Sambalpur is in the eastern state of Odisha in India, and is one of the largest and oldest cities in Odisha. It is the headquarters of Northern Revenue Division and of Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL). It is situated about 300 km west of the state capital Bhubaneswar, 550 km west of Kolkata in West Bengal and 278 km east of Raipur in Chhattisgarh. It is on the bank of the Mahanadi River. Sambalpur is the Western Odisha region's administrative, commercial and educational hub. The city contains many famous temples, historic buildings and parks. Sambalpur is famous for premier educational institutes like Sambalpur University, Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT), Gangadhar Meher University, Indian Institute of Management Sambalpur and Odisha State Open University (OSOU). Hirakud Dam, the longest earthen dam in the world and the largest artificial lake of Asia, is at Hirakud. After the independence of India, many commercial and government establishments sprung up in and around Sambalpur. Sambalpur is one of the major railway junctions in Odisha with the headquarters of Sambalpur Railway Division under the East-Coast Railway Zone of Indian Railways. National Highway 6, National Highway 42 and State Highway 10 pass through the city. Sambalpur is also the headquarters of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited since 1992, a subsidiary of Coal India Limited. Sambalpur is famous for Hirakud Dam, Sambalpuri saree, Sambalpuri songs, Sambalpuri dance, the Sitalsasthi Carnival, and Gandhi temple. Sambalpuri is the native language of the place. The locals are usually referred as Sambalpuriya. In 1849, Sambalpur State came under the British rule by the application of doctrine of lapse after the death of the last Maharaja Narayan Singh. Veer Surendra Sai of Sambalpur played a very important role in the freedom struggle. He led a revolution against the British East India Company even before Sepoy Mutiny in 1857. He is known as the Lion Of Odisha. Sambalpur has its own unique identity in terms of its language, handlooms, dance, cuisine, culture, festivals, temples, heritage, songs, drama and music. The history of Sambalpur, as depicted by eminent historians, is full of events including the Indian freedom struggle, representing the different sections of society. Sambalpur is one of the ancient places of India, which survived even in the prehistoric age and holds a very important place in the history of Odisha and India. Sambalpur is mentioned in the book of Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) as Sambalaka on the left bank of the river Manada, now known as Mahanadi. Other evidence is available from the records of Xuanzang, and in the writings of the celebrated King Indrabhuti of Sambalaka of Odra Desha or Oddiyan (the oldest known king of Sambalpur), the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism and the Lama cult. He wrote the book Jñanasiddhi. The French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier (1605–1689) in his travel account Six Voyages en Turquie, en Perse et aux Indes (1676–77), translated into English by Valentine Ball as Travels in India (2d ed., 2 vol., 1925), wrote about the numerous diamond mines of Sumelpur (Semelpur), the present day Sambalpur. He states that 8,000 people were at work in these mines at the time of his visit, in the dry season at the beginning of February. In 1540 A.D., the kingdom of Patna, ruled by the Chauhan dynasty, was bifurcated. The southern portion of river Ang was ruled by Narasingh Deb, and his brother Balaram Deb the received northern part of the river, known as kingdom of Huma. Balaram Deb established his new capital at Sambalpur. Sambalpur was ruled by the Chauhan dynasty until 1800. The kingdom of Sambalpur was also known as Hirakhand and Sambalpur was its capital. Sambalpur came under the Bhonsle of Nagpur when the Maratha conquered Sambalpur in 1800. After the Third Anglo-Maratha War in 1817, the British Government returned Sambalpur to the Chauhan king, Jayant Singh, but his authority over the other princely states was taken out. When the last ruler of Sambalpur, Narayan Singh, died in 1849 without a direct male heir, the British seized the state under the doctrine of Lapse. Sambalpur was kept under the South west Frontier Agency with headquarters at Ranchi. The official language of this region at that time was Hindi. South west Frontier Agency was renamed Chhota Nagpur Division in 1854. Veer Surendra Sai, who fought against the British Rule, played an important role in the history of India's struggle for independence. During the Sepoy Mutiny in July 1857 the mutineers broke open the prison at Hazaribagh, where Veer Surendra Sai was imprisoned and released all the prisoners. Veer Surendra Sai fought against the British after reaching Sambalpur. There was no mutiny in Cuttack division, so Sambalpur was transferred to Cuttack division in 1858 and Oriya was made the official language of Sambalpur. Sambalpur along with other princely states of Western Odisha was included in the newly created Nagpurdivision of Central Province in 1862. In January 1896, Hindi was made official language of Sambalpur. During the partition of Bengal in 1905 Sambalpur and the adjacent Sambalpuri speaking tracts were amalgamated with the Odisha Division under Bengal Presidency. Bengal's Odisha division became part of the new province of Bihar and Odisha in 1912, and in April 1936 became the separate province of Odisha. After Indian Independence on August 15, 1947, Odisha became an Indian state. The rulers of the princely states of Western Odisha acceded to the Government of India in January 1948 and became part of Odisha state. From 1825 to 1827, Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert (1785–1853), later Lieutenant General Sir Walter Gilbert, 1st Baronet, G.C.B., was the political agent for the South West Frontier with headquarters at Sambalpur. He made a few paintings during his stay at Sambalpur by an unknown artist which are currently with the British Library and Victoria and Albert Museum. Although it is generally accepted that Tantric Buddhism first developed in the country of Uddiyana or Odra Desha under King Indrabhuti, there is an old and well known scholarly dispute as to whether Uddiyana or Odra was in the Swat valley, Odisha or some other place. Indrabhuti, the oldest known king of Sambalpur, founded Vajrayana, while his sister, who was married to Yuvaraja Jalendra of Lankapuri (Suvarnapur), founded Sahajayana. These new Tantric cults of Buddhism introduced the mantra, mudra and mandala along with six Tantric Abhicharas (practices) such as Marana, Stambhana, Sammohana, Vidvesan, Uchchatana and Vajikarana. The Tantric Buddhist sects made efforts to raise the dignity of the lowest of the low of the society to a higher plane. It revived primitive beliefs and practices a simpler and less formal approach to the personal god, a liberal and respectful attitude towards women and denial of caste system. From the seventh century A.D. onwards, many popular religious elements of heterogeneous nature were incorporated into Mahayana Buddhism which finally resulted in the origin of Vajrayana, Kalachakrayana and Sahajayana Tantric Buddhism. Tantric Buddhism first developed in Uddiyana, a country which was divided into two kingdoms, Sambhala and Lankapuri. Sambhala has been identified with Sambalpur and Lankapuri with Subarnapura (Sonepur). Kalachakra tantra was first taught by the Buddha to King Indrabhuti, the first dharmaraja of Shambhala. It is widely believed that the next Hindu avatar known as Kalki will be born at Sambalpur or Shambhala, as this place was known in olden times. There are several mentions of the place Shambhala in different Hindu and Buddhist religious texts as the birthplace of Kalki. The Mahabharatra (Vana Parva, 190.93-97) and Srimad-Bhagavatam Bhag.12.2.18 give reference of Shambhala as the birthplace. Sambalpur has a well networked transport facility for commercial and public transportation. There are five railway stations in Sambalpur City (since it gained the corporation tag), namely Sambalpur Junction, Sambalpur Road Railway Station (SBPD), Hirakud Railway Station (HKG), Sambalpur City Railway Station (SBPY) and Maneswar Railway Station (MANE). Sambalpur City and Maneswar Railway Stations are located on the Bhubaneswar-Sambalpur route (commissioned in 1998), while the other three stations are located on the Jharsuguda-Vizianagaram route. There are direct train connections to all the metros and prominent cities across India. It lacks direct connectivity to Indore, Dehradun, Lucknow and Guwahati. The nearest airports are Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur (262 km) and Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar (325 km). A new airport is being constructed at Jharsuguda (50 km). The world famous Hirakud Dam, built in 1956 across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur, is a major tourist attraction. It is one of the longest dams in the world, about 16 mi (26 km) in length. It also forms the biggest artificial lake in Asia, with a reservoir holding 743 km2 at full capacity with a shoreline of over 640 km. It also attracts a large number of migratory birds in winter. The Leaning Temple of Huma, located about 25 km from Sambalpur, built in the 17th century, leans at an angle of approximately 47 degrees to the west. (Pasayat, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008). It is one of a kind in India. Samaleswari Temple is the main temple of the goddess Samaleswari, located on the banks of river the Mahanadi. Sambalpur owes its name to her. Chiplima[58] (Chipilima Hydro Electric Project (CHEP)) located about 37 km from Sambalpur, is known for a natural fall (24.38 m in height) harnessed for generating electricity. It is an ideal picnic spot and famous for Ghanteswari Temple, the presiding deity of the place. This temple played an important role for river navigation in the past. The second planetarium of the state is being set up Burla in Sambalpur. The Government of Odisha has allocated five acres of land on which the planetarium would be constructed on 2 acres (0.81 ha) of land. Soon after the completion of the planetarium a science park would be set up at the remaining 3 acres (1.2 ha) of land. The construction of the planetarium building which began in 2012 is over and now remains the installation of the devices and machine which would get over soon after which it would be open for the people. These are remnants of temples submerged after the dam was completed in 1957. In summer, due to the receding water of the dam, the structures become visible. These hidden treasures have finally caught the attention of historians and steps are being taken to understand the historical significance of these temples which periodically go under water, only to resurface again. Many temples have been destroyed after 58 years of underwater existence. However, some remain intact. Interest in these lost temples has been rekindled after two stones, etched with writing ('Shila Lekha'), were recovered from what is believed to be the Padmaseni temple of the submerged Padmapur village. The temples located inside the reservoir area were part of the then Padmapur, one of the oldest and most populous villages in the region prior to the dam construction. More than 200 temples were submerged by the dam; nearly 150 temples have either perished or are underwater and about 50 are visible during summer. These lost temples present excellent opportunities for scuba diving enthusiasts to explore under the Hirakud Dam. These temple are visible to visitors on boats only during the summer months of May and June. The Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary stands out from all the wildlife sanctuaries in the state in terms of sighting wild animals. One of the major reasons for this is its proximity to the Hirakud dam as it provides a perfect water source host for the animals, birds and aquatic fauna of the sanctuary. Apart from the animals already inhabiting the sanctuary, migratory birds also come to explore the nearly 150 km2 area of the Hirakud reservoir. As the dam is a standing water body, many varieties of diving ducks can be seen. The sanctuary may welcome the largest number of diving ducks in winter compared to all the other sanctuaries in Orissa. Birds such as the red crested pochard and great crested grebe are seen in large numbers. During 2008 there was a bird census and the sanctuary reported more than 32,000 winged visitors. There are six eco-tourism cottages in the sanctuary at Barkhandia and each has all the facilities to accommodate a complete family or two adults. Most importantly, the tariff includes all meals. Permission for the entry into the sanctuary is available at the gates, but to stay in the eco-tourism cottages one has to get the DFO's permission from the office in Sambalpur town after paying the fees. Cattle Island exists in one of the extreme points of Hirakud Reservoir, a natural wonder. It is near Kumarbandh village of Belpahar-Banharpali range which is about 90 km from Sambalpur. The island is a submerged hill, and before the construction of Hirakud Dam it was a developed village. During the resettlement period, villagers left some of their cattle behind; when the dam construction was over, the cattle settled on the hilltop. With the passage of time the nearby area filled up with the reservoir water, turning the hilltop into an island. Being away from mankind, the cattle are now wild, very swift and not easily caught. Living on a hilltop with dense forest, they are larger than tame cattle, almost all of which are white in colour. Nearby residents attempt to capture these animals from time to time, but these hunts are rarely successful. Though descended from tame cattle, these animals provide a contrasting picture of this breed of animal returning to life in the wild. If the visit to this island is taken by a boat in the Hirakud reservoir it's an adventurous trip with breathtaking views.

Indian States

Andaman and Nicobar Islands Andhra Pradesh Arunachal Pradesh Assam Bihar Chhattisgarh Dadra and Nagar Haveli Daman and Diu Delhi Goa Gujarat Haryana Himachal Pradesh Jammu and Kashmir Jharkhand Karnataka Kerala Lakshadweep Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Manipur Meghalaya Mizoram Nagaland Odisha Pondicherry Punjab Rajasthan Sikkim Tamil Nadu Telangana Tripura Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand West Bengal
Who We Are

Opulent palaces, ancient forts and majestic structures greet you at every nook and corner of this majestic country. This rich history oozes out of all ancient structures and famous historical monuments in India. There are many beautiful and unexplored places in India, follow us to explore Famous Places in India.

Famous Places in India website visitors
Quick Links
Stay in Touch
Contact Us

Surathu Technologies, Kirlampudi, Andhra Pradesh, India.


© Famous Places in India, all rights reserved.

Designed and maintained by Surathu Technologies