Baliharachandi temple

The temple of Baliharachandi is one of the important Sakta shrines of Orissa. It is situated on the sea-shore in Brahmagiri area of the Puri district. This shrine is exactly located 6 km to the left side of the Kathuabada Chhak of the main road, which lies between Puri and Brahmagiri and also 27 km to the south-west of Puri town. Due to its picturesque location amidst thick growth of Casuarina trees, devotees usually visit the shrine of Baliharachandi. The temple gives a majestic appearance in view of its location on a huge sand dune overlooking the blue water of the Bay of Bengal. The Goddess Baliharachandi is considered by people as one of the Asta-saktis of Orissa. Hence the site of the temple is an important Sakta pitha of the Puri District. The shrine is also one of the notable Tantric pithas of ancient Orissa. According to tradition, the present temple was built on the ruins of an earlier dilapidated temple. The temple of Baliharachandi is erected over a sandy ridge of 25 feet high from the road level. A modest attempt has been made in this article to highlight the art and architecture of this temple.

The temple of Baliharachandi consists of two structures such as vimana and jagamohana. Both the structures of the temple are heavily plastered with lime mortar. It is built in sand stones, which is locally known as Baulamala and Kanda patharas. This temple faces to east.

Baliharachandi is also regarded as goddess of water and navigation, who protects the boatsman and fisherman, when confronted with danger in the sea. This temple has relation with the Sri Jagannath temple in respect of a ritual on the Mahanavami day in the month of Ashwina. Festivals like Navaratri, Durga Puja, Chaitra Mangala Bara, Ramanavami etc. are observed in this temple with great devotion. An image of Goddess Kali is found at the base of the back Rahapaga of the Baliharachandi temple near Puri. Here Kali holds a serpent. She holds a skull and a severed head by her left hands. She stands in Alidha pose on the body of Lord Siva. Baliharachandi temple is a protected monument of Orissa State Archaeology and under the Endowment Department, Government of Orissa.

Baliharachandi temple located at the beginning of the river Bhargavi is not just a pilgrim site but also a scenic spot. This place is also famous for stretches of sandy beach and the meeting point of river Bhargavi with the Sea. It attracts lots of tourist to enjoy the natural site of beach and to seek divine blessings and eternal happiness. The sunrise and sunset scene of beach is amazing for touristis. The tourists can also enjoy sunbath on the calm and quite sea beach of Baliharachandi. The scenic beauty of this place is ideal for group picnic.

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