Ranipur-Jharial is an important archeological site situated in Balangir district of Orissa. The site is situated at a distance of 104 km from Balangir town and 35 km from Titilagarh town. The site consists of the twin villages of Ranipur and Jharial. It has been mentioned as Soma Tirtha in scriptures, the place combined a cross section of religious faiths like Saivism, Buddhism, Vaisnivism and Tantrism. In the past, queens used to live at Ranipur and Jharial was a fort.

The Somavanshi Keshari kings built many temples here that can be dated back to the 9th/10th century AD. It is said that there were at least 200 temples covering an area of about half a mile in length and a quarter of a mile in width. The largest stone temple is 'Someswar Siva', which stands on the banks of the river. It was constructed by a famous Mattamayura Shaivacharya Gagana Siva whose inscription can be found on the lintel of the temple.

The Hypaethral Temple:

Ranipur-Jharial houses one among the five existing rare monuments of Hypaethral temples (temples without roofs) dedicated to 64 yoginis in India (the other three are at Hirapur near Bhubaneswar, Khajurao and Bheraghat near Jabalpur) and Dudhai near Lalitpur. Some other ancient temples are also situated at the site. Tarini Charan Nayak

While the images at Hirapur are made of black chlorite stone, the images at Ranipur-Jharial are made of sandstone. The temple of 64 yoginis of Ranipur-Jharial is famous not only for its beautiful architecture but also for its religious significance. Three-faced Shiva stands at the centre of the temple encircled by 64 images of the yogini goddesses in various positions . Unfortunately, out of 64 yoginis, many are missing at present. The cult of yogini worship in Orissa began in the 9th century. Shivaratri mela is also celebrated in Ranipur-Jharial each year where devotees from far off places come.

The remarkable 20 m high temple of Indralath of this place is said to be the highest brick temple of ancient India.

Sources of information: The Yogini Temples of India, In the pursuit of a mystery, Stella Dupuis, Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi-2008 Yogini Cult and temples, A Tantric Tradition, Vidya Deheja, National Museum, New Delhi- 1986

The existing temples are five and the three-faced Shiva image is NOT embracing Parvati.


Inchudi is a village situated 19 km from Balasore town. It is famous for the historic Salt Satyagraha of 1930 It is said that after Dandi (where Mahatma Gandhicivil disobedience against Salt Laws was most successful in this village. The participation of several women in the Inchudi campaign was regarded by the then Congress High Comma himself led the movement), the mass nd as the highlight of the movement.


Kaliakata is a small village in Chhendipada, situated north-west of Angul town. Kaliakata has pre-historic sites that were discovered by Valentine Ball in 1876. A recent investigation has revealed that the sites are very important for study of pre-historic antiquities.

Kuchai and Kuliana:

Kuchai is a pre-historic site situated at a distance of 8 km north of Baripada Excavations at Kuchai yielded yielded some Neolithic possessions of man. Potteries found here indicate the development of Microlithic culture of the late Stone Age in this area.

Several palaeolithic artifices have been found at Kuliana, which situated at a distance of 18 km from Baripada,

Vikramkhol (Bikramkhol)

Vikramkhol is a cave containing pre-historic, undeciphered pictographic inscription. The cave is situated at a distance of 26 km to the west of Jharusguda.

The inscription is in a natural rock-shelter, six feet below the top. The rock is a rough sandstone. The rock-shelter is 115 feet (35 m) in length and 27 feet 7 inches (8.4 m) in height from the floor (35 m by 8.4 m). It faces north east. The inscribed portion is about 35 feet (11 m) by 7 feet (11 m by 2.1 m). Some of the letters are sharply cut, but the incision-marks of the majority do not show sharp cutting. It seems that an iron chisel was not used. Some of the letters are partly cut and partly painted, while some letters are only in paint, but the majority are completely cut. It is evident that all the letters were first painted before being incised, which was the method regularly employed in the period of Brahmi inscription. The color of the paint is red ochre, with which we are familiar in the pre-historic and historic caves and cave-buildings in India.

The inscription was discovered by an educated Sadhu, Swami Jnamananda. An examination of the letters, which at first sight give the impression of having Brahmi forms, showed that the writing was a mixture of Brahmi forms and a developed type of the Mohenjodaro script.

Prehistoric Cave Painting Sites:


Gudahandi hills are situated near the Khaligarh village, at a distance of 7 km from Ampani hills. A row of caves is situated at the foot of these hills. These caves bear pre-historic pictographic paintings.

Pictographic paintings in red and black colours appear at the entrances of some of the caves. Even though these paintings are yet to be studied thoroughly, it is widely believed that they belong to the period of Indus Valley Civilisation. All the three hills taken together have the appearance of a pot with a lid on it.The name Gudahandi, meaning a pot with molasses, may have originated from this.


Simlikhol is situated 60 km from Padmapur in Bargarh district. The site has a 13 feet (4.0 m) high cave that consists of pre-historic rock paintings and other things of palaeontological interes

The cave was probably a natural rock shelter for the primitive man. During British Raj, the cave was used as a shelter by many freedom fighters evading arrest or detention.

During Dussehra, a festival is observed at a Durga temple located besides the cave.


Ushakothi, situated 20 km from Sambalpur, is a rock-cut cave situated at the foot hill of Maheswar hill, in the midst of deep forests. It measures 150 feet (46 m) in height and more than 200 feet (61 m) in width. This cave contains yet to be deciphered primitive painting.


Yogimath, situated 124 km from Bhawanipatna, is notable neolithic cave paintings. The unique brick temple of Pataleswar at Budhikomna is situated at a distance of 40-50 km from Yogimath.

Famous Temples:

  • Kakatpur Mangala Temple , Puri
  • Akhandaleswara Temple
  • Ananta Vasudeva Temple
  • Baldew Jew Temple, Keonjhar town
  • Charchika Temple
  • Jagannath Temple (Puri), Puri
  • Jagannath Temple (Koraput), Koraput
  • Sakshigopal temple, Sakshigopal, Puri
  • Lord Hanuman Temple, Siruli, Puri
  • Ramachandi Temple, Konark, Puri
  • Baliharachandi Temple Puri
  • Konark Sun Temple
  • Lingaraj Temple,Bhubaneswar
  • Maa Manikeswari Temple,Bhawanipatna
  • Maa Samaleswari Temple,Sambalpur
  • Mausimaa Temple
  • Mukteswara Temple
  • Kapilash Temple,Dhenkanal
  • Majhi Ghariani Temple, Rayagada
  • Rajarani Temple,Bhubaneswar
  • Tarini Temple, Biribati,Cuttack
  • Maa Katak Chandi Temple,Cuttack
  • Bhattarika Temple,Cuttack
  • Saktiswar Temple, Bariniput, Jeypore
  • Sabara Sree Kshetra, Koraput
  • Panchanana Temple, Raju Street, Jeypore
  • Jagat Janani Temple, Jeypore
  • Maa Tarini Temple, Ghatgaon, Keonjhar
  • HariShankar, Balangir
  • NrusingNath, Paikmal, Bargarh
  • Ghanteshwari, Chiplima, Bargarh
  • Dhyanakuda Pitha, Hajipur, Jagatsinghpur
  • Sarala Temple, Jhankad, Jagatsinghpur
  • Gorekhnath Temple, Gorekhnath, Jagatsinghpur
  • Patneswari Temple,Patnagarh
  • Nilamadhab Temple,Kantilo,Nayagarh
  • Gupteshwar‎ Temple,Jeypore
  • Maa Tara Tarini Temple , Ganjam
  • Odogaon Raghunath Temple, Ganjam
  • Ladoo Baba Temple, Ganjam


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