Tourist Places of Sambalpur
Situated on the western zone of Orissa, Sambalpur is the headquarters and the largest town of Sambalpur district. Sambalpur derives its name from Goddess Samaleswari, an incarnation of Shakti who is worshiped as the presiding deity of the region. Mother nature is very generous to Sambalpur in providing vivid hues of the exotic wildlife, exquisite array of hills, mesmerizing waterfalls and rich tribal life and culture. Another spectacular attraction for the visitors is the Karama folk dance performed especially on the festive occasion of Bhardrav Ekadashi (August/September).
Sambalpur is world famous for their unique pattern, design and texture particularly tie and dye Ikat work popularly known as Sambalpuri Textiles.
HIrakud - Just about 20 km northwest of Sambalpur, the great marvel of architecture and science on the river Mahanadi stands the mammoth and majestic Hirakud dam. Completed in the year 1957 it is one of the longest dam in the world. From one side to another the reservoir forms the biggest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 Sq.km having a coast line over 640 km. Driving down twentyone km along the dyke offers a breathtaking experience. The panoramic view of the gigantic Hirakud Dam and the fantastic expanse of water from the revolving towers, Gandhi Minar at the northern end and the Jawahar Minar on the southern side is worth a lifetime experience. Prior permission required for visit from the Police.
Ushakothi - Located at a distance of approximately 22 km from the Sambalpur district, the calm and peaceful Ushakothi has lived to the reputation of being one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Orissa. Unexplored adventure is sure to leave you astonished. Nesting a wide range of animals that includes tiger, elephant, sambar, black panther, boar, leopards and many more species. Since these creatures are mostly active during nights, one has to take a jeep safari at night to get a close view. Ushakothi also thrives with rich flora and fauna which offers ample opportunity for tourists to enjoy the captivating landscapes.
Chiplima - Chiplima is famous for its waterfall and the Hirakund Dam. Located about 37 kms from Sambalpur, Chiplima is an popular picnic spot where one can relax with his family. The natural waterfall is 80 ft. high and is second hydro-electric project of Hirakud Dam and is being used for generating electricity. Mostly inhabited by fishermen the place is also known for housing the Ghanteshwari Temple. The State Live Stock Breeding Farm and an Agricultural Farm are also located here.
Huma - Just half an hour drive from Sambalpur and on the bank of Mahanadi is the pilgrimage place of Huma. The village contains Leaning Temple dedicated to presiding deity Bimaleswar or Lord Siva. The place is a great scenic spot visited by many to see the strange fish (Kudo) in the river. Sivaratri festival is celebrated with much fanfare by the people of the area.
Vikramkhol - Around 80 kms from Sambalpur and inside a thick forest is the Vikramkhol Rock Shelter. The crescent shaped rock contains illegible inscription of the ancient era. This pre-historic find is of significant importance and is yet to be decoded. The massive rock shelter measures 37 meter in length and 8 meter in height. These inscription believed to have been engraved in 1500 BC is popularly known as the Vikramkhol inscriptions.
Pradhanpat - The Pradhanpat hill is lending its beauty with one of the most visually pleasing waterfalls of the state. The hills are covered with greenery and the waterfall through them seems as various colour spreading from a prism. An ideal spot for picnickers and trekkers. The Pradhanpat Falls is located at a distance of 100 Kilometers from Sambalpur and also at a easily approachable distance from the city of Deogarh. There are two guest houses named Basanta Nivas and Lalita Basanta near the Pradhanpat falls. The true beauty of this place can be enjoyed perfectly from these guest houses.
Approach : Well connected by road and rail to all major cities of the state. It is 321 km from the capital city of Bhubaneswar.
Hirakud Dam (16 km) – One of the longest Dam in the world, Hirakud stands in its lone majesty across the great river Mahanadi which drains an area of 1,33,090 Sq. km more than twice the area of SriLanka. The bulk of this Dam contains earth, concrete and masonry materials, "sufficient to make a road 8 metres wide and pave it from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and Amritsar to Dibrugarh in Assam. From horizon to horizon the reservoir forms the largest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 Sq.km having a shore line over 640 km. A twenty-one kilometres drive on the dyke affords a unique experience of calm serenity and majesty of nature. One can enjoy the sight of the mighty Hirakud Dam and the fantastic expanse of water from the top of the revolving minaret called Gandhi Minar on the north end and comfortably stay at Ashok Nivas,a luxury Guest House adjoining the Nehru Minar at the other end of the Dam. As the largest multipurpose river valley project of the world, it is a real gift to the nation-"all for happiness and prosperity".
Ushakothi (48 km) – The famed wildlife sanctuary at Badrama has already gained prominence among the international tourists as a place of destinational tour. Among various fauna of tropical forests, the sanctuary preserves elephant, tiger,gour,sambar, black-panther,deer, wild boar and many other species. One could have a sight of these animals from the watch towers near the saline tank or the water/holes. One could as well drive along the forest roads and watch them. Ushakothi is on the N.H.No.6.A forest rest house at Badrama (3 Km) provides accommodation whose reservation authority is D.F.O.,Bamra,district Sambalpur.
Chiplima (36 km) - The place has gained prominence as the second Hydro-Electric Project of the Hirakud Dam. A natural fall of 80 ft. (24.39 metres) high in the river Mahanadi is made use for generating electricity. The place is mostly inhabited by fishermen whose deity 'Ghantlei' is very popular in the neighboring areas. The State Live Stock Breeding Farm and an Agricultural Farm are located here.
Nrusimhanath (165 km) - The temple of Vidala-Nrusimha stands at the foot of the picturesque Gandhamardan hills. On the other slope of this hill are the famous Harisankar temple and the captivating waterfalls. It gained a place in history in the early part of Christian Era being famous as 'Haranapapa' (destroyer of Sins) among the ancient pilgrims. In his account Hiuen T'sang referred to this place as Po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li or Parimalagiri which was a renowned seat of Buddhist culture. The ruins found on the plateau at the hill/top, about sixteen km long, speak volumes in mute voice. Local traditions ascribe that this is a part of Gandhamardan Hill which Hanuman carried on his shoulders from Himalayas to save the life of Laxmana. The hill is also rich in medicinal herbs and the entire surrounding is very pleasant in summer. This place is 100 Km from Bargarh. A Panthashala (Tel. No. 2436) here provides accommodation to the tourists.
Huma (32 km) - Famous as the abode of Lord Siva, Huma contains the lone leaning temple of Orissa and also famous as a scenic spot of great excellence. The river Mahanadi flowing close by abounds in fish (Kudo fish) which are never caught. The popular belief is that they belong to Lord Vimaleswar. Facility for cruising in the river by country boat is available for a nominal price.
Vikramkhol (26 km) - To the west of Jharsuguda Railway Station, it is a cave containing Pictographic Inscription (1,500 B.C. or even earlier) of great antiquity. This pre-historic find is of remarkable importance and is yet to be deciphered. The plaster-cast of the inscription can also be seen in the Orissa State Museum at Bhubaneswar. Vikramkhol is 88 km by road which is unmetalled.
Pradhanpat (96 km) - The Pradhanpat hill with its picturesque waterfalls offers a rare scenic beauty. These falls are close to Deogarh town which is attractively situated with the background of wooded hills. Two beautiful guest houses named Basanta Nivas and Lalita Basanta have been constructed by the ex-rulers of Bamra and are now under the management of the Works Department, provide accommodation. Reservations are made by the Executive Engineer, National Highway Division, Sambalpur. There are a number of temples in the town of Deogarh notable among which are of Gopinath, Jagannath and Gokarneswara. Deogarh is 96 Km from Sambalpur on N.H.No.6.