Sri Siddhi Vinayak Sits On The Ancient Throne Of Jajati Keshari

Shri SiddhiVinayak , Kali Gali , Cuttack , Odisha sits on Shri Jajati Keshari II Singhasana ( Royal Throne) 1025 – 1040.
A journey to discover this masterpiece , an ancient royal throne belonging King Jajati Keshari -II (1025-1040) in the heart of Cuttack City in Kali Gali – Shri Siddhi Vinayak Temple has been an extremely exciting and a fulfilling and enriching experience .

We came across a very detailed research paper written by Shri Deepak Bhattacharya on the Keshari Dynasty Contributions and in particular about this Royal Throne. We would like thank him for this extensive work , somehow this has not received the lime light it deserves

A Capital City for 1000 years and yes a Royal Throne very well preserved to complete the statement . And now it has an extremely well deserved occupant to keep it intact and its sanctity for years to come. This is equally an extremely proud moment for all us who are connected to the place and its history.

Shri Siddhi Vinayaka was established by Raghujee Bhonsle (1695 -1755) during Maratha rule in Orissa. Raghujee is said to have given land & financial grant . The Temple Complex has a ekaka sevayat (one family) system, having the title of Dixit of Kasyapa gotra. We met with Shri Priyajit Dixit , who is continues the family tradition.

Heritage Tour in Summer of 2018 – A revisit of those memorable 2 day event – 2nd Day

May 20th, 2018

The 2nd day tour began with five members – Ashish , Myself , Dilip Bhai , Dipak Bhai and Shibaji Babu . Nishi and his Son had some commitments and Hitesh couldn’t continue due some important work his end . Sun was already up and hitting us hard at 7:30 am in the morning , yet the spirit in each of us was to complete the day as much as we can .  A place ensconced in a tiny village near Ansupa lake was our next attraction . 

Sri Trutitiyadeva Temple , 14th Century , Subarnapur

A surprise awaiting us was Sri Trutiyadeva Temple , 14th Century built by the Gangas , dedicated to Lord Jagannath , his brother Baldev and Sister Subhadra . A monument so far which has remained intact , despite being next to the river Mahanadi at Subarnapur Village , near Ansupa Lake . A stunning piece of Kalingan Architecture ,  Probably one of most closest replica of Jagannath temple in Puri – and very well preserved . This was perhaps the 5th temple built by Ganga Kings on the Kataka side . A Rekha vimana and pidha jagamohana of Kalingan order and very complete. Gorgeously decorated with architectural motifs such askhakharamundis in talajangha, pidhamundis in the uparajangha, and rekhamundi designs in talagarbhika. The maithuna images mostly rajapana scenes are profusely carved in the jagamohana. Animals procession, with musicians also found on the jagamohana entrance. Seeing the Triad inside the sanctum was bliss.

Heritage Tour in Summer of 2018 – A revisit of those memorable 2 day event – 1st Day

May 19th , 2018 

Tour of Salepur & Choudwar  –  It was a morning of excitement and lots of anticipation, when collectively 8 Heritage Enthusiastic  individuals’ took and endeavour to see some of the ancient treasures of Undivided Cuttack .  The ever consuming Summer heat and yet the brave enthusiasts were simple unstoppable .  

This day will go down the memory lane as discovering rich antiquities and artefacts and building the initiative and foundation  for  Cuttack Heritage Walks .  Shri Dipak Samantarai , Shri Dilip Das, Shri Shibaji Nayak, Shri Hitesh Seth, Shri Nishikant Mohanty , Master Abhigyan Mohanty , Shri Ashish Sarangi and Myself.  An age group spread from 14 years to 72 years and what a group it was indeed.

Picture Courtesy – Sri Hitesh Seth at the ruins of Sri Dadhi Baman Temple, Gopinathpur

Our first stop – was Sri Chateswara Temple , A 13th Century built by the Gangas in Kishnapur Village near Salepur. The Stone Inscription by Shri Ananga Bhima Deva – III well kept , chronicled with the achievements and victories he made as the Ruler of Kalinga from 1211 A.D.   While he thwarted the enemies in Bengal and drove them away, he had swiftly conquered the Kalachuris in the West and built a strong alliance , expanded his Kingdom until Rajamundry in the South .  


On the basis of a number of detached sculptures of different faiths like Saivite and Sakta, the original temple can be assigned to the Eastern Ganga dynasty rule during 12th Century AD. A miniature four- armed Vishnu, broken images of Chamunda, Surya and Buddha, Udyotasimha, Nandi, miniature temple and other architectural members.The temple is pancharatha on plan and the bada has multi-segmented horizontal mouldings in elevation. 

Sri Chateswara Temple – Stone Inscription

Shahi Qila Masjid/Fateh Khan Rahim Masjid Qila Fort Cuttack

G Arnold Toynbee has recorded his impression regarding Barabati Qila “The great arched gateway of the eastern as Stirling calls it, and a fine old mosque called Fateh Khan Rahman, are almost the only objects of antiquarian interest which remains intact.”
Controversy surrounds the identity of the real builder of this beautiful mosque. Historians Dr K C Panigrahi and Dr Jagannath Pattnaik state that this was built by the Nawab of Bengal, Alwardi Khan in 1707 AD. Prof P K Mukherjee and Dr R P Mohapatra opine that this was built by Fateh Khan Rehman. Dr B C Roy thought that some Muslim governors of Barabati Fort might have built it.

According to Sri Kedarnath Mohapatra “the mosque within the Barabati Fort was constructed by a Faujdar, Fateh Khan Rahman”. The epitaph of the tomb of Fateh Khan inside Qudam-e-Rasool reveals that he died in Hijri year 1128 (1768-69 AD).

In 1766 AD, Lord Robert Clive, sent an English officer named Thomas Mottee to the Maratha Subedar of Sambalpur, Raja Bhawani Pandit. While navigating in river Mahanadi, he saw the impressive sight of Shahi Mosque from the other side of the river.
Most probably, the Mosque was constructed by Fateh Khan before 1767 AD. Shahi Qila Masjid resembles Jama Masjid (Balu Bazar) and Tatar Khan Masjid(Dewan Bazar) in structural design. The dates of their construction indicate these mosques were built during the reign of Nawab Shuhauddin Khan, the Nizam of Odisha. He was as per the records a pious and benevolent soul apart from being a royal dignitary.

Photographed by Sri Taranisen Patnaik

Shahi Qila Masjid was obviously built to facilitate prayers by the members of the armed forces stationed there. Time had taken a heavy toll on the mosque as well. Professor Altaf Hussain has said that the mosque remained in disuse for sometime and was used as a magazine during the British rule of Odisha as it is apparent from the two Mihrabs on the flanks which are bricked up. The State Archeological Department renovated the mosque after it was declared as a heritage monument. A Managing Committee is in charge of the upkeep of the mosque now.

Shahi Qila Masjid did have a few inscriptions which are missing now.
There is only one inscription written in Arabic containing Surah Yaseen from the Holy Quran on the wall of the place demarcated for the Imam at the centre of the prayer hall.
A beautiful landmark of the Millennium City

The Ruins that Resonate the Glory of the Yore: The Last Vestiges of Fort Barabati

Barabati Fort Gate – Picture by Nishant Singh

The ancient imperial citadel of Odisha, the fortress of  Barabati, also a  masterpiece that stands ruined and dilapidated today, is a testimony of what was once a shining example of Odia architecture and craftsmanship, apart from being a symbol of Odia military might. Today it almost lies submerged in deep flora, fauna, dense vegetation and wilderness. It was the seat of political power and civil-military administration through centuries. This ancient fortress has witnessed several rise and falls of kings and their empires, It withstood wars, betrayals, deceit, siege, and invasions and continues to remind the lost glory and pride of Odisha in the modern times. 

The fort is located at Barabati, Cuttack, the ancient city, which is known for its world famous silver filigree art. The name Cuttack is an anglicized version of Kataka, meaning military cantonment in Sanskrit. The fort is strategically located near the confluence of the  two rivers, such as the mighty Mahanadi and its tributary Kathjodi, not far from where they finally merge into the Bay of Bengal. It was a vibrant hub for trading and commercial activities as well, the history of which can be traced in the annual Bali Jatra , that marked the beginning of a traditional voyage by Odia sailors to south-east Asian countries. Flanked by these two rivers, Fort Barabati , thus stood tall amid the thick and thin of time.

Picture Courtesy B R Das.

Structural Marvel and Architectural Grandeur of the Fortress: An Archeological Heritage

The Khondalite stone fortress is surrounded by a moat (Gada Khai), which was constructed possibly for strategic defense purpose at a later stage during the reign of Gajapati, King Kapilinedra Deva (1434 – 1466 A.D). He used to be on long military campaigns in northern Odisha and subsequently ventured into southern India. During his military expeditions, many forts were built in the annexed territories like Medinapore , Nellore , Kondavidu to name a few. This expansionist and militaristic agenda of the King required a robust defense and military strategy that included the fortification of his fort at Barabati. As part of that grand strategy, a moat was constructed around the Barabati fort, which deterred the invaders for a long time. 

Current Status of the MOAT (Gadakhayi) , Picture by Nishant Singh

Looking at the present condition of this moat, one finds it to be swampy and full of dense weeds and hyacinth vegetation growing over it. Algal bloom, which increases the BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand), COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and growth of weeds which prevents sunlight to enter the moat. These factors are detrimental for aquatic and marine life by depleting oxygen levels in the water.

Current Status of the Moat (Gadakhayi) – Southern Side , Picture by Nishant Singh

Colonized by various conquerors in the past and now covered by dense green weeds, ferns and moss, Barabati struggles to reclaim her rightful place in history and to attract the attention of the conservationists. Now what remain are the Moat (Gadakhayi), a grand stone structure, the Eastern Gateway and the plinth of the Palace, which makes one relive the memories of the glorious past.

Current Status of the Moat (Gadakhayi) – Eastern Side Near the Barabati Gate , Picture by Nishant Singh

Hazrat Bhanwar Shah Wali Mazar by Shri Dipak Samantarai

Long time ago, a Qafla (Caravan) came to Cuttack through Chahata Ghat and encamped on the western part of the city. The place is now known as Qafla Bazar.
Bhanwar Shah Wali was the Imam of the people who accompanied the caravan.
After the death of the Saint his body was buried near the ruined mosque (Bhanwar Shah Masjid) where he used to offer prayers with his followers. His tomb was constructed there. According to the local people, the Shrine is more than (400) four hundred years old. Excepting a mound, there is no trace of the masjid.

Painting by Prof Dr Falguni Ray (Retd Plastic Surgeon ) , SCB Medical Cuttack

In the premises there are other tombs which belong to the brothers of the Saint and his disciples. At that point of time, it used to be a graveyard as well.
Right from the beginning for a long time the Shrine was on a raised square platform without a roof. But in the recent past people have built a flat roofed structure having a bulbous dome in the center. The roof is placed on twelve pillars, each of which has a height of twelve feet from the ground level. On every side there are two small archways.

The Shrine of Hazrat Sayed Bhanwar Shah Wali, located at Saidani Bagicha, Kanika Road, is one of the oldest and best known shrines of the Millennium City. It’s premises measure 1.5 acres of prime land. People of all faiths throng the place.

Barabati Fort

Barabati Fort , Katak or Cuttack , Odisha
A moment of pride for me & people who are from this place.

Barabati Fort, Cuttack

Cuttack preserves hoard of archaeological remains, one of the important monument of Cuttack town is Barabati fort, which speaks a history of seven hundred years and more is the mute witness of march of events through the centuries. Scholars give different opinions regarding the date of construction of Barbati fort. Madalapanji, the Jagannatha temple chronicle narrate an interesting story which is as follows.
This king Bhima Parichha or Anangabhima II was residing in his capital called Chaudwar. One day the king crossed the Mahanadi and came towards southern side. Here he noticed in the Barabati village belonging to the Ko-danda sub-division that near the god Visweswar Deva, a heron had jumped upon a hawk. Seeing this the king was very much surprised and on an auspicious day laid the foundation of construction of the fort and this village was named Barabati Cuttack. And since then he left Choudwar and lived at Cuttack making it his capital.

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