Tourist attraction Ranipur-Jharial bears immense historical importance

Around 200 temples can be witnessed on the rocks at Ranipur

Bhubaneswar: If you have a passion for historical monuments having with some religious value, take a trip to Ranipur-Jharial. The twin village in Balangir district houses some rare temples and structures.

Attractions on the rock

The 9th-century Indralath temple in Ranipur-Jharial is made off bricks. The Chausathi Yogini shrine houses idols of 64 deities and a Bramha temple. The Someswar Mahadev temple bears immense historical value. Besides, the large Yantras, carved on the rock, are the main attractions of this archeologically important site.

History

Ranipur Jharial is mentioned as ‘Soma Tirtha’ in the scriptures. Perhaps it takes the name from the Someshwar Mahadev temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, found on the rocks of this historical site.

As per historians, the Somavanshi Keshari kings built many temples in Ranipur-Jharial that can be dated back to the 9th/10th century AD. However, some other Historians assign the date of the structures to 8th century A.D. Yet, at the top of all, it is unquestionably a place having with the ancient structures of historical and religious importance.

64 Yogini temple
Chausathi Yogini temple at Ranipur Jharial, Photo:balangir.nic.in
The Chausathi Yogini shrine

The Chausathi Yogini shrine found in Ranipur-Jharial is a rock structure in round shape. It houses idols of 64 Hindu deities, known as yoginis. The shrine also has a rock statue with a perch at the centre, which is claimed as the idol of Lord Brahma. Importantly, unlike temples of other deities, Brahma shrine is rarely found.

Indralath temple
Indralath temple at Ranipur-Jharial, Photo credit: ignca.gov.in
Indralath temple

A unique structure, the Indralath temple of Ranipur-Jharial is one of the tallest ancient brick temples in the country. Height of this temple is 80 feet including the platform that is made off sandstone. While the ancient pinnacle of this temple is destroyed, the temple is more or less intact. The innermost sanctum of this temple houses a recently installed Linga. Besides, it has also the images of Lord Vishnu, Kartikeya, Uma-Maheshwara, and Narasingha.

Someshwar Mahadev temple

The Someshwar Mahadev temple in Ranipur-Jharial has idols of Goddess Durga, a bull (transporter of Lord Shiva), and a Dwarapala (gatekeeper). On the lintel of the entrance to the innermost room (Garbhagriha), Goddess Gajalaxmi is also seen by the side of the Shivalinga. On the entrance wall, a deity, possibly a Buddha or a Siddha in dhyana-mudra, is found.

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The Yantras

Yantras are a religious drawing which is believed to be the abode of the Gods and Goddesses. We know about Shree Yantra, Kuber Yantra, etc. which are drawn on a 2-inch square copper plate to be placed at the worship place in a house. But here in Ranipur, one can witness gigantic yantras carved on the rocks which are a rare sight to witness. These carvings are claimed to be related to Tantra.

Yantras in Ranipur
Yantras carved on the rocks of Ranipur-Jharial Photo: Seema Kohli
How to reach

Ranipur-Jharial is located in the Bangomunda block in the Titlagarh subdivision of Balangir district. Around 200 temples of different dimension are found here. The place is located at a distance of 110 kilometers from the district headquarter Balangir. It is 25 km from Titilagarh, the nearest town. Nearest railway stations to approach this destination are Titilagarh Junction and Balangir Railway station. On the roadways, one can either come from Titilagarh or from Balangir. If you are setting out from Balangir, move through Patnagarh and Kantabanji. Then at Bangomunda take a left turn at the ‘Golei chowk’. After traveling around 2 km take the kaccha road of 8 km to reach the destination. Hired vehicles are available at Balangir and Titilagarh.

Facilities 

Hired Boating facility in the nearby river is available in Ranipur Jharial. You can have the spectacular view of the number of temples on the rocks from the water body. A park has also been built here lately that houses a few animals.

Eateries

There is no hotels or eateries right at the destination and one should plan (for a to and fro journey) accordingly.

Best time to visit

Ranipur Jharial can be visited across the year. However, as such the temperature of Balangir district rises to a considerable extent during summer. Resultantly, the structure at Ranipur-Jharial, which is purely on the rock and without any flora and fauna gets boiled. Hence visiting this place in summer may not be a good idea. Thus, a visit to this place during the tough days of summer is not recommended.

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