Sambalpur is the gateway to the western zone of Orissa. The place has abundant lush green forests and colorful wildlife. One can also find breath taking scenic beauty which comprise of exquisite array of hills, waterfalls of streaming pearls, and other things. Tribal life is very profound in this region and you will experience their culture, folk songs dances. Monuments are also found in this part of the world.
The famous handloom textile work of Sambalpur is internationally renowned. Known as the Sambalpuri textiles, they have unique patterns, designs and textures. Sambalpur has known for some rare places and items.
Places of interest:
Hirakud Dam: Hirakud Dam is the longest dam in the world. It is situated north of Sambalpur, about 15 kilometers. It is constructed on the majestic River Mahanadi. It drains an area of 1,33,090 square kilometers. An 8 meters wide road can be built from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and Amritsar to Dibrugarh using the materials used to build the road. Its reservoir is Asia’s largest artificial lake covering an area of 746 square kilometers and a shore line of over 640 kilometers. A drive along the dyke which 21 kilometers offer mesmerizing views of the surrounding nature.
There is minaret called Gandhi Minar which offers wonderful views of the Hirakud Dam from its top.
Cattle Island: It is situated near the Kumarbandh village which is about 90 kilometers from the Sambalpur town. Forming part of a submerged hill, this island used to be a developed village until the construction of the Hirakud Dam started. The place derived its name from the fact that all the animals that inhabited the place belonged to the cattle group. During the resettlement period, the folks left the animals on their own. As the time progressed, the cattle grew stronger and grew wilder. They are bigger than the normal cattle. People have tried to capture them but have failed to do so.
Huma, the leaning temple of Lord Shiva: This temple of Lord Shiva is situated in a village which is 23 kilometers away from Sambalpur. It was built by Baliar Singh who was the fifth Raja of Sambalpur. The legend of the temple dates back to the time when it was just a piece of rock. A milkman used to offer a dole of milk everyday and that is when the rumour started. It finally led to the construction of the temple. A lot of crowd gathers to witness the occasion of Sivratri. Also, a fair is organized at the foothill.
Huma is also a place of pilgrimage. People also gather here to witness many different species of fish as well. Kudo is a special kind of fish found here. They are considered to be assets of God and nobody tries to catch them.
The main temple as well as other structures within the temple premises, including the boundary walls is tilted at some angle. Nobody has ever been able to know the real answer for the angle of inclination which surprisingly has not changed for the last 40-50 years.
Bells Galore, Ghanteshwari: This place is situated at the bank of river Mahanadi, 33 kilometers south-west of Sambalpur. It has many bells. Maa Ghanteshwari is the presiding deity of the place. The area surrounding this place is very dangerous. The area is a conglomeration of three streams of water of River Mahanadi and forms a whirlpool. The chiming of the bells due to the heavy winds cautioned the sailors of the approaching danger. The danger is thus reduced after the construction of the Hirakud Dam. This is only one of its kind places in Orissa.
Chiplima: It is a picnic spot 37 kilometers from Sambalpur. There is a natural waterfall which is 24 meters in height. Its waters are used for generating electricity. The State livestock Breeding Farm and Agricultural Farm are also located here.
Ushakothi: The Ushakothi wildlife sanctuary is worth a visit. It is situated 43 kilometers north-east of Sambalpur. It stretches for more than 130 kilometers. There are many different species present in the sanctuary such as elephants, tigers, gours, sambars, black panthers, deer, spotted deer and wild bears, etc. There are two watch towers present inside the sanctuary from where you can catch glimpses of the wildlife.
Kandhara: Kandhara is the birthplace of Poet Bhima Bhoi, also the great profounder of Mahima Dharma or alternatively known as Alekha Dharma. It is situated 78 kilometers from Sambalpur.