Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baba Akhandalamani

Hi Readers,

I am going to describe my visit to one of the most famous temple of Lord Shiva in Orissa i.e. the Akhandalamani temple near Bhadrak.

I visited this temple for the first time with my family recently. The temple is located at Aradi 37kms from Bhadrak. However, we took a shortcut through Jajpur town to reach the temple early. It took us around 4.5 hrs to cover the distance from Cuttack. However, we were little late and reached the temple after 1PM, when the temple closed for Lords rest(Pahada). There is a custom of applying milk,curd, Chenna, honey,banana and coconut directly on the Linga(idol) of Lord Shiva. This is then made into Pachamruta and taken as prasad. My MIL(Mom in law) wanted to perform this. If we would have reached just half an hour early, this custom could have been performed on Lord's head by the Pandits. However, they did it(custom called gharsana) for us by applying the mixture at Lord's feet as the decoration of lord was over for the day. 

The temple has few shops that deals with items related to Gharsana and Prasad. Few shops has other Puja samagri and spiritual books. The problem here is there is no good restaurants near by. The people also suggest to take the prasad available in temple. We had the Prasad and then took Darsan when the temple reopened at 3 PM. There is a short passage where the crowd gathers and the Pandits perform the Puja on their behalf. We took the blessing of Lord and returned soon as we needed to travel back home.

Now, I am going to narrate the history behind this temple. There is no such evidence found behind the temple history. Thus, I am going to describe the folklore below.

According to legends around 350 years ago during the rule of Raja Sri Niladri Samara Singha Mohapatra, once in an early morning the Raja sent a peasant to cultivate his Paddy field which was located on the bank of the river Baitarani. While cultivating, the blade of his plough was broken by hitting with some hard material. The peasant was astonished to find a black glazed granite stone with full of blood which is flowing towards the river Baitarani. Afraid by this incident the peasant ran to call the King. Then the king Niladri Samar Singh hurriedly came to the spot, and found flood of milk in place of blood and a huge black cobra hooding the stone. On that night the king had a dream regarding the arrival of the God Akhandalamani on that place. This news spread like wild fire in nearby locality.

The next day the king Niladri Samara Singha Mohapatra started worshiping the great god and immediately built a wooden temple on the spot. A large number of devotees from different villages and area started visiting and worshiping the great God. The king invited five Brahmins from a village named Naharagrama of Jajapur district to perform seva-puja (worshiping and taking care) of lord Akhandalamani.

The then king of the erst while Rajkanika state, Harihar Bhanja Deo was suffering severely from a fatal eye disease. All treatment had failed. The king thought "May be Lord Akhandaleswar's blessings can give him a miraculous cure". He came to Aradi for a Dharana ( spiritual concentration to obtain Lord's blessings). Lord Akhandaleswar appeared in his dream and told him the way of remedy. At last king Harihar Bhanja Deo was cured by lord's benediction. As per his "Manasika", he tried  to build a pucca temple for Lord Akhandaleswar at Aradi. But in those days, it was a stupendous task to build a pucca temple in a remote area like Aradi. Only stone blocks and lime composition constituted materials for pucca temple. Stone blocks were available on the hills of  Nilagiri located about 100 Kms from Aradi and transportation of those blocks to Aradi was done along the water way of the river Baitarani.

The king made preliminary arrangements to build a pucca temple. He dug a large pond near the proposed site of the temple, which now stands as an immortal proof and is named "Shiva Ganga". The king dug a canal from the pond to the river Baitarani  which is available now and is named 'Shiva Mahara' to connect the river with the pond. It facilitated country boats to carry materials for construction of the pucca temple. The King Harihar Bhanja Deo passed away in 1839 AD. His queen Satyabhama Patamahadei completed what her husband had started.

Now the temple stands as an immortal deed of King Harihar Bhanja  Deo and Satyabhama Patta mahadei.
As per government record, in 1839 Akhandaleswar temple at Aradi was a wooden temple and the present temple was built after 1839.

Since, then the people of Orissa, worship the Lord Akhandalamani with great devotion. It is believed that anyone beaten by serpent or poisoned is cured if prayed to Lord with full faith.

-------------Ohm! Namah Shivaya -----------------

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