Dhenkanal district is located almost at the center of Odisha state. This district is surrounded by Keonjhar at the north, Jajpur at the east, Angul at the west and Cuttack at the south. It covers an area of 4595 sq km. as per the 1991 census, the population of this district was 9,47,870. During the 2001 census, it was found that the population of this district has increased to 12.46% with comparison to the 1991 census. Dhenkanal is also known as a princely state in the past. This district of Odisha holds a great history. During 1529 AD, Hari Singh Vidyadhar defeated the chief of this area and conquered Karamul along with Dhenkanal. After this the Gajapati Maharaj announced him as the King of this place. This district is known for its dense forest and hills where tigers, big snakes, beer and elephants like big jungle animals use to find their home. The primary forest and agricultural products of this district are bamboo, timber wood, firewood, medicinal herbs and kendu leaf.
This district is also the home for the most religious movement known as Mahima Dharma. Since the nineteenth century, this religious movement has started to spread across India. During the winter time, Maha Shivaratri or the Jagar Jatra is celebrated at this place with a great enthusiasm. The town of Dhenkanal is where the headquarters of this district are located. This town is also popular across the globe for hosting the Gaja Laxmi Puja. Dhenkanal as a district is Odisha is famous for its tourist locations.
Jorondha is a religious place. This place is not only popular in this district or state, rather it is popular across India and rest of the world. During the Jorondha Jatra, this place becomes more prominent. It’s the Jorondha temple where the Mahima Dharma has started to spread its wings in a great manner and now it has become popular across the globe. This temple is also the home for the Samadhi of the Mahima Gosain. He was the preacher and pro-pounder of Mahima culture. This place is also home for the next sacred temple known as Sunya Mandir, Gadi Mandir and Dhuni Mandir. During the Jorondha Jatra, pilgrims from every corner of the country use to arrive here.
During the Magha month and on the full moon time, this jatra is celebrated here. This fair is hold during the month of Jan or Feb every year. There are also some prime texts associated with the Mahima Dharma like the one composed by Bhima Bhoi and named as Stuti Chintaamani. This is primarily celebrated by the people who believe in Mahima Dharma or otherwise known as Alekha Dharma. The festival or the fair or Jorondha was started during the year 1874. Since then it is celebrated every year. Well, you can give credits to Mahima Swami for starting this fair. This has become an annual function for the people believing in Mahima Dharma.
Pilgrims use to come here and stay during this fair in order to know how to get there into the Heaven after death. They use to call this as Nirvana. They also use to find calmness in life while attending this fair. During this festival, the devotees use to pray together while reciting the Alekha Brahma. They also use to burn ghee into that Jagyan Kund. In this way, they try to bring peace on this earth. They strongly believe that such prayers are going to bring pureness for the earth and can even fulfill people’s basic needs of life.
From the town of Dhenkanal, this place is located at a distance of 67 km and from Angul it is located 23 km away. From Talcher, it is located 3 km away. This place is popular for the Anantasyi image that belongs to Lord Vishnu. This place is located on a rocky bed and right at the Brahmani River at Saranga. Ananta Naga, or known as the serpent king uses to cover and crown the head portion of Lord Vishnu.
This place is located at a distance of 72 km from the Dhenkanal town and from Angul, it is located 25 km away. This place is famous for several temples that are dedicated to the Lord Kanakeswar, Paschimeswar, Baidyanath, Kapileswar and Balunkeswar. The Kanakeswar temple in its ruined shape is having a height of 24 meters. This temple is where you can still find the ancient specimen sculptures that suggest more things related to the temple building works in ancient Orissa.
From the Dhenkanal town, this amazing place is located at a distance of 11 km. this place is known for its scenic beauty and amazing wildlife that use to thrive here at a great potential. As this place is closely located to the town of Dhenkanal, it is considered as the most accessed one among all the tourist locations located in this district. As per the purana, Pandavas have spent some time here during the incognito life. Here, you can also find the temple that is dedicated to Lord Rama, Sita and Laxman. This temple is called as Raghunath temple. Rani Ratnapriya Devi built this temple.
During the Ramanavami, many devotees use to come here in order to worship the lord. During the month of Mar and Apr, a small spring uses to flow right through this place while enhancing its overall beauty and serenity. For relaxation and picnic, this is a great place. From the bus stop of Dhenkanal town, you can proceed 12 km towards Sankarpur and in the mid you need to take diversion towards west at Badagila Chhak to cover two km for reaching Saptasajya. The temple at Saptasajya is located at a height of 900 feet on the hill top. As per the mythological beliefs, this place has its own history and uniqueness. The name of this place is assigned after those seven hills. Those seven hills use to surround this place.
It is also believed that Lord Rama spent some time here during his vanavasa. During 1982, a firm road was made by the state Govt. during that same year, the temple of Maa Annapurna was also created here. During 1985, Kalki Temple was constructed here. At this place, you can also see a huge statue of Maa Kaali. This statue can make you shiver at the first instance. Right here, the Surya Narayana temple was also created during 1990. And now this place is where you can also find Sri Ganesh, Sri Rameswaram Shiva, as well as the Navagraha temple. This is a beautiful spot. The scenic beauty surrounding this spot has also made it a popular tourist location.
Among all the Shiva pithas in Odisha, Kapilas temple has its own importance. This has also developed as a more popular tourist location over the time. People in this state also use to call this as the 2nd Kailash on earth. From the sea level, this place is located at a height of 2239 feet. There are 1352 steps that you need to cover in order to reach for this temple while walking. And by road, you need to cover 12 sharp turns while climbing the Kapilas Mountain by bus or car. These turns are famous as Bara Bankas. During 1246 Ad this temple was built. Raja Narasinghadeva – I built this temple.
At the right and left side of the main Kapilas temple, Marichi Kunda as well as Payamruta Kunda is located. The prime shrine at this temple is the Shiva Linga. Apart from this, there are other Goddess and Gods sculptures located here among which Kartikeya, Ganesha, and Gangadevi are the prime ones. Kapilas is also the place where you can find Vishwanath temple, Jagannath temple as well as Parsva Devi temple. Kapilas is the home for several festivals. However, the Maha Shivaratri festival is considered as the prime one among them.
During this festival, people from across India and Odisha used to come here. At the north eastern corner of the Dhenkanal town, the Kapilas temple is located. From the main town it is located at a distance of 26 km. there are many legends associated with the Kapilas pitha. Due to this reason, such pitha is having its own significance. There is also a stream flowing from the Kapilas Mountain that can make you feel refreshed. Sita Entudisala is also located above the Kapilas temple. After reaching this temple, you have to climb high on the mountain to reach for this place.
Dhenkanal is known as a Mala Anchala or Malabhumi. There are many amazing hills and mountain that surround the town of Dhenkanal and the district as well. Among all of them, the Paniohala hill is the most prominent one. This hill area is known for its dense forest where the wildlife uses to survive and grow with a great potential. The next one in the list is the Megha hill where you can find the elephants, tigers and big snakes. The Sala Bana of Dhenkanal right at the foot step of these hills makes the forest denser. And the other two hills are the Saptasajya and Kapilas that attracts many people towards this amazing town. It’s the Kapilas jungle that is also declared as the protected area by the Govt.
This temple is where Sri Sri Naganatheswar is worshiped. This temple is located at the Nagena village which is located at a distance of 29 km from the town of Dhenkanal. It is considered as an ancient temple of Shiva and was built during the Keshari dynasty. As per the popular beliefs, one among the twelve Yotri Lingas is located here. At the Neem Forest the Yotri Linga named as Daruka Vana is located. This Neem forest is still at the premise of the temple. As per the slokas, the Naganath temple was originally located at the Anga Kingdom’s southern most part. As per the history, the border of Kalinga has touched the border to Anga Kingdom. There is also a ruin of the fort that is still to be identified. Right here the Brahmani River uses to turn left and here this river is considered as the holiest one just like Ganga.
There are many other tourist points located in this district like Ganesh Khol, Astasmbhu temple at Karamul, Sri Anantkoteaswar at Latadeipur, Deogan’s Jagannath temple, and Dandhadar Dam.