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In The Land of Pristine Waterfalls: Lesser-known Gems Of Odisha

Manjusha takes us on a tour of the lesser-known waterfalls of Nrusinghanath and Harishankar in Orissa

Hidden gems of Orissa: The Waterfalls of Nrusinghanath and Harishankar

Odisha, as a state, is famous for its hidden gems of nature. These are pristine, as the footfall of tourists is much lower compared to other hyped states. Probably that’s the reason its beauty remains unmatched.

Three years ago, on a pleasant December morning, we decided to visit the waterfalls of Nrusinghanath (situated close to the Nrusinghanath Temple at the foothills of Gandhamardan Hill towards the north) and Harishankar (Situated on the southern side of Gandhamardan hills).

We started from Sambalpur towards Nrusinghanath (locals call it Narsinghanath). The journey time was approximately three hours. Note: Please be sure to pack some food, as the eateries on the way are scanty, though the views on the way are the appetisers.

The story of Nrusinghanath

After a beautiful ride, we reached the temple of Nrusinghanath. It is situated at the bottom of Gandhamardan Mountain (famous for its mention in the epic Ramayana), which is approximately 3234 feet high. The temple is dedicated to Lord Nrusinghanath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who took the form of half-man and half-lion to protect his devotee Prahlad from his evil father Hiranyakashipu. The temple has a unique architecture that blends Kalinga and Buddhist styles. The temple complex also has a beautiful garden, a pond, and a museum.

There was not a huge rush to the temple. The best part of the trip was the road that led to the temple. It was lined up with shops selling a variety of artefacts. The colour and variety of the items were mesmerising.

We visited the temple and offered prasad. However, the main attraction remained the spectacular Nrusinghanath waterfall. One has to trek for a while to reach the falls, but once you reach the top, it is worth the effort. There were hundreds of people shouting, jumping, and splashing in the icy cold and clear water of the falls. We also dipped our feet in the refreshing water and clicked some shots to make memories of a lifetime.

When we came back, we found our son and mother-in-law sitting scared. The reason was the monkey menace! A monkey had apparently come and snatched away the prasad from my mother-in-law’s hands.

We went to the mandir premises and had a simple Oriya lunch in one of the small shops. Then, we searched for a guesthouse nearby and decided to park for the rest of the day. For dinner, everyone demanded non-vegetarian food. As the shops near the temple served only vegetarian food, we ventured out to the canteen of a nearby Ayurveda college. The chef made delicious chicken on demand!

The next morning, we travelled to Harishankar (the temple and the waterfall). On the way, there were beautiful cotton fields. I could not help but click myself in the midst of it. We drove to the Harishankar Temple, which is about 40 kilometres away from Nursinghanath and reached around 3 p.m. The temple is situated on the southern slope of the Gandhamardhan hills.

The idol of Lord Harishankar

Inside the temple premises, the idol of Lord Harishankar is installed in the main shrine. The idol is made of brass and has four arms holding a conch, a discus, a trident, and a lotus. We offered our prayers and received blessings from the priests. We then decided to trek down the Gandhamardan hills, which are also famous for their rich biodiversity and medicinal plants. We also trekked to the Harishankar waterfall, just behind the temple premises. The waterfall was just as beautiful and pristine as Nursinghanath. We again jumped and splashed in the water and got clicked. Then we returned to the temple complex and had a refreshing tea at a nearby stall.

We left the Harishankar Temple around 5 p.m. The tour of the temples and the pristine waterfalls was a wonderful experience and made us feel closer to nature and spirituality. It was a memorable road trip that we will cherish for a long time.


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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful article about the hidden gems of Odisa . Indeed I was absolutely unaware of the existence these water falls in Odisa.

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