Dhauligiri, also known as Dhauli, is a hillside lying on the banks of the River Daya, is situated 8 km south of the state capital Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Dhauli hill is believed to be the battleground of the Kalinga War. Dhauli houses the splendid edicts of Ashoka imprinted on a mass of rock, lying beside the road heading towards the hill summit.The edicts are inscribed on the polished rock face measuring 15 feet (length) by 10 feet (height) and number 13 including two special Odishan edicts.
The marvelous Shanti Stupa or Peace Pagoda is also located here. The grand dazzling white Peace Pagoda or Shanti Stupa can be spotted on the hilltop, constructed in 1972 by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. It consists of massive white structure in the shape of a huge dome with a wide terrace enclosed by walls containing crouching lions. Niches in the outer walls of the pagoda contain four massive stone images of Lord Buddha in the standing, sitting, sleeping and meditative postures.
The word ‘shanti’ in the name itself suggests peace. Since King Ashoka adopted the path of peace and tranquility and resorted to Buddhism, he laid the foundation of Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa at a place which is known for the end of Kalinga War. Here, one finds the edict of Lord Budddha which is visited by numerous Buddhist devotees.
One can also spot a number of stupas, chaityas as well as pillars whose foundation was laid by King Ashoka. There also exist a number of edicts that display King Ashoka’s intention to promote joy, peace and contentment all through the world. And over the edicts, you come across a rock cut elephant that is considered to be the earliest Buddhist sculpture in Orissa.Standing 4 feet high, it is sculpted with great skill and solid grace.
The overall structure of the stupa is in the shape of a dome. One can spot the Buddha footprints as well as the Bodhi tree over the stone panels. Over the panels, one also spots the image of Ashoka who keeps his sword of war in front of Lord Buddha suggesting that he had given up the idea of war completely. In the vicinity of this stupa, there lays a monastery named as the Saddharma Vihar Monastery, which is much visited by the Buddhist devotees.
On the top of the northern edge of Dhauli, stands the reconstructed Shiva Temple of Dhabaleswar.
Quirks in shrines of Orissa
Orissa is known to the world for its array of ancient temples, spanning across centuries. No wonder its capital is known as Temple City. However, some of these temples have in-built peculiarities and stand out among many. some of these unusual shrines that are as famous for their quirky architecture or otherwise as the deities.
also known as Anantashayana Vishnu (both literally “sleeping on the serpent Shesha”), is a large open air rock relief of the Hindu god Vishnu, carved during the early 9th Century in the Saranga village, under the Parjang police station, in Dhenkanal district of Orissa, India. It is located on the left bank of the Brahmani River. It is the largest such exposed rock cut structure in the horizontal position measuring 15.4 metres (51 ft) in length, in the whole of India, while the largest standing image is of Gomateshwara in Southern India. It is a protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, Bhubaneswar Circle. Worship is still offered to the four armed reclining Vishnu.
Huma temple: Leaning wonder
Bordered by dusty villages and open countryside, Huma village is located on the bank of the river Mahanadi, 23 km south of Sambalpur. Here, Mahanadi is seen to be hurrying on a rocky bed with grace and grandeur. Huma is the abode of Lord Vimaleswara. Hundreds of devotees flock the shrine everyday. The prime attraction of the place is a strange leaning temple that makes it so unique. Nobody knows if this structure is leaning by design or by default. One interesting fact is that while the edifice leans, the pinnacle of the temple is perpendicular to the ground. Amazingly, all other structures on the premises are also leaned.
Chausathi Jogini Mandir: Circular shrine
Chausathi Jogini Mandir is situated in Hirapur, 20 km from Bhubaneswar. The temple is believed to be built by Queen Hiradevi of Bramha dynasty in 9th century. It’s built in a circular fashion. The inside of the circular wall has cavities, each housing the statue of a goddess. There are around 56 such idols, made of black granite.
Kichakeshwari: Ancient temple
Kichakeshwari temple is a seat of Chamunda (Kali) located in Khiching, which was the ancient capital of Bhanja rulers in Mayurbhanj. The largest temple of the town is dedicated to Goddess Kichakeswari, the family goddess of Mayurbhanj kings. The original temple dates back to 7th or 8th Century, with repairs done over the centuries.
Taratarini: Mountain of faith
This is one of the major Shakti peethas of India where the twin goddesses Tara and Tarini are worshiped as Devi Sati and Adi Shakti. This famous Shakti/Tantra Peetha is located on the bank of Rushikulya. It is believed that the Tara Tarini shrine is one of the oldest pilgrimage centers of Mother Goddess and is one of the four major ancient Shakti shrines in India. The Hindu religious texts recognize four major Shakti Peethas at Bimala (Pada Khanda) inside Jagannath temple; Tara Tarini (Stana Khanda) near Berhampur; Kamakhya (Yoni khanda) near Guwahati and Dakshina Kali (Mukha khanda) in Kolkata.
Vaitaal: 3-headed shrine
Representing the Khakhara order of the Kalinga school of architecture, the Vaital temple of 8th century AD is one of the oldest temples of Orissa and one of the rare temples in the country that was used as a shrine devoted to tantric cult. The deul (tower) of the temple is the most striking feature of the temple. Built in a rectangular shape and positioned at a right angle to the Jagmohana (porch), the temple bears an affinity to the Dravidian gopuram of the South India temples. The roof vault is brought about from earlier freestanding buildings made up of wood and thatch.
Hingula: Worshipping fire
The holy place of goddess Hingula is situated on the bank of the river Simhada of erstwhile Talcher Estate in Angul. In Assam, there is a place of pilgrimage named Jwalamukhi where a similar goddess Hingula is worshipped. It is for this reason that the presiding deity of Talcher in village Gopal Prasad bears the form of fire named Goddess Hingula. Such holy-places of Hingula are also situated even in Karachi and Kabul. Both Hindus and Muslims worship at this holy place like that of Kaipadar in Khurda.
Tarini: Queen of forest
Tarini temple in Ghatgaon is the abode of a famous Hindu goddess dedicated to Tarini. It is said king of Kendujhar was bringing Tarinini from Puri to Keonjhar with a condition that if he turn back she’ll not move further. The king was riding a horse and the goddess was following her. The king looked back thinking she’s not coming. Due to the condition, Tarini stayed there.
Bhaskareswara: Tallest phallus
The distinctive aspect of this 7th century temple located in Bhubaneswar is it is a double-storied temple with a tall linga (9-ft high), said to be features of a mutilated Buddhist stupa built on a Buddhist monument. To enable devotees to reach the top of the linga, and to perform ritualistic worship, the bada is built in two tiers approachable by a flight of steps against the northern wall.
Kalijai: Island deity
Kalijai temple is located on an island in Chilika Lake. It is considered the abode of the Goddess Kalijai. Goddess Kalijai is actually Kali, the source and the first ‘Mahavidya’ of ‘Dasmahavidyas’. Highly revered by locals, the deity has been venerated in local folklores and legends. The island provides an excellent destination for pilgrims as well as tourists. Every year in January, a huge gala fair is held during the festival of Makar Sankranti.