dynasty who dominated from modern-day Jajpur or Abhinava-Yayatinagara or Jajapura,  because it was referred to as them from the Ninth-Twelfth centuries. King Jajati, it’s mentioned, had organized an awesome yajna right here on the very ghats throughout the river and the city got here to be generally known as Yajnapura. However Jajpur’s historical past dates again to the prehistoric period and the Puranas have referred to it as Viraja and the river as Baitarini Tirtha, some of the necessary tirthas of India. It’s even talked about within the Mahabharata the place the Pandavas had purged themselves within the holy waters of the Baitarini.

Odisha Revisited

This isn’t my first journey to Odisha or to Jajpur, though I have to say that I used to be not conscious of the wealthy heritage and tradition of Jajpur once I had come to Odisha a decade in the past. I’ve written about Jajpur intimately in my publication Journeys and Jottings and for those who haven’t subscribed to it, a heartfelt request to take action (it’s free as effectively),  To chop an extended story brief, I used to be exploring the traditional temples of Bhubaneswar once I heard about three excavated websites on hillocks that have been stuffed with ruins of Buddhist monasteries and stupas. It was believed that the Chinese language traveller , Hieun Tsang, had explored the Buddhist websites additionally referred to as the  Diamond Triangle of Odisha, and I wished to comply with in his footsteps. And that’s how I landed within the district of Jajpur a decade in the past. You may learn concerning the historic Buddhist sites of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, and Lalitgiri here. that are  one of many Jajpur vacationer locations

Jajpur District

Jajpur is the title of each the city and district in Odisha and it’s a treasure trove of heritage, arts and crafts, and tradition and has a number of Jajpur vacationer locations which can be but to be explored intimately.  The traditional capital of many dynasties that dominated over modern-day Odisha, Jajpur has been of significance to Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains from a historic and non secular perspective with a number of archaic, time-worn, and primeval temples, monasteries, excavated websites, and monuments. Positioned about 120 km from Bhubaneshwar airport and nearer to the dual cities – (Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack), Jajpur is Odisha’s finest secret and is ready to be found.

HACT Jajpur – Why is Jajpur Well-known?

In three days we had a glimpse of the heritage, arts, and crafts of Jajpur and the immense tourism potential that it has. I used to be invited by the district administration who had introduced in administration consultants Ernst and Younger (E&Y) to construct Model Jajpur. And I used to be personally stunned to see that the administration was taking this initiative with the assistance of a consulting agency to advertise and put it on the vacationer map.

Jajpur Vacationer Locations

To the first-time traveller, Jajpur is disarmingly easy and has a nonchalant air round it. I discovered it uncooked and rustic,  like every other city or district initially, misplaced in its personal obscurity. To the untrained eye, it looks as if Jajpur is a cluster of cities and villages within the rural hinterland of Odisha. However as you see it with a pair of recent eyes and contemporary views and look past the plain,  you understand that it’s a treasure trove of historic historical past. It’s like peeling layers off an onion. Each layer reveals a aspect of its heritage and tradition. And you are feeling like you’re on a treasure hunt, discovering not simply the websites but additionally the chronicles of historical past, from prehistoric instances.  It’s a microcosm of Odisha itself with a plethora of cultural traditions and misplaced arts and crafts and untold tales.

Issues to do in Jajpur

Pattern this for a second

  • Jajpur is the capital of a number of dynasties of Odisha and it has even discovered point out within the historic texts and Puranas
  • The Maa Biraja Temple is without doubt one of the 51 Shakti Peeths within the nation and Goddess Durga who’s worshipped as Biraja is the patron deity.
  • There are over thousands and thousands of Shiva Lingas discovered in all places – excavations to hidden temples and Jajpur known as the land of the Koti Lingas
  • Apart from 1000(s) of temples, there are 15 Buddhist and 6 Jaina websites in Jajpur that are among the Jajpur visiting locations.
  • The Buddhist websites showcase structure that dates to the early first millennium and has been penned by Chinese language traveller Hieun Tsang.
  • Jajpur is the house of weaving, particularly tussar silks – there are over 1700 registered weavers in Gopalpur alone which has about  700 households and is over 400 years previous. Gopalpur tussar additionally has a GI tag connected to it.
  • Jajpur can be residence to a number of distinctive crafts and craftsmen and ladies and weavers – there are over 100 stone sculptors,  golden grass weavers,  bamboo grass artisans, and terracotta potters in addition to painters, musicians, singers, dancers, and folks artists and performers.

Temples of Jajpur

Once we consider Odisha, the Puri Jagannath temple involves our thoughts together with the architectural wonders of Konark Sun Temple. Bhubaneshwar has a number of historic temples too together with the divine Lingaraja Temple. Steeped in antiquity,  the center of Jajpur lies in its historic temples too with distinctive traditions, legends, rituals, and festivals. There are a number of temples in Jajpur – we visited three major temple complexes which had a number of shrines round them. The Maa Biraja temple, which is without doubt one of the Shakti Peethas is devoted to Goddess Durga who’s worshipped as Biraja Maa or Girija as Adi Shankaracharya had consecrated the deity. One of many largest temples in Jajpur, Maa Biraja is the presiding and patron deity of Jajpur and you may really feel the divine vitality right here.

Maa Biraja Temple – Shakti Peetha

Maa Biraja is the very epitome of the Shati cult and the stainless deity is the incarnation of Goddess Parvati or Sati and the primary mom goddess based on the Vedic Puranas. Positioned on the banks of the Vaitarani or the Baitarani River , the temple has been in existence because the Gupta period, though the Goddess has been worshipped within the types of an altar and a pillar Goddess because it was in these days. The current temple was constructed a lot later within the Thirteenth century within the Kalinga model of structure. Though Maa Biraja Temple is understood extra as a pilgrimage vacation spot, it’s now one of many major Jajpur vacationer locations.

Whereas there are 108. 64 or 51 Shakti Peethas as some historic non secular texts point out, 18 of them are indicated as Ashtadasha Peethas. As per the Puranas, Maa Shakti as Sati was born to Daksha, the king who married Bhagwan Shiva in opposition to her father’s needs. The king then carried out a yagna and didn’t invite each of them however Sati attended the identical with none invitation. As she couldn’t bear her father’s humiliation, she jumped into the sacrificial hearth and self-immolated. Lord Shiva in his anger took the type of  Veerbhadra and beheaded Daksha. He then in his anguish carried Sati’s corpse and carried out the cosmic dance that led to the destruction of the universe. The Gods then sought Bhagwan Vishnu’s intervention who used his Sudharshan Chakra on Sati’s corpse. The elements of the physique fell on totally different elements of the earth and these areas got here to be generally known as Shakti Peethas. Adi Shankaracharya’s sloka on Shakti Peetha Stotram additionally mentions the checklist of the Shakti Peethas. Apart from India, it’s believed the Shakti Peethas will be present in different nations like Nepal, Srilanka, Bhutan, and likewise Pakistan.

It’s believed that the Nabhi or the navel fell on this a part of Jajpur and the temple was constructed there. That is additionally the one Shakti Peeth the place you possibly can supply “pind daan” or choices and oblations to ancestors and fogeys who’ve handed away. The Nabhi Gaya is a effectively of providing which is fathomless. In response to one other legend, a demon named Gaya prayed to Bhagwan Vishnu and have become a pure soul when he was liberated. When Bhagwan Brahma did a yagna, Gaya’s physique was used for sacrifice and he requested that the Trinity remained on the three locations the place his physique lay which have been known as Pitr Shetras. As his navel or Nabhi was by the banks of the Bijrani River and the Yagna or the ceremonial sacrifice was carried out by Bhagwan Brahma himself, it’s believed that the deity resides on this place. It’s believed that the traditional Biraja Kṣetra changed into a Pitṛ Tīrtha and Nabi Gayā and developed out of the navel of the demon Gayā. Some Puranas mix each legends as effectively and you may hear totally different variations.

The temple advanced has a number of smaller shrines devoted to the Hindu pantheon of Gods and Goddesses however primarily Bhagwan Shiva and Maa Shakti are the primary deities. Sculptures and carvings, together with mandapas and an previous temple tank will be seen right here. There are 4 gates and on the entrance of one in all them, you possibly can see two rooms stuffed with Shivalingas, a few of them are Sahasralingas –  miniature Shivalingas carved on a single bigger Linga.

On the entrance of one of many gates, you possibly can see a Bakul tree with sculptures of Shiva Linga and the Maa Shakti. In response to the native perception, the priest ties a crimson fabric over your head after which devotees could make a want and tie a small crimson ribbon with crimson bangles on the branches of the bushes. It’s believed that the crimson ribbon is a part of the apparel of the goddess and you should purchase them from the priest. As soon as the needs are fulfilled, the devotees return right here and take the ribbon they’ve tied and let it float within the river. I did the identical and I do hope I can return to Jajpur and the temple quickly once more to finish the rituals.

Barahnath Temple and Surya Bhagwan Temple

The second cluster we went to was the Varaha or the Barahnath temple devoted to Bhagwan Vishnu as Varaha ( the avtaar or in type of the boar) and you too can see a brightly painted  Surya Narayana temple right here with the Navagrahas or the 9 Planets as effectively on the outer wall. Surya Bhagwan is depicted as seated on a chariot pushed by seven white horses.

The ceiling artwork on the Yajna Varaha  Temple as its referred to as is beautiful whereas the complete temple advanced has a number of smaller shrines as effectively. Positioned barely 5 km from the Maa Biraja temple, this temple advanced can be situated on the banks of the river and is without doubt one of the Jajpur visiting locations.

Jagannath Temple and temples aroumd Dasaswamedha Ghats

The third cluster is across the Dasaswamedha Ghats with previous temples devoted to the Goddesses Lakshmi and the Sapta Matruka. You may also see temples devoted to Maa Savitri, Ganeshji and Bhagwan Shiva as effectively.

However the primary temple right here on this advanced is the shimmering Jagannath Temple in white constructed initially by the King Anangabhimadeva of the Ganga dynasty. The temple was rebuilt after it was destroyed throughout the wars. You may nonetheless see remnants of the unique temple right here. The temple which is believed to be the second abode of Bhagwan Jagannath and his siblings results in the Dasaswamedha Ghats, the place cremations additionally happen right this moment, like within the Dasaswamedha Ghats of Varanasi. It’s believed that historic sculptures have been discovered by the river banks just lately as my information Sumanthji provides that these idols could have been thrown within the river throughout instances of conflict in order that they are often shielded from being destroyed.

Jajpur can be known as Tantra Khetra or Kshetra and the female Shakti vitality is omnipresent in all places. Among the sculptures of the deities, particularly the goddesses remind me of the carvings within the Chausath Yogini temple in Hirapur close to Bhubaneshwar. A tall sculpture of Shiva is underneath building right here as effectively. The temples should not simply non secular monuments – they’re souvenirs of the traditional rituals and traditions and so they maintain a mirror to the inventive abilities of the sculptures of the period and so they take you on a journey to the historic previous as effectively.

Steeped in antiquity they’ve an aura of historic instances and virtually make you are feeling like you’re in a special period, with out the trimmings of the fashionable interval. Whereas visiting temples is without doubt one of the major issues to do in Jajpur, you too can discover different monuments like step wells and temple tanks round them and perceive extra concerning the structure.

Buddhist Excavated Websites – Ratnagiri and Udayagiri

Jajpur isn’t just a pilgrimage vacation spot for the Hindus. Hieun Tsang or Xuanzang, the Chinese language traveller talked about Jajpur in his chronicles when he visited the Buddhist websites – Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, and Lalitgiri. As I discussed earlier, I adopted in his footsteps and got here to Jajpur for the primary time virtually a decade in the past. It’s my third time right here and I’m, as all the time mindblown by the huge sculptures and carvings in these excavations. These excavations at the moment are getting fashionable amongst vacationers as they’re included in an itinerary amongst Jajpur visiting locations.

The courtyard is stuffed with heads of Buddha

The Buddhist triangle additionally referred to as the Diamond Triangle of Odisha refers back to the hills of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri, and Lalitgiri the place stays of historic Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Strewn round with monasteries, stupas, relics, seals, stone tablets, and statues, these hills have been known as Ratnagiri, or the hill of treasured gems, Lalitagiri, or the crimson hill and the Udayagiri, the hill of the rising solar. It’s believed that Hiuen Tsang in his chronicles referred to the Diamond Triangle of Odisha as “Pusipokili, a spot of studying maybe referring to historic Pushpagiri College that may be in comparison with the likes of Nalanda. It’s now believed that he’s referring to the Diamond Triangle of Odisha- Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, and Udayagiri the place the college was as soon as situated. Whereas Ratnagiri and Udayagiri are within the Jajpur district, Lalitgiri is in Cuttack.

A carving of Buddha in Ratnagiri

In Ratnagiri, you possibly can see two monasteries and one giant stupa adopted with a number of smaller votive stupas which have been all constructed within the interval between the Fifth-Thirteenth centuries. Terracotta seals have been found right here bearing the title “ Ratnagiri.” In response to historians, Ratnagiri was established across the Fifth century by the Gupta kings and the area flourished until the Thirteenth century. It housed a Buddha monastery which was constructed within the Fifth century. The ornate door,  carved in inexperienced granite and stuffed with sculptures leads me to a courtyard that has extra sculptures of Buddha as effectively.

The ornate door to the primary monastery

Udayagiri is the most important excavated web site with two parts-Udayagiri 1 and Udayagiri 2. Udayagiri generally known as Madhavapura  Mahavihara was a distinguished heart of Buddhism between the seventh and Twelfth centuries. You may see a number of stupas, monasteries and sculptures from the Buddhist pantheon of deities mendacity within the open. There’s a Chaitya Griha right here with a number of smaller stupas. You may learn extra about Ratnagiri and Udayagiri on my blog here.

Diamond Triangle of Odisha - Buddhist triangle of Odisha - Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri, Udayagiri

All of the three websites have been as soon as websites of prominence, not even in vacationer maps

Arts, Crafts and Rural Tourism of Jajpur

If you consider Odisha you consider the colorful patachitra and sand artwork. Each village in Jajpur is a Raghurajpur within the making and has the potential of changing into a heritage and crafts village. The gifted craftsmen and ladies of Jajpur are prolific in each artwork and craft, be it sculpting or weaving. There are crafts handmade with golden grass and bamboo as effectively. There are potters and painters, musicians, singers, dancers, and folks artistes. Weaving is without doubt one of the major occupations of a lot of the villagers from Jajpur, particularly tussar silks.

We visited two villages – Gopalpur and Antia, the previous is a cluster of weavers who’ve been round for over 400 years and the latter has a cluster of ladies who’ve specialised within the artwork of crafting stunning merchandise with the broadly grown golden grass also called Kaincha domestically.

These villages are simply an instance of how arts and crafts and rural tourism will be developed and promoted in Jajpur in Odisha. Village walks, interactions with locals, and studying extra concerning the arts and crafts and native traditions are experiences by themselves.

Gopalpur Tussar

Gopalpur Tussar is particular and stands out distinctly for its weave, particularly for tussar silks. The whole village has about 1700 registered weavers because the ability has been handed on from one era to a different, generally even seven generations. A stroll inside this heritage village is an expertise – to fulfill the weavers and perceive the processes and methods when you may even purchase tussar silk sarees or dupattas or materials from the self-help teams and rural advertising and marketing communities as effectively.

The village can be a treasure trove of different arts and crafts and forgotten musicians and musical devices like Kendera and Khanjari.  Whereas the misplaced melodies echo via the lanes you possibly can properties painted with murals depicting shiny geometric patterns in a method referred to as Jhoti or Chita, whereas there’s a third model of portray referred to as Muruja. Greater than the artwork, it’s the artists and artisans who steal your coronary heart right here as you possibly can sit right here and have conversations with the lads, play with the youngsters and share amusing with the ladies whereas appreciating their magnificence and expertise.

Jajpur Well-known Meals

You may’t go to Odisha and never have the scrumptious Chena Poda or the well-known Pahala Rasgulla, which was initially supplied as Kheer Mohana, one of many objects within the menu of the “Bhog” for the triad deities on the Puri Jagannath Temple. In Jajpur this time I did attempt some of the scrumptious native cuisines at one of many native eateries referred to as Odiyanee Thali. We tried the native Thali with over 20 dishes. We additionally had a fast buffet in a smaller eatery which had some scrumptious vegetarian meals as effectively.  Listed below are among the objects which can be thought of Jajpur well-known meals, particularly in case you are a vegetarian

There was Badi Chura which is sun-dried lentil dumpling crumble with mustard oil seasoning. We additionally had a particular daal or lentil referred to as Dalma, which is ready with native and seasonal greens and spices. Dahi Baigan, which is eggplant or brinjal cooked with spices. For some who isn’t a fan of brinjal, this was so scrumptious. There was a vegetable curry referred to as Desi Ghanta Tarkari and Saga Muga, which is spinach cooked with dal and greens like yam and uncooked banana. One other specialty is Chhatu Poda which is a banana leaf-wrapped roasted paddy straw mushroom cooked with spices and curry paste. My favorite is the Ambula Rai, which is sun-dried Mango cooked in curd, mustard paste & jaggery with mustard seed tempering and Kakharu Fula bara that’s deep fried pumpkin flower in Gram flour and Rice flour batter.

Find out how to attain Jajpur

Jajpur is effectively related by air, by prepare, and by street. The Biju Patnaik Worldwide Airport in Bhubaneshwar is about 100 km away and it takes somewhat greater than two hours. Jajpur Highway is the closest rail head as effectively.  Whereas Jajpur to Bhubaneshwar distance is a bit more than 100 km, Cuttack to Jajpur distance is about 76 km . Greatest time to go to is winter throughout the months of October to March. You may discover Jajpur in three days.

The place to remain in Jajpur

Jajpur has a wide range of inns, however primarily finances inns.  Jajpur city inns are principally within the finances or three-star class as of now however extra are being developed in Jajpur District. There are a few five-star and four-star properties and we stayed in top-of-the-line – Jajati Courtyard situated close to Jajpur Highway and nearer to the city. My journey was courtesy of the District Administration of Jajpur.

I used to be invited to Jajpur together with different media professionals for the Jajpur Mahotsav, a musical extravaganza and a pageant that includes among the prime singers, actors and different celebrities of Bollywood like Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Sona Mohapatra, Ayushman Khuranna and the sensible Amit Trivedi amongst others. The occasion was top-of-the-line I had attended and we spent the day exploring Jajpur District and the evenings at Jajpur Mahotsav.


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