Sambalpur serves as the gateway to the bewitching western zone of Odisha, abounding in lush green forests, colorful wild-life, exquisite array of hills and waterfalls, folk songs and dances and a number of monuments. Sambalpur has its own contribution to the cultural diversity of our country.
Referred to as 'Sambalak' by the Greek Geographer Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD and 'Sambhal' in the medieval Tibetan literature, Sambalpur is one of the oldest cities of India. In the 8th century A.D, Sambalpur led the world by founding Vajrayan Buddhism by its King Indrabhuti, one of the 84 traditional Siddhas of India. Once a part of South Koshal, Sambalpur was a fortified town during the Chouhan rule. During the British rule also Sambalpur was a major centre of political activities. It was annexed to the British empire under the "Doctrine of lapse" in 1849 after Raja Narayan Singh died issueless. Veer Surendsra Sai, a scion of the royal dynasty rose in revolt and gave the Britishers sleepless nights during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. He continued his struggle long after the Mutiny had collapsed in the rest of India. Following his footsteps, Sambalpur played an important role in the freedom movement later. Gangadhar Meher the famous Odia poet of nature has brought laurels for the locality by his immortal writings .
Sambalpur had the tradition of producing diamonds extracted from the sands of the river Mahanadi at Hirakud, literally meaning 'Diamond Island'. The cultivated plains yield numerous varieties of paddy, some of which are the finest in the country.
Sambalpur with its vicinity has earned international fame for the traditional handloom fabrics, popularly called the Sambalpuri textiles. The products exhibit considerable taste in harmonious blending of colours and elaborate richness of pattern and designs. It covers a wide variety of products - from furnishings to dress materials and tapestry. But the most popular among them is the colourful saree which has almost become synonymous with the whole range of products.
The region is rich in folk art and culture. The rhythmic Sambalpuri dances accompanied by lyrical music in various forms are vigorous and inspiring.
Sambalpur is endowed with natural splendor unspoiled by modern commercial development. It is fascinating to be in the midst of nature in all its glory.
Handicrafts of the Region :
Center of internationally famous Handloom Textiles popularly known as "Sambalpuri Textiles".
Fairs and Festivals of the region :
Places around Sambalpur :
- Dhanuyatra - Bargarh - December - January
- Maha Sivaratri - Huma - February - March
- Nrusimha Chaturdashi - Nrusimhanath - May - June
- Sitalasasthi - Sambalpur, Barpali - May - June
- Viswakarma Puja - Hirakud - September
rakud Dam(16 km)*:
One of the longest Dam in the world, Hirakud stands in its lone majesty across the great river Mahanadi which drains an area of 1,33,090 Sq. km more than twice the area of SriLanka. The bulk of this Dam contains earth, concrete and masonry materials, "sufficient to make a road 8 metres wide and pave it from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and Amritsar to Dibrugarh in Assam. From horizon to horizon the reservoir forms the largest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 Sq.km having a shore line over 640 km. A twenty-one kilometres drive on the dyke affords a unique experience of calm serenity and majesty of nature. One can enjoy the sight of the mighty Hirakud Dam and the fantastic expanse of water from the top of the revolving minaret called Gandhi Minar on the north end and comfortably stay at Ashok Nivas,a luxury Guest House adjoining the Nehru Minar at the other end of the Dam. As the largest multipurpose river valley project of the world, it is a real gift to the nation-"all for happiness and prosperity".
Ushakothi(48 km)* :
The famed wildlife sanctuary at Badrama has already gained prominence among the international tourists as a place of destinational tour. Among various fauna of tropical forests, the sanctuary preserves elephant, tiger,gour,sambar, black-panther,deer, wild boar and many other species. One could have a sight of these animals from the watch towers near the saline tank or the water/holes. One could as well drive along the forest roads and watch them.
Ushakothi is on the N.H.No.6.A forest rest house at Badrama (3 Km) provides accommodation whose reservation authority is D.F.O.,Bamra,district Sambalpur.
Chiplima (36 km)* :
The place has gained prominence as the second Hydro-Electric Project of the Hirakud Dam. A natural fall of 80 ft. (24.39 metres) high in the river Mahanadi is made use for generating electricity. The place is mostly inhabited by fishermen whose deity ‘Ghantlei’ is very popular in the neighboring areas. The State Live Stock Breeding Farm and an Agricultural Farm are located here.
Nrusimhanath (165 km)*:
The temple of Vidala-Nrusimha stands at the foot of the picturesque Gandhamardan hills. On the other slope of this hill are the famous Harisankar temple and the captivating waterfalls. It gained a place in history in the early part of Christian Era being famous as ‘Haranapapa’ (destroyer of Sins) among the ancient pilgrims. In his account Hiuen T’sang referred to this place as Po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li or Parimalagiri which was a renowned seat of Buddhist culture. The ruins found on the plateau at the hill/top, about sixteen km long, speak volumes in mute voice. Local traditions ascribe that this is a part of Gandhamardan Hill which Hanuman carried on his shoulders from Himalayas to save the life of Laxmana. The hill is also rich in medicinal herbs and the entire surrounding is very pleasant in summer. This place is 100 Km from Bargarh.
A Panthashala (Tel. No. 2436) here provides accommodation to the tourists.
Huma (32 km)* :
Famous as the abode of Lord Siva, Huma contains the lone leaning temple of Orissa and also famous as a scenic spot of great excellence. The river Mahanadi flowing close by abounds in fish (Kudo fish) which are never caught. The popular belief is that they belong to Lord Vimaleswar. Facility for cruising in the river by country boat is available for a nominal price.
Vikramkhol (26 km)* :
Pradhanpat (96 km)* :
To the west of Jharsuguda Railway Station, it is a cave containing Pictographic Inscription (1,500 B.C. or even earlier) of great antiquity. This pre-historic find is of remarkable importance and is yet to be deciphered. The plaster-cast of the inscription can also be seen in the Orissa State Museum at Bhubaneswar. Vikramkhol is 88 km by road which is unmetalled.
The Pradhanpat hill with its picturesque waterfalls offers a rare scenic beauty. These falls are close to Deogarh town which is attractively situated with the background of wooded hills. Two beautiful guest houses named Basanta Nivas and Lalita Basanta have been constructed by the ex-rulers of Bamra and are now under the management of the Works Department, provide accommodation. Reservations are made by the Executive Engineer, National Highway Division, Sambalpur. There are a number of temples in the town of Deogarh notable among which are of Gopinath, Jagannath and Gokarneswara. Deogarh is 96 Km from Sambalpur on N.H.No.6.