Mahavinayak Temple

Mahavinayak temple is a major centre of pilgrimage and one of the oldest Ganesha temples in Odisha and also a major shaiva pitha or centres of Odisha. Previous names of Odisha are Orissa or Kalinga or Utkal. In Odisha there are five different Kshetras or religious centers celebrated for these Pancha Devata (Five God)viz: Vinayaka or Ganesh kshetra at Mahavinayak hills in the district of Jajpur, Vishnu or Sankha (the attributes in the hands of Lord Vishnu) Kshetra at Puri, Shiva or Ekamra Kshetra at Bhubaneswar, Durga or Biraja Kshetra at Jajpur or Yajanapur. Surya (Sun) or Arka Kshetra at Konark. Mahavinayak enshrines the five god heads in one Lingam. It is a place of worship for Ganapati. Since Ganapati or Vianyak is revered here so its name is ‘Mahavianyak’. Few years back a new beautiful Hanuman temple has been constructed near to the entrance of mahavinayak temple. This is the latest attraction added to the already famous tourist location.

The special of Mahavinayak temple is that the Pancha Devata [five Gods] ‘Shiva’, ‘Vishnu’, ‘Durga’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Ganapati’ are worshiped as a single deity in a single Garbhagriha {in Odia it is Garbha gruha} or sanctum sanctorum. In no other Hindu temples such tradition of worship is present. This is the reason why in this temple there is no pahada [Normally after pahada all Hindu temple closes. This is the sleeping time for Gods].Since ‘Shiva’ and ‘Vishnu’ are worshiped in a single sanctum sanctorum so both leaves of Bilwa (Aegle marmelos) and leaves of Tulasi (Basil) are used in prasadam and instead of Batula Bhoga , anna (rice) prasadam are offered here. This is also very unique in this temple.

Location of the place: There is no revenue village/area as Chandikhole and the place is so named after Goddess “Chandi” worshipped by late monk Baba Bhairabananda Bramhachari who established the deity of Maa Chandi in one of the adjoining hills of Barunei full of dense forest and ferrocious animals in 1932. The revenue village is in Darpani under Darpan ex-estate in Jajpur district, Orissa. Chandikhole has special position in Orissa and its people and who can forget the line “Manda pitha gol gol chal jiba Chandikhole” and Chandikhole Peda made out of Khoya (skimmed thickened milk).

It is 40 km north to Cuttack besides National Highway (NH 5) and South Eastern Railway and 4 km away from NH towards west via Sukinda-Paradip Expressway and also 70 km away from state capital Bhubaneswar in the same NH 5. The nearest bus stop is at Chandikhole chhak(4 km) and the nearest railway station is at Dhanmandal and Haridaspur both 6 km distant with auto rickshaw facility throughout.The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar.

One long hill of the Eastern Ghat mountain ranges named Barunei or Baruna or Barunabanta adjoining 7 hills stretches from southeastern railway line up to Darpanigarh in east-west direction with beautiful green covering full of perennial source of water(spring) in side it from bottom to the middle of the hill. The mountain looks like a Sleeping Elephant.

This place is also included in connection of “Golden triangle pilgrimage plan” such as Rantagiri-Lalitgiri (Buddhist Sculpture centers), Chatia Bata and Chandikhole. The Govt of India is assisting for their improvement. In first adjoining foothill base, there is the temple of Goddess Chandi and in the second foothill base there is the famous temple of Mahavinayak. In both the places there are perennial springs(named Golden Spring) with pucca swimming ponds for bathing. Just at the middle of the hill and just above Mahavinayak temple there is another temple dedicated to Maa Banadurga with the miracle that the perennial source of water/spring is also present there at a height of 100 meters. One can go there using the steps(around 120) and the road facility to the temple is under construction.

Mahavinayak temple is well connected by both train and road. The nearest railway local stations are stations are Dhanmandal railway station and Haridashpur railway stations. Both are just 6 KM away. After reaching the station an auto rickshaw can be hired to reach this pilgrim place. One can trek down through the road and reach the temple while enjoying the natural beauty.

Major railway stations are Jajpur road station, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar station. Cuttack station is 40 KM away from temple and Bhubaneswar station is 69 KM away where as Jajpur road station is around 35 KM away.

Legends: It is a place of both mythological and historical importance. This sculpture (i.e. the Mahavinayak temple) has been constructed by the kings of Keshari Dynasty of Orissa during the 12th century and later it became the centre of worship of Darpan King.

Rati Devi, the wife of Kamadev worshipped here for the release of her husband from the curse of Lord Shiva for which while she was offering her prayer to Lord Ganesh simultaneously five hands were stretched out towards her to receive her offer and she,being in dilemma, when prayed to Bramha, Bramha clarified that five Gods named Ganesh,Sun,Vishnu,Shiva and Durga had been over pleased with her prayer and at a time they had stretched their hand to receive her offer. So Kamadev was released thereafter and from the very day five Gods unitedly in one granite stone with huge size had emerged from the earth there.

This place is also related to Mahabharat legends. The Baruna hill area (i.e. The Barunabanta) was the capital of Yudhistir. From this place he left for the heaven by making royal charges of his empire to a teli (an oilman whom he saw first before dawn) who later became the king and his palace was named as Teligarh and the remaining of his palace is still seen just at the opposite side of the hill and the temple. The rehearsal place of Bhima is still known as “Bhima khala”. During the Mahabharat battle, mother Kunti also offered one lakh swarna Champa flowers (Golden Champa Flowers) to Lord Shiva from this place for the victory of her sons to fulfill her wish.

As per another legend the detached head of Lord Ganesha fell at this place and so the place is named as Vinayak Kshetra.

Moreover, the importance of the place came to light and became popular when a cowherd boy discovered some strange sight of secretion and flowing of milk from the nipples of a calfless cow to offer feeding to the undiscovered deity. Then it became famous gradually and it claimed to be one of the best holy places not only of Orissa but also in the pilgrimage map of India as Five Gods congregated as one stonic form is unique.

Effect on tourism: This place has a special place in the tourism map of Orissa particularly for Shaivas(worshipper of Lord Shiva). It is a perfect picnic spot for trekkers and religious people with its densely wooded hills and sylvan spring that flows perennially through its green glades. One can reach Chandi temple through forest route from Mahavinayak temple.Its natural beauty attracts many tourist from nearby places and neighbouring states during winter and summer season. Both lodging and temple boarding facilities are available for pilgrims to stay. It is maintained by The Endowment Commissioner of Orissa with one Trustee board.

In fine, the panoramic view of the adjoined seven hills Barunei with green natural forest covering full of wild animals, its perennial springs, serenity and holiness of both Shrines with the morning and evening hymns full of devotional musical sounds, its herd of naughty monkeys snatching Bhoga(Prasadam) from the visitors inculcates the sense of devotion, sacredness and enjoyment for some moment. Their mind being detached from the hurly burly of this terrestrial life tends towards heaven to acquire heavenly bliss and above all the visit of the place leaves an indelible impression on the mind canvas of the visitors. May God Mahavinayak and Goddess Chandi bless all.

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