Sonepur district is located in Odisha, India and it is also called as Sonapur or Subarnapur. It’s the dist HQ which is located at Sonepur town. People living in this district are sometime called as Sonepuria. As per the census of 2011, the population of this district was 652,107. This part of Odisha is popular for its rich heritage, culture, crafts and arts. For example, the terracotta and textiles of Sonepur, phligri crafts, and brass metal items of Binka and Tarbha, Ullunda’s stone carvings and the Dunguripali’s paddy crafts are very popular both in Odisha and across the country.
Apart from this, such district is also the birth place of Santha Bhima Bhoi who was a great prophet and poet of Mahima Dharma. This part of the world is also popular for its Danda Nata which is a religious folk culture that is performed during the Chaitra month. As per the history, this district was first known as Paschima Lanka. There are some notable tourist locations present in this district. Visiting these places can offer you a great idea about this place for sure.
In order to commemorate Sashisena’s love, this temple was built. It was Amaravati’s princess who loved the son of a minister of that same kingdom and his name was Ahimanikya. In the district of Subarnapur, this love story is quite a popular tale among the people. There is also the Gyanadei Maluni temple. This temple has no opening and it describes more about the tantra vidya once practiced at this part of the world. This temple is also called as Nimuhin Deula. It’s the Sashisena Temple which was constructed by Biramitra Singh Deo who was the king of that time. He belongs to the Chauhan dynasty. In order to visit this temple, you need to hire taxi or bus from Subarnapur.
This temple is dedicated to God Shiva as well as God Vishnu. When Lord Rama visited Janakpur, he built this temple. During the full moon day when the kartika month is on, this temple draw most of the devotees to come here and offer their prayers.
In the district of Subarnapur, the Sureswari temple is considered as the oldest shrine of Shakti. As per the legend, Lord Parasuram installed the Goddess named as Sureswari after he assassinated the Kshatriyas. The icon of this Goddess is located here while facing towards the north side of this temple. This monument was built by Achal Singh who was the king from Chauhan dynasty.
Right on the River Tel’s bank, the Kosaleswar temple is located. From Subarnapur town, this temple is located at a distance of 14 km. this temple is really in a bad condition. Only the ruins of this structure are located now. At this temple an ancient Buddhist shrine is also located which was refurnished by the Hindu people. Here you can also find the big bricks, inter columns and polished mortar that were once used to hold each image. The Buddhist features which are located in this temple have also led the scholars to assume that such temple was built right on the ruins of a Buddhist monastery.
Right on the meeting point of River Mahanadi and Tel, this temple is located. It’s the Shiva Linga located at this temple which is considered as the oldest one. As per the legends, Lord Rama installed this Linga here. At the Rameswar temple, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Parvati and Lord Kartika are also worshiped. Close to this temple, a Durga temple is also located where you can see the image of Lord Durga that use to have ten arms. At this temple Devi Durga is worshiped like Shakti. Just at the outside portion of Rameswar temple, the Brisabha Temple is located along with the image of Brisabha. As far as the construction of Rameswar temple is concerned, there is always a conflict related to this topic. Some scholars use to say that Chauhan king has built it and some use to say that Somavanshi king has built it.
In the Khambeswari temple, Devi Vanadurga is worshiped. During the 5th century AD, Subarnapur was considered as a very important place where the Khambeswari’s cult was located. During 9th and tenth century AD, the Somavanshi and Bhanjas used to rule this part of the world. So, the Khambeswari temple was built in order to manifest that cult of the Goddess. It is also mentioned that the Khemidi princess brought the image of Khambeswari to the palace when she got married to the Chauhan King Rajraj Singh. After that occasion, the Khambeswari temple was built.
From Biramaharajpur which is also the birth place of great poet Bhima Bhoi, the Jatesingha is located at a distance of 7 km. Bhima Bhoi was also a popular prophet for Mahima cult. The Jatesingha can also be visited when you move for Godhaneswar temple. From Subarnapur, you can also access this place by taxi or bus.
Right at the western side of Subarnapur district, the Paschim Somanath is located. This temple is where Lord Somanath is worshiped right at a funeral ground. For the Somavanshi, Lord Somanath was the prime deity. King Prataprudra Deva has constructed this temple. This temple used to have a mukhasala, homa mandap, chandan mandap, vimana, and brisabha mandap. Right inside this temple, you can see the image of Lord Hanuman that is facing towards the south. On the other hand, the image of Bhairav is also located here that faces towards west. Just before the people worship Lord Shiva, they use to worship the Brisabha first. There is also Lord Kartik and Ganesh located here who are called as the parsvadevatas.
At this temple, Goddess Bhagabati is worshiped who is considered as the form of Mother Goddess. From the Rameswar temple, this temple is located at a small distance. For the people of this district, Goddess Bhagabati is also the presiding deity. It is believed that such goddess uses to protect people from evil powers. The icon of this goddess located here is facing towards west. It is said that such temple was once built by the Chauhans. From Subarnapur, you can get taxi or bus to reach for this temple.
To the west side of Subarnapur, the Gokarneswar temple is located right on the bank of Mahanadi River. Here, the Lord Gokarneswar is the presiding deity. The Chauhan kings of Sonepur constructed this temple. Along with Lord Gokarneswar, people also worship Goddess Ramchandi at this temple.
It’s the Shiva temple of Champeswar locate at Biramaharajpur is often considered as a prime place. This temple is located at the village named as Champamal which is two km away from Biramaharajpur. As per the sayings, the head of such village that was named as Champa Hota used to come to this place with his wife daily while crossing Mahanadi and he use to pray here. He and his wife never used to take food until and unless their meditation gets over. Once, due to the flood they were not able to come here. So, Lord Rameswar mentioned Hota in his dream that he will appear at the village personally. And the next day, Hota saw the Shiva Lingam that was not there before. At the same spot, the Champeswar was constructed. Shiva Ratri is the prime festival at this temple.