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Berhampur, The Silk City

Berhampur is a city located in the eastern coastline of India in the state of Orissa. It is one of the biggest cities of Orissa and is famous for trade and commerce. The latest estimate of population of the city is 307,724 (2001 census) making it the third most populous urban area in the state. Berhampur is the primary railhead for the entire southern region of Orissa. It serves as a node for the surrounding districts, so trade is predominant. A majority of the people are self-employed in varied businesses of different scales. Berhampur is well known for its intricately designed silk sarees and handloom cloth and hence is known as the “Silk City”. The most important destination in Berhampur is Gopalpur sea beach which is located just 10 KM away from Berhampur. It is a city of passionate cine goers, famous for huge cinema theatre complexes. Because of its proximity to the state of Andhra Pradesh, a good proportion of the population is conversant in both Oriya and Telugu languages

Indulging in good food is a part of the Berhampur lifestyle. There are a numerous DHABAS located in the outskirts of the city, lined along the National Highway 5. There are numerous small eateries located along the length and breadth of the city that serve typical, lip-smacking food for breakfast, which is an interesting mix of the North Indian and South Indian food styles. In the evening people like to enjoy fast foods like soup, chowmine, & famous Rolls. Some of the things that one would like to try would be the famous “Chicken Pakoras” of Girija restaurant which is located in the heart of the city (on Girija Square). One could also try its Chicken Kurma and of course the Caramel Pudding. If its summer, one should try the “Local Lassi” from any of the stalls/small shops along the main roads. Personal means of transport include bicycles, two wheelers and cars. Paid means include rickshaws, matador minivans, trekkers and private buses. People generally stay in independent houses. Lately, several multi-storied apartment complexes are mushrooming up in the city. Thinking of people is similar to the lifestyle of Mumbai as both Mumbai & Berhampur lie approx. in the same latitude. Its is one of the most developed cities in Orissa as most of the people are educated and Technology is a prime attraction here. You will be able to locate internet cafes, Video game parlours almost everywhere. Currently high rise buildings and apartments are becoming common. Sightseeing Highlights Gopalpur-on-Sea: This sleepy resort in Ganjam district with its deep sea was once an ancient sea port. It is 16 kms from Berhampur having all sorts of touristic facilities. It is known for beautiful beaches, scenic sunsets and aquamarine waters.

Visit Taptapani , a tribal area popular for the natural hot water springs and natural scenic location amidst the forest tracks. This hot sulphur spring. 50 km from Berhampur, is an ideal Health Resort and picnic spot. One can stay at Panthanivas, Taptapani – 761014,Tel:(06814), Tafiff : Rs. 35/- to Rs 65/-.

Don’t miss the Taratarini temple , dedicated to the twin Goddesses built on the hilltop with the river Rushkulya adding charm to the panoramic location.

Jaugarh , 35 km from Berhampur, is famous for Ashokan Rock Edicts and other arachaeological remains.

The popular white sand beach at Aryapalli is about 30 km from Berhampur. Calm sea, swaying palms and just the sound of sea gulls makes it attractive to tourists and locals.

Mahendragiri Hill , 5,000 feet above sea level, is another place you can visit on your tour to Berhampur. Surrounded by evergreen forests and mythological stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat, Mahendragiri Hill is a must visit during the Shiv Ratri festival.

Thakurani Jaatara , Bi-Annual Thakurani Jaatara, the Festival of the Goddess. The city is agog with activities to welcome goddess Budhi Thakurani to her temporary abode for the biennial Thakurani Jatra festival at late night . The hereditary head of the festival, who is also regarded as the head of the weaver Dera community of the city, Desibehera dressed in his traditional attire reached the Budhi Thakurani temple to invite the goddess to her parental abode at his home on Saturday afternoon. His wife also accompanied him as per the tradition. They also offered ritualistic offerings at the Kalika temple. Changudi puja Rituals to welcome the deity for the festival started at the temporary temple built at Desibehera street from evening with the `Changudi Puja”. After rituals, flowers would be carried from Desibehera”s house to the Budhi Thakurani temple in this special basket called `Changudi”. Bala Kumari , The temple of Balakumari, after an ascension of 1240 steps with all necessary features provides unostentatious rejoinder. The temple reigned by Goddess Durga is frequented by people of many parts of Southern Orissa (Chikiti)and near areas of Andhra Pradesh.

Biranchi Narayan , Buguda is a small town in Ghumusar Sub-Division of Ganjam district. It is famous for the temple of Biranchinarayan. The temple was built by king Srikara Bhanja who ascended the throne of Ghumusar in 1790 A.D. The image of God Biranchinarayan which is installed in the sanctum of the temple was recovered from the ruins of Malatigarh. The wood carvings are noticed on the ceiling of the Mandap and on the jambs of the entrance door way as well. At the other end of the main road facing the temple of Biranchinarayan is a temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath.

Chilika Lake , Nestling in the heart of coastal Orissa, Chilika is India’s biggest inland lake.Spread over 1,100 square kilometers stretching across the length of the three districts of Puri, Khurdha and Ganjam and finally joins the Bay of Bengal through narrow mouth, forming an enormous lagoon of brackish water.Dotted with many emerald green islands with colourful names such as Honeymoon Island and Breakfast Island, Chilika is home to a rich variety of aquatic fauna. It is also a sanctuary and winter resort for migratory birds, some coming from as far as Siberia.

Dhabaleshwar Beach , Dhabaleswar is a quiet, beautiful, beach close to Gopalpur beach, overlooking the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, in Orissa. Facilities for surfing, sailing, and sun-bathing are available on this fascinating site. The famous pilgrim center, Dhabaleswar, with its sand-bleached Shiva temple and the Dhabaleswar Island are nearby attractions

Kulada , Kulada is famous for Goddess Bagh Devi which is the presiding deity, Kulad is said to be birth place of great Oriya Poet Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja. It is situated to the north west of Ganjam District with a ruin fort, river Mahanadi flowing in the east and dense forest in the west side of the ruined fort. Kulad has many other temples also. The other important temples of Kulad are Temple of Lord Jagannath, Mausimaa temple, Ratneswar Mahadev temple etc.

Lakhari Valley Sanctuary , Lakhari Valley Sanctuary is located in the Lakhari valley of Ganjam District, Orissa. It is 60 km from Berhampur. Spread over an area of 185 sq km, it offers a rare feast of rich tropical forest, hills, valleys, perennial water sources. The sanctuary is primarily home to elephants and black bucks. Besides, tiger, leopard, pea fowl and all other fauna of tropical forests are found here. Mahendragiri hill, close to this sanctuary, is rich in flowers and medicinal plants.

Maa Bhairavi Temple , The place is named after the presiding deity Goddess Bhairabee at remote village ‘ Mantridi’. Carved in crude fashion, the Icon (one legged Goddess with four hands) was explored by a ploughed and was enshrined as such in a newly adorned temple in the year 1937. According to legend, fisherman and sailors used to worship the deity for blessings before commencement of their journey. Bhairabee now a day has become an important Sakti Pitha Venerable for the valorous seafaring by the fisherman community who lives in near by villages. Tourists from almost all parts of southern Orissa as well as northern Andhra Pradesh visit this holy shrine every day.

Mohuri Kalua , Visitors usually negotiate the site while traveling on the road that connects Berhampur with Western Orissa. As and when the urban people of Ganjam are browned of an inclement atmosphere, generally, opt to visit Goddess Mahurikalua, Having a shapely visage, smeared with red Leo and decorated peacock tails. This picnic spot of unrivalled ambience of seclusion allures good number of tourists.

Narayani , The scenic splendor of Narayani on the lap of the celebrated Vallery Mountain is a famous place in the eastern ghats. It’sromantic setting with a perennial spring and green mango groves attracts a good number of visitors every day.

The holy shrine of Goddess Narayani (Durga) with six hands is a great attraction for the devotees and picnicker’s Panchama , Panchama is a small village famous for the temple of Panchama Ganesh or Siddha Binayaka as it is locally known. Tradition says that the Gajapati King Purushottamadeva (15 century) on hid easy to his conquest of Kanchi recovered the image in the hallow of two trees of Vara and Aswastha and paid his homage to the image after its consecration. Since then the place is sanctified and has become an important centre of Ganapataya worship, preserving the great tradition of Panchadevata worship of Orissa.

Potagarh, On the Orissa- Andhra Pardesh border there is a Beach along the river Bahuda which divides the sea from the main land at Sonepur. Pati Sonepur is the name of the Beach at the other side which is famous for its virginity, colourful water and loneliness.

Ujaleswar , Situated at a distance of 19 km from Digapahandi and 45 km from Berhampur, near Ghodahada Dam. One would aptly cherish for visiting a monument with rare and quaint features. The shrine of Ujjaleswar has been developed from a cave temple, on a hillock which is approachable by steps. A huge stone shadowing the deity forms the back side of the temple, which has been also chiseled to steps for facilitating a circumambulating around the shrine. Before reaching the unctuous site, one would come across the pleasing surrounding of Ghodahada Dam, which has submerged a fort named Vijayanagar and its temple. The reservoir provides silence to a heard of elephants, crocodiles and pythons and sub-soil water for Horticulture farm of tube rose. However rollicking monkeys, deer park, a pond with lotus flowers, an age old Banyan tree testing one’s unfeigned devotion and unfurled natural back drop verdant the sanctity of Ujjeleswar.

Other attractions produced over here include brass work of Ganjam; coirmats of Gopalpur and the exquisite horn work of Paralakhemundi can be procured here. Carpets from Chandragiri, woven by refugees from Tibet, are another attraction. October to June is the best time for tours to Berhampur.

The main festivals of the region include Car Festival, Dusshera, Taratarini Festival, Thakurani Yatra, Buda and Khambeshwari Yatra . How to get there: Berhampur is a major railhead on the S.E. Railway & N.H. No.5 passes through the city. Also known for a good scociety and friendly people. With a mix of Telegu and Oriya cultures and a cool place to live in.

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