Harishankar Temple, Balangir, Odisha
Sri Sri Harisankar Devasthana(Odia: ଶ୍ରୀ ହରିଶଙ୍କର ମନ୍ଦିର), is a temple on the slopes of Gandhamardhan hills, Odisha in India. It is popular for its scenes of nature and connection to two Hindu lords, Vishnu and Shiva. As a holy place, along with a stream passing on the granite bed, it has given some visitors a feeling of peace. On the opposite of side of the Gandhamardhan hills is the temple of Nrusinghanath.The plateau between the two temples has been found to have ancient Buddhist ruins, which are considered to be remnants of the ancient Parimalgiri University.
Legend / Local stories
The deity of Harisankar was discovered by a Chauhan dynasty king of Western Orissa, during the 14th century. From that time, the deity has been worshipped. A dancing Ganesha image has been found, which can be traced to the early 12th century. The temple was constructed by the order of then queen Durlabha Devi of Maharaja Vaijjal Dev Chauhan.
Amidst picturesque landscape on the southern slope of Gandhamardan hills stands Harishankar, a place of pilgrimage with uncommon scenic charms. A perennial stream bursting into droplets rushes on its hard granite bed to form cascades at different stages. As a cool resort in the lap of nature, Harishankar is a ideal place for the heat of the summer season.
A cool bath with sliding on the streaming rock brings the visitors uncommon happiness. It is believed that one can refrain from all his sins with having a bath in the stream and worship the Lord Harishankar for which the devotees from various part of the country come here to fulfill their wishes. Harishankar as a amazing variety of flora and fauna. A deer park adjoining to the Gandhamardan hill is of huge tourists importance. Tourists from far-flung places flock to Harishankar on the occasion of Baishankha Mela. It is also a very popular picnic spot. Tourist can stay in the panthanivas to enjoy the picturesque scenic beauty of Harishankar.
On the Northern slope of the Gandhamardan hills lies Nrusimhanath in Bargarh district. Both the places are connected by a hilltop road of 16kms distance. The pilgrims cover this distance within a day on foot during Nrusingha Chaturdasi Mela. Mountain trekkers and adventurists also find the journey an interesting one. Harishankar is connected by an all-weather good motorable road 81kms away from Balangir. Regular bus services operate to and fro from Balangir. But visitors are advised to take their own transport from Balangir town.
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