Rourkela city is a tribal heartland. It is situated towards the north of Sambalpur, 192 kilometers away. It is rich in undulating hills and valuable minerals. It is only after the setting up on Rourkela steel plant in 1955 that its civilization started. Rourkela steel plant is the first public sector steel plant. Rourkela city forms part of the Sundargarh district. The place speaks of abundant tribal culture with the excitement of modernization. This owes to the fact that the district formerly comprised of two princely states namely, Gangpur and Bonai.
Primarily an industrial town, Rourkela is surrounded by a range of hills and numerous rivers. There is a beautiful park, a small zoo, a lake, an aquarium, deer park and an industrial museum. The temple complex at Hanuman Vatika hosts Asia’s highest Human statue. It is 22 meters high. There is also a pilgrimage spot located just outside Rourkela. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers. There is also a dam called Mandira, just 28 kilometers, which offers facilities of boating. Pitamahal, 16 kilometers away, also offers the same facility.
Cheap and comfortable accommodations are available. The city has decent infrastructure and the railways station is present in close proximity.
Places to visit:
Ghogar: Ghogar is situated about 2 kilometers from Rourkela. It is a beautiful picnic spot. A long gorge of 5 kilometer is present on the River Ib. A naturally born Shivling of black granite is what makes this place famous. The Shivling is worshipped by the local people.
Hanuman Vatika: Hanuman Vatika is an eye catching garden. It spreads over an area of 13 acres of land. It is the centerpiece of Rourkela city. A statue of Lord Hanuman is the prime attraction. It is 75 feet tall and is believed to be the highest in Asia. It was sculpted by Sri Laxmana Swami. The Vatika also enshrines a temple complex. It contains major shrines such as Bata Mangala Mandir, Binayaka Mandir, Santoshi Ma Mandir and Jagannath Mandir.
Indira Gandhi Park: It is located adjacent to the Ring Road. It spreads across an area of 42 acres of land. Different varieties of rare flowers are found in its gardens. The meadow is lush green and attractive. There is also a doll museum, a mini zoo and an aquarium situated within its premises. Three kinds of gardens are found namely the Japanese garden, Rose garden and fountain garden. One can take a round of the zoo via a train which goes around the zoo. A very tall tower in the centre of the garden allows breath taking views of the city.
Koel River: The Palamu Tiger Reserve gives birth to the River Koel. It flows in the western portion of Palamu District. Two distinct rivers namely, the North Koel River and the South Koel River form after the division of the actual Koel River. The waters of the North Koel River are used for irrigation purposes after which it merges with the Son River. The South Koel River flows inland and empties into the Brahmani River.
Vedavyas: It is a pilgrimage spot formed by the confluence of the rivers Sankha and Koel. It is situated 5 kilometers from Panposh. It forms an ideal picnic spot. A vedic school and an ashram that follows the principles of Gurukul also add to the attraction of the place.
Junagarh: This fort consists of caves that have marks of Tantra worship. It is of historical and archaeological importance. It is 4 kilometers from Hemagiri and 15 kilometers from Kanika.
Rajgangpur: It is famous for its cement factory.
Pitamahal: A small dam project makes this place known. It is good for a day outing.
Ushaothi: The caves in Ushakothi are rock cut and contain some pictographic writings which have not been deciphered yet. It is 4 kilometers away from Sundargarh.
Mandira Dam: This dam is constructed across the River Sankha. It is responsible for supplying water to Rourkela and nearby areas. It has a very picturesque sight and is ideal for picnics. With the permission from the Dam Authorities, one can take part in boating. The Officer-in-charge allows the permission to enter the dam premises.
Khandadhar: The waterfall at Khandadhar is 244 meters high. It is said to be the loveliest waterfall in Orissa and it is an ideal picnic spot.
How to reach
By rail: Rourkela is directly connected to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Cuttack, Delhi, Bilaspur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Puri, Patna, Kolkata, Raipur, Ranchi, Sambalpur, Vishakhapatnam and many more cities of India. Railway stations in Rourkela are Rourkela Junction, Bondamunda Junction, Panposh, Kalunga, Kanshabahl.
By road: Rourkela is connected to various towns of the state by State Highway 10 and National Highway 23. National Highway 23 connects it to the nearby city of Ranchi which is the capital of Jharkhand state. Interstate buses ply between Rourkela, Ranchi, Bhilai, Jamshedpur. Several buses ply between the major cities and towns of the state.