A site of ancient civilization of Kalinga, set along the now dead Prachi River, the valley was once a beautiful synthesis of human civilization embracing all religion and sects and was a centre of art, culture and learning spread across 600 Sq KM. Modern day .The Prachi River is considered the holiest river in the region and originates from the river Kuakhei which is a tributary of river Mahanadi. Currently the river flows for approximately 50 KM from Phulnakhra along NH5 and meets the Bay of Bengal through several mouths from Kalikanagar to Ramchandi.
The region of late has been a subject to a lot of researches and studies been conducted by the historians and academics. One can see a lot of research articles on the valley on the internet. However while touring the place, with so much history concealed in the local pockets, one can’t help but have the feel the absence of a Guided tour.
A few of the attractions of the valley are
Chausathi Yogini Temple – Located 15KM from Bhubaneswar along the Bhubaneswar Puri highway in Hirapur hamlet, this circular open roofed temple is a miniature architectural treasure. One of the handful yogini temples of the country, the temple is essentially dedicated to Goddess Durga and her sixty four incarnations, hence the name chausathi (which means sixty four) yogini. The circular temple was essentially considered as a tantric peeth, the Goddess Kali is the principal deity and the circular temple walls have cavities which houses a particular incarnation of the Goddess beautifully carved in black slate stone.
The temple is believed to have been built in the 9th Century AD by Queen Hiradevi wife of Shri Subhakar Dev II of the Bhauma Dynasty.
The approach road is narrow but accessible, the direction pointers at regular intervals helps to locate the temple without much fuss.
Timings – 6am – 6pm. All days of the week
Jayadev Vatika – Located at Kenduvilwu between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar
Birthplace of the most famous poet of Odisha, Jaydev Vatika is the place where the great poet was born, attained enlightment (the neem tree under which he meditated is still there) and wrote his most famous literary work Gita Govinda. Spread over 25 acres with sitting areas and a stream passing through to compliment the greenery around- the unkempt landscape in patches are believed to be forest land from the time of Kharavela. There are twenty four groves in the park, recreated as per the description of nature and natural beauty in Gita Govinda to go with 168 varieties of medicinal plants.
There is a museum within the campus which houses some of the most beautiful sculptures excavated from the valley.
Just adjacent to the Vatika is the beautiful temple – Padmavati.
Timings for the park – 8am – 5pm
Timings for the museum – same as the park but for the lunch break- 2.30pm-4pm
The place is an ideal picnic spot and arrangements are available to facilitate the same. However non vegetarian food isn’t allowed inside the Vatika. If one wants to non vegetarian on the menu then one can cook and consume outside the premises of the Vatika.
For cooking or for facilitation one can contact- Mr. Bharat Sahoo or his son Mr. Raja Sahoo- they run a snacks counter just outside the main gate of the Vatika.
The coordinates are
Bharat Sahoo - +91-9040182045
Raja Sahoo- +91-8093288250
Akhandaleswar Temple – Located around 3 KM from the Jayadev Vatika- this ancient temple has a male ascetic believed to be Jayadev as the presiding deity. Not much is known about the temple as is the case with many monuments of historical significance in the state. The architecture of the temple denotes that it was constructed in the old Kalinga School of architecture. The adjoining pond and the paddy field at the front of the temple make for a picturesque setting.
A tour of the valley should be undertaken with time on hand.
Carry essential items like snacks and water bottles if you plan a day long tour to the valley, though the shops in front of Jaydev Vatika does have the chip packets, water bottles etc along with Bharat Sahoo’s shack selling snacks.
As mentioned there are no guides and one has to rely on the locals for information.
The Valley is bit off the tourist map of Bhubaneswar, so touring the valley with one’s own vehicle is the best option; alternatively one can hire an auto from Dhauli stupa to the Chausathi Yogini temple at an approximate cost of Rs 250.