Berhampur is a major commercial town found in the Ganjam district of the Odisha state. It lies south of the Chilika Lake. The beautifully hand woven Ikat silk is made here in Berhampur. This region once formed part of the Mauryan dynasty under Emperor Ashoka. The area, covered with dense forests, is very suitable for agriculture.
The weavers sitting at their looms and weaving can be seen in the busy markets of Behrampur. Brassware and bell metal ware, horn toys, wood carvings and carpets are also available. The major shrines found in this place are Thakurani, Jagannath and Nilkantheswar Shiva Temples. Sculptures and specimens found with within the region with anthropological and natural history are collected and preserved in a museum.
Berhampur is the heart of Odisha. Making Behrampur as the pivotal point, you can take trips to the nearby areas. Gopalpur is known for its coirmats, Paralakhemundi for its horn work toys, Changragiri for its carpets woven by the Tibetian refugees.
Places to visit:
Bi-annual Thakurani Yatra: This festival is celebrated to welcome goddess Budhi Thakurani to her temporary abode for thr bi-annual Thakurani Yatra. The procession is performed by the Head of the Dera community of weavers, who is also the hereditary head of the festival. He visits the Budhi Maa Thakurani Temple in his traditional attire and invites the goddess to her parental abode. He is accompanied by his wife and together they make offerings at the Kalika Temple. The Changudi Pooja at the temporary temple built in Desibehera street marks the beginning of the rituals for the festival. After the Pooja, flowers are taken from this temple to Budhi Thakurani Temple. This festival is celebrated in multiple ways at many different locations.
Gopalpur Beach: This beach is located at a distance of 16 kilometers from the city. Bus services are made available from the city’s old bus stand to Gopalpur. It used to be a busy seaport but now comes under the more serene and quiet places of the state. The places for accommodation are numerous such as the Oberoi Palm Beach resort. This was the first property under the name ‘Oberoi’. An old lighthouse and a fisherman’s cove are other added attraction of this place. A beach festival is also held here.
Taratarini Temple – The Shakti Pitha: It is believed that there are four Shaki Pithas, originating from the limbs of the corpse of Mata Sati in the Satya Yuga, which are Bimala, Taratarini, Kamakshhya and Dakhini Kalika. Out of these, the Taratarini Shakti Pith is present here. It is believed to be the main seat of Tantric cult. It is said that it originated from the breast of Mata Sati. It bears an uninterrupted religious history for over 6000 years.
Ballipadar: It is famous for black bucks.
Sri Sri Sri Sidhibinayakya Pitha: This temple is located near the Giri Road. It is one of the largest Ganesh Temples of Odisha.
Mahurikalua: This place is 30 kilometers away from Behrampur. Goddess of Shakti Maa Thakurani is worshipped here. A large number of people are seen during the Sankranti festival.
Dhabaleshwar beach: This beach is close to the Gopalpur beach. One can participate in surfing, sailing and sun bathing. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and an island known as the Dhabaleswar Island also present.
Siddha Bhairavi: This place derives its name from its presiding deity goddess Maa Bhairabee. It is found at the remote village of Mantridi. The idol is carved in a very crude fashion with one leg and three hands. It is found and placed in the temple in the year 1937. In the ancient time, the fishermen and sailors used to come here and pray for blessings for the safe course of their journey. It has now become an important Shakti Pith. Most people from the nearby areas visit this shrine daily. Large crowds gather at the Sankranti days.
Taptapani: Taptapani is famous for its hot springs. It is at about 1,800 feet (550 m) above sea level. This spot is located 56 kilometers away from the city's railway station. The sprawling Panthanivas is the only shelter for tourists at Taptapani. Cottages and a massive dining hall is found between two crests of the mountain fold. A temple known as Kandimata Temple is present nearby. A deer park is also present. This park is maintained by the forest department.
Bala Kumari: This temple is dedicated to goddess Durga. A total of 1240 steps lead to the main temple.
Biranchi Narayan Sun Temple: This temple is built in the form of a chariot driven by seven horses. It has remarkable wood carvings and wall paintings. On the opposite of the road is present a temple dedicated to Lord Jajannath. The positions of the two temples are so strategic that one can see the Aarti at both the temples from any spot inside either of the temples.
Kulada: This temple is dedicated to goddess Bagh Devi. The great Oriya poet known as Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja was born here. It has a ruined fort. River Mahanadi flows towards the east side of the fort while the western side is occupied by dense forests. The temple is situated on top of a hill with 210 steps leading to it.
Panchama: It is a small village. It is famous for its Panchama Ganesh Temple also known as the Siddhi Binayaka. It is believed that the temple’s idol was found by King Purushottamadeva while he was on his way to conquer Kanchi. This is an important place for the worship of Ganapati.
Narayani: This is a temple dedicated to goddess Narayani. It is present on top of a hill surrounded by sal and mango grooves. It has now become a famous Shakti and Tantra Pith. It is believed that this is the seat of Devi Banadurga. Initially, the shrine was worshipped in its crude formed. Later on, the civic bodies built a proper temple and enhanced the statue realizing its tourist importance. The number of people increases during winters. One can see Chilika Lake from the top of the hill. The most important festival celebrated is Ashokasthami which is celebrated for 3 days.
Potagarh: This fort was built by the Britishers in the 18th century. The fort has a moat and is situated close to River Rusikulya. This place used to dwell in glory until the outspread of an epidemic plague in the year 1815. It is suitable place for art and history lovers. It is also an ideal picnic spot.
Ujaleswar: It is a shrine located about 45 kilometers from Berhampur. It is present near the Ghodahada Dam. The reservoir of this dam shelters a herd of elephants, crocodiles and pythons. It also provides water for a horticulture farm of tube rose.
Aryapalli: This is a beach situated at about 32 kilometers from Behrampur.
Mahendragiri: It is 1500 meter high hill. It has interesting archaeological remains dating back to the times of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Galleri and Baibelli: These villages showcase ‘Danda Jatra’ which is believed to be the most primitive ritualistic performances. The performances are primarily dedicated to Lord Shiva and goddess Kali.
Bankeswari: It is an ideal picnic spot located in the Kerandimala hill range on the Eastern Ghats. It has a dense forest cover. One can see many stream flowing below.
How to reach
By road: Berhampur city is connected with National Highways NH-5 and NH-217 and other cities and towns of Orissa. The three-wheeler auto taxis are the most important mode of transportation in this city. Taxis also ply on the city's roads.
By rail: Berhampur is situated on the East coast railway line which is a major route connecting the two metros Kolkata and Chennai of India. It is directly connected to New Delhi, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Cuttack, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Puri, Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata, Raipur, Sambalpur and many more cities of India.
By air: The historic Berhampur Airport is located at a distance of around 5 kilometers from the Silk city and adjacent to administrative tower of Berhampur University. It is well connected to major cities of the country.
By sea: The city is served by two ports, Gopalpur Port one of the Oldest Port and upcoming satellite port at the Bahuda Mouth by Paradip Port Trust.