BY: BIBHUTI BARIK
Bhubaneswar, May 18: When chief minister Naveen Patnaik started his electoral journey after paying an obeisance to the famous deity at Taratarini three weeks ago, people of Ganjam and the entire south Odisha were extremely happy.Before beginning anything auspicious, an average person from undivided Ganjam district and the entire south Odisha would always seek blessings of Goddess Taratarini. It is believed that if you go to the temple with a wish in your heart, then it would definitely be fulfilled.
Situated in Raipura village under Purushottampur block in Ganjam district, lakhs of tourists from nearby areas in Odisha and also from Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bengal visit the famous shrine.
The temple on the summit of a hillock is on the right bank of the beautiful and meandering Rushikulya river. The shrine is just 7km away from Purushottampur and 30km away from Berhampur.
Travel writer from Chhatrapur, district headquarters town of Ganjam, Sujata Patnaik, said: “Taratarini shrine has now achieved tremendous popularity for the twin goddesses Tara and Tarini. Both are ancient deities and were worshiped on the hilltop at a small temple for decades in the past. The original structure was demolished in 2005 and the new temple replaced the old one with the Kalingan temple architecture. With beautiful Khandolite stone the temple looks beautiful from the road near the foothill.’’
Nityanand Mondal, a visitor from Bhubaneswar, who came to the shrine with family said: “The ropeway has added a new dimension to the tourism scene. Unlike the ropeway at Nandankanan Zoological Park, which is abandoned now, the cars here give you a feeling of a safe ride. A person can also come to the hilltop without hiring a vehicle and go back by the ropeway.’’
The state government has also taken up widening of the road to the shrine that was earlier narrow. “The road widening work is a good step taken by the authorities. The endowment department should go for facilitating basic amenities near the shrine outside the temple compound,’’ said Nigam Nayak, a tourist, who came from Berhampur with friends.
The twin deities, crudely fashioned in stone, have beautiful silver eyes attached to them. Legends connect the deities to Sakta cult in the past.
Historians say that the Bhanja dynasty rulers of the former Ghumsar state in the undivided Ganjam district installed the enshrining deity. At present the endowment department looks after the temple, but Taratarini Development Board administers the day-to-day affairs.
Interestingly, monkeys in groups often create problems for visitors. “You must not flash a banana or coconuts openly while returning from the temple before getting into the vehicles. You should hide them with a dupatta or a bag,’’ said Nayak.
While the kalpa bata or the banyan tree which fulfils wishes is outside the temple and gets offerings of red scarves, bangles and clothes, a point near the gate also attracts visitors to put their offerings on a platform.
Offerings such as laddu and khichdi are available at a counter near a gate with a nominal price.
Getting there is easy as taxis and auto-rickshaws available at Berhampur and Chhatrapur. There are several places to stay. Moreover, there is a beautiful Panth Nivas run by the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation near the hill. Rail and road links to Berhampur and Chhatrapur are available in plenty.
Source: The Telegraph