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Tourist Places To Visit In Baripada
A municipality that also serves as the headquarters of the Mayurbhanj district in northern Orissa, Baripada is a culturally and traditionally versatile region in the state. It is a town that makes for a great weekend trip from cities nearby, while also serving as an important base within the district from where tourists can plan out trips to all key attractions in the region. A city that is known for being surrounded by culturally rich landmarks, here is a list of some of the best places to visit in and around Baripada.
Simlipal National Park
One of the chief attractions around Baripada is the very famous Simlipal National Park, which is also known to be the largest wildlife sanctuary in the country. It has one of the most important tiger projects in India, along with amazing biodiversity in the form of hundreds of plant and animal species that make it a haven for wildlife and nature lovers. Moreover, the park also boasts beautiful green meadows, dense forests and spectacular waterfalls that make it a fantastic place to enjoy picnics and short excursions as well. This diverse wildlife reserve remains open between the months of November to June, with the winter months being the best time to be here.
Khiching is situated around 126 km away from Baripada and the Kichakeswari Temple located here is its main claim to fame. Made entirely out of chlorite slabs, the temple is one of a kind in India and is dedicated to the sacred goddess of the district’s ruling kings. A temple dedicated to goddess Chamunda is another attraction in the vicinity, which is quite renowned for its stone carvings. There are numerous other temples in the area that are testament to the expertise observed in the Kalinga style of architecture. Khiching also has a small museum that contains important sculpture and art specimen.
Jwala Mukhi Temple
The Jwala Mukhi Temple is dedicated to the goddess Jwalamukhi – the goddess of light – and features a blue flame that is constantly burning within a rock chamber of the temple. While it is a significant Hindu temple, it features a remarkable dome made entirely out of gold that was constructed as a gift by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Navratri is one of the best times to visit the temple, when hundreds of devotees flock to the monument to celebrate the festival with a lot of grandeur.
Palace of Mayurbhanj
The district of Mayurbhanj was once a princely state during the time of British occupation. The palace of Mayurbhanj is a beautiful white structure that served as the residence of the Mayurbhanj Maharajas. It was sold to the government of Orissa after independence and became one of the most significant landmarks of Baripada. Even though the structure needs a lot of renovation, the lush green surroundings provide a lovely scenic spot to spend some time in.
The Baripada Museum was established in 1903 by the Mayurbhanj ruler of the time, Maharaj Sriram Chandra Bhanjadev. The museum holds rare artefacts like sculptures, historically significant documents, terracotta art pieces and other exhibits that showcase the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the tribal dominated area. However, the museum often remains closed lately due to shortage of staff and lack of maintenance within; if you are lucky enough to visit on an open day, be sure to pay the museum a visit.
Manatri is situated 38 km from Baripada and is best known for the temple of Kakharua Baidyanath, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is surrounded by water channels from the Gangahar River on three sides, which creates a beautiful spectacle that attracts a lot of visitors. The festival of Shivratri also brings in a lot of devotees to the temple.
The Jagannath Temple of Baripada is the host of the annual Rath Yatra or Chariot Festival, which is a grand affair and second only to the Rath Yatra celebrated in Puri. A giant chariot that carries the shrine of Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) across the town and is pulled by devotees themselves, marks the most important aspect of the festival. The rituals and practices of the festival in Baripada are unique from those celebrated elsewhere – women devotees are the main carriers of the chariot here and given priority over other devotees. This distinguishing feature attracts a lot of female worshippers in the area, where they also pull the chariot of Maa Subhadra along with Lord Jagannath.
Around 16 km from Baripada, Haripur is a town that once served as the capital of the Bhanja Dynasty and was founded by Maharaja Harihar Bhanj in the 14th century; the city previously known as Hariharpur. The temple of Rasikaraya, built by Baidyanath Bhanj, is the main attraction in this region, with the inner courtyard of the temple holding the ruins of the Ranihansapura, or the residence of the queen. While the temple remains predominantly in a dilapidated condition today, it is still a unique piece of ancient architecture that attracts a lot of tourists. There are also adjoining temples of Radhamohan and Jagannath in close proximity to the Rasikaraya temple.