Situated beside Dhauli hill on the east bank of the river Daya, Bhairangeswara Temple is right next to the assumed site of the Kalinga battle, an event that had a profound impact on the emperor Ashoka in 260 B.C. after which he converted to Buddhism.
My visit to this temple in Khatuapada village was extremely short, some serious storms were brewing from seemingly every direction and the remainder of my day was to be spent in Puri.
The temple is thought to date back to the 11th century A.D. although it has been rebuilt using mostly masonry that was recovered from the site. Unusually, the temple faces west and is now under the protection of Orissa State Archaeology.
The presiding deity is a circular yoni pitha with a hole in the centre. I have read that the site was originally chosen due to a naturally formed shiva linga that existed here, but I’m not able to confirm that. I did not enter the main temple as it was quite busy with devotees and I didn’t want to intrude.
There are a couple of subsidiary shrines, one dedicated to Ganesha with a 2m high idol placed in the sanctum.
The temple is set in a pretty location and although everywhere around Dhauli was extremely quiet when I visited (probably because of the weather), I imagine at weekends this place will offer a bit of peace and solitude for those who wish to escape the crowds that almost certainly flock to the hill.
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