Mahendragiri Hills – A Way to Heaven – A Good place for Trekking & Picnic – Gajapati District ,Odisha
Mahendragiri, is a mountain peak at in the Paralakhemundi (or Parlakhemundi) subdivision of the district of Gajapati, Orissa, India. It is situated amongst the Eastern Ghats at an elevation of 1,501 meters (4,925 ft). The Mahendra mountain is associated with east direction which clearly says that it is non other than [Eastern Ghats]. It is associated with mythological stories from the Ramayana as Mahendra Parvata (mountain). It is also Known as the Southern Amarnath of Orissa. a ‘Kula Parvata’ along with Malaya, Sahyadri, Parijatra, Shuktiman, Vindhya and Malyavaan.In the Puranas and Mahabharata that Parashurama practiced penance for a long time on the Mahendra mountain. The epic mountain Mahendragiri is situated in Gajapati district, Orissa.Legend says that it is the place where lord Parashurama,a Chiranjeevi staying eternally and doing tapasya.Temples built by Pandavas are seen.Main festival here is Shivaratri,the worship of Shiva,the guru or percepter of lord Parashurama.
Tourist Place – Mahendragiri Hills
Shivaratri was once more celebrated with pomp ,devotion and gaiety in Gajapati , and the main function was at the famous and historical Mahendragiri Hills .The administration had made elaborate arrangements for the a safe and smooth Shivaratri on the Mahendragiri Hills . More than 50,000 devotees from all parts of the state had reached the footsteps of the Mahendragiri Hills from where they trekked up the hills through the Burkat Pass .Ladies and aged women in large numbers braved the chill and dark night to go up the Mahendragiri Hills to have a glimpse of the Shiva Lingas inside the three temples namely Bhima Temple , Kunti(Gokerneswara) Temple and the Yudhister Temple supposed to have constructed by the Pandavas during their exile . Police in big numbers were present through out the route and also on the mountain top to face any law or order situation . Drinking Water supply , generator run electricity , first aid , foodinf and other arrangements were also efficiently maintained by the Revenue Department who are responsible for this annual function . In the other Shiva Temple of the town devotees had gathered in large numbers to and the temples were also brightly decorated ,coloured and lit up with lights for the occasion .
In the adjoining areas the Raiwalsa Temple near Teakkali , Mina Jhola near Rayagada ,Makhalingam near Hiramandallam ,Putingi near Mandaasa were also the few Shiva Temples where devotees from this place had gone in huge numbers . Early in the morning the Suryo Udyog(sunrise) was the major attraction for the devotees who waited for the first sunrays to break through before returning back home
It’s is a popular destination for all over south-eastern Orissa during MAHAA SHIVRATRI.
The Hills :-
The 5,000 feet high Mahendragiri hills, situated in the middle of Eastern Ghats in the Paralakhemundi sub-division of Gajapati district is 175 km from Berhampur. Though the major part of this hill range now comes under Andhra Pradesh, the 4,943 feet high peak Mahendragiri is actually located within the district of Gajapati, 51 km. to the south-west of Brahmapur. The place is 26 km. from the sea and lies exposed to the sea-breeze. The river Mahendratanaya flows down the mountain in the east through Mandasa and joins the Bay of Bengal at Barua which was once an important ancient port. Mahendragiri is foremost of the seven Kulagiris or principal mountains of India. The reference of Mahendra mountain in the ancient literature, accounts and epigraphy is wide-ranging and vivid. It finds mention in the works of poets Kalidas, Sarala Das and Radhanath Ray. Archaeological remains at Mahendragiri make an interesting study for the scholars. Sivaratri is the main festival here which draws a large crowd. This testifies the fact that it was once a centre of Saivite culture. The place is visited by about 1,600 tourists annually.
The Mahendragiri is a place of great scenic beauty. The place is surrounded on three sides by hills and thick growth of wild trees. The surrounding forests abound in peacocks, flying squirrels,elephants, spotted deer and even leopards and talking mynahs The view of the surrounding area from the top of the hill is enchanting. The range of granite hills on the north-west and south succeed one another like huge waves and the passage of clouds from peak to peak produces an ever-changing scene. The clear waters of the sacred Mahendratanaya, the blue sea at a distance and the mountain with its majestic beauty make Mahendragiri a trekker’s dream come true.
Mahendragiri Hills :- The temples on the hill
There are three temples on the top of the mountain. These temples are named after the Pandava brothers and their mother Kunti. Sarala Dasa, the author of Oriya Mahabharata, attributes the establishment of the Gokarnesvara Sivalinga to Pandava brothers who visited Mahendragiri during the period of their exile.
The Kunti temple is 30 feet high and is at one end of the flat top the mountain. It is in rekha style without any jagamohanaor plinth. The temple has been plastered with lime after thorough repair. In the side niche are parsvadevatas like Ganesha, Kartikeya and Pravati. The nabagrahas are in the lintel over the door jambs. Two inscriptions which may be paleographically placed in the 12th century A.D. are there, one to the right of the entrance door and the other on the left side of the temple. Some sculptures and dressed stone slabs are lying scattered around the temple.
The Yudhisthira temple rising abruptly from the ground level is in triratha style and is on the other side of the flat top of the mountain. The outer walls are devoid of any sculptural decoration excepting four Chaitya arches. There is no parsvadevata. The lintel of the door contains an inscription of the Chola king Rajendra Chola.
The Bhima temple, assumed by scholar to have been built just after the Gupta period, appears to be the earliest of these temples. It is made of five huge square sized blocks of stones and has low and squat tower, square sanctum, squat sikhara and flat roof. The doorway is narrow and the walls do not have any niche. Upon the last tier of the temple rests the amalakasila but the kalasa is absent. There is no sculptural decoration worth mentioning. This temple is often regarded as the Gokarnesvara temple of the place. In addition to these temples, there are three other huts like uncut stone structures arranged in groups.
How to go & Where to stay
- It’s only about 135 km from the district HQ chatrapur (ganjam) .
Mahendragiri is approachable from Brahmapur by three routes.
- The first route, the route currently in use, is upto Paralakhemundi, 115 km. from Brahmapur via Ichhapur – Palasa.
- The second route is from Brahmapur to Paralakhemundi via Digapanandi-R.Udayagiri and Rayagada which runs over a distance of 173 km.
- The third route is 126 km from Brahmapur via Ichhapur-Jarada-Kaipur and Paralakhemundi.
- To go to Mahendragiri one has to go to Paralakhemundi which is about 120 km. from Brahmapur via Palasa( Andhra Pradesh). From Paralakhemundi one can travel by bus for 46 km. i.e. upto Kainpur, 14 km. from Mahendragiri and then to Burkhat pass (5 kms) by jeep and finally proceed to the Mahendragiri hill (10 kms) on foot. Now the communication has improved and one can go upto the foothill by jeep.
Where to stay :-
There is no accommodation facility for the tourists. The nearest places where accommodation is available are Jeranga where there is an Inspection Bungalow of Works Department and Paralakhemundi where there is a circuit house, a Works Department Inspection Bungalow and other private hotel. Lack of communication and accommodation facilities forbid many interested tourists from visiting this place. If there shortcomings are removed the place will attract a greater influx of tourists.
Mahendragiri Hill Trek
- Location : Parlekhemundi, Gajapati District, Orissa
- Altitude : 1600m
- Fauna : Elephants, Spotted Deer, Leopards, Peococks, Flying Squirrels, Talking Mynas
Parlakhemundi in the Gajapati district is home to the gorgeous Mahendragiri Hill, which is the destination of plentiful trekkers who can, on a good day, sight elephants, spotted deer and even leopards.
The Mahendra Tanaya rivulet wends its dappled way through the forest, which abounds in peacocks flying squirrels and even the conversation mynas. Perched on a height of 1,600m the hill is about 115-km from Berhampur and 135km from the district head quarter chatrapur.