If you stay in any of the resorts in and around Chilika Lagoon, you can also visit numerous places that are historically important and will give insights on the ancient history of the state.
Potagarh – Located approximately 25KM from Rambha, Potagarh literally means “buried fort”. Potagarh was an important landmark of Ganjam and its earliest township, but the dilapidated site and lack of a guide make this place unworthy of a visit. Recently Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) of Orissa and the state tourism department has also extended support to add up amenities at the spot. But it’s still a long way before it becomes a tourist stop over.
The history of Potagarh encompasses the history of Ganjam from the medieval period. The star shaped fort is located at the mouth of the Rushikulya River. The complex houses three forts which served as administrative offices during the Qutabshahi (Rulers of Golconda), French and British era respectively.
What remains today are the ruins of what was once a very important seat of administration.
Tampara Lake –located in Chatrapur- 24 Km from Rambha- this beautiful fresh water lake is a must visit for nature lovers. It’s one of the largest fresh water lakes in the state; recently the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) of Orissa and the state tourism department have announced grand plans to develop the site into an ecotourism hot spot.
One can enjoy boating and water sports at the lake.
The traditional boat expedition on the lake costs – Rs 30/person.
The water bike costs – Rs.300 for a round
The motorboat for 4-6 persons costs Rs.750 for 30 min ride
Salia Dam- Located around 25KM from Barkul; this very scenic dam makes for an interesting sojourn. As you head from Barkul towards Behrampur, there is a signboard of Salia Dam on the right had side, take the underpass towards Chilika dhaba and head straight for 17KM for Salia Dam. However the roads are bad but motorable.
Narayani Temple- This 7th Century AD temple, located 14 KM from Barkul is constructed in the khakara style of architecture like the Vittal Deula Temple at old town Bhubaneswar. The presiding deity is Goddess Durga and the fair organised by the temple authorities during Durga Puja is very popular amongst the locals. The temple though lacking in architectural finesse is a revered in Ganjam. Till this day animal sacrifice rituals are practiced in the temple. It’s a famous picnic spot for the locals.
Located just 100 metre’s above the Narayani temple is the Goddess Banadurga temple.
Entry fee to the temple – Rs.2/person
Banapur – Located 8Km from Balugaon is famous for its 13th Century AD – Daksesvara Temple dedicated to Daksha father of Lord Shiva’s consort Goddess Parvati. It’s one of the best preserved temples in the state. It was built by the rulers of the Ganga dynasty. The shrine of Lord Buddha and Mahavir within the temple premises is an intriguing aspect of this exquisite temple. The temple was built around the same time as the Konark Sun Temple and it’s believed to have been constructed during the rule of King Narasimha Deva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
Besides Daksesvara temple, the other temples of note in the town are Bhagabati and Tikarai temples dedicated to Goddess Durga.
Banapur is also famous for its cane furniture. There are 20-30 families in the village engaged in this work. These workmen are supported by Odisha Handicrafts department of the Government of Odisha. Prior to working on cane, these people were engaged in creating furniture’s and artwork of bamboo. Due to problems of availability, suitability and demand, these families shifted their focus to cane with the assistance provided by the State Government. The cane is procured from Assam and they sell their wares through the numerous Government stores and their own workplace which doubles up as shops.
Nirmaljhar Temple – meaning Sacred Spring- This beautiful temple was built by Raja Aparajita Sri Balukeswar Mardaraj in the year 1676. Nirmaljhar is located around 17 KM from Rambha on the outskirts of the entrance to Khallikote town. Take the NH5 from Rambha towards Bhubaneswar as you cross the beautiful vantage point overlooking Chilika keep to the left after you cross the Indian Oil petrol pump after a couple of kilometers there is signboard of Odisha Tourism on the left pointing to Nirmaljhar Temple . From there it’s located at a distance of 6.5 KM on the state highway 30 ( SH 30).The place derives its name from the perennial spring that forms two natural pool’s within the temple complex. The spring originates from the Marua hills of the Badaghati Mountains of the Eastern Ghats. The main deity if the temple is Goddess Vimala, besides the presiding deity, the temple complex has a Vishnu temple, Jagannath temple and the Surya temple. Unlike other temple architecture in the state, the interiors of the Nirmaljhar temple are ornately carved along with the exteriors.
Amareshwar Temple – Located in Khallikote – at a distance of around 19 KM from Rambha around 2.5 KM from the Nirmaljhar Temple- Take the SH30 and enter Khallikote, the temple is located on the main road. Landmarks are the Block Office and the PWD guest House. The temple is visible from the PWD Guest house.
Please note - Though an ancient temple, the locals are at a loss when asked for directions. So instead ask for the Block office or the PWD guest house on reaching their, continue on the road for 500 meters and the temple is on the left hand side. There is a signboard – Amareshwar Temple at the site.
The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva, the architecture is typical of Kalinga School style and from the look of it, one can assume it was built around the