About Sambalpur


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sambalpur is a city in the western portion of India's Orissa state. It is the headquarters of Sambalpur District. Sambalpur derives its name from Goddess Samleswari who is regarded as the reigning deity of the region.

Sambalpur lies 321 km from Bhubaneswar, and is an ancient centre for the diamond trade. It is famous for its internationally renowned textiles locally known as bandha - English- tie & die akin to the (ikat) style of weaving of the malaya peninsula , rich tribal heritage and fabulous forestlands. Sambalpur is easily accessible by rail and road. Sambalpuri - a variation of the Oriya language is the native language of Sambalpur.

Sambalpur is the connecting city between Chhatisgarh and Orissa. Whereas it used to be known for its importance as a diamond trading centre, nowadays it is mainly known for its textiles. It's a good place from which to explore the surrounding forests and spot some of the rare species still roaming the area in one of the wild life sanctuaries, such as the well-known Badrama sanctuary.

Sambalpur, situated on the left bank of the Mahanadi River, is an ancient town mentioned in the book of Ptolemy (2nd Century CE) as Sambalaka situated on the left bank of river "Manada," now known as Mahanadi. From the records of Xuanzang, and in the writings of the celebrated King Indrabhuti (oldest known king of Sambalpur), the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism and the Lama Cult, Sambalpur has earned a place in the cultural history of India.

In the time past Sambalpur was famous for diamond trade. 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 of many famous diamonds mines of Sumelpur (Semelpur) present day Sambalpur (also know as Hirakhand) states that 8000 people were at work in these mines at the time of his visit, in the dry season at the beginning of February.

In the ancient time this area was known as Kosal. Goddess Samaleswari is the presiding deity of the area.

It was last governed by the feudal chiefs of the Chawhan dynasty till 1803 and then came under the sway of the British Empire. The name of Veer Surendra Sai, who fought an epic struggle against the British Rule, is recorded in golden letters in the history of India's struggle for independence.

Sambalpur serves as the gateway to the bewitching Western Part of Orissa. It is the divisional head quarters of the Northern administrative division of the State - a very important commercial and Educational center. There are direct train connections to Kolkata (565 km, 12 h by train). New Delhi (1460 km, 26 h by train). Chennai (1010 km, 32 h by train). Bhubaneswar the capital city of the State is connected through NH 42 (325 km, 8 h by bus or train). Ahmadabad and Mumbai are linked through Jharsuguda Junction (48 km). The nearby Airports are at Bhubaneswar (325 km) and Raipur (300 km).

Places like the world famous Hirakud Dam and its lake with the winter visitors from Siberia, leaning Temple of Huma and the wildlife Sanctuary at Badrama (Ushakuthi), Khalasuni and Debrigadh (wildlife sanctuary in the Barapahad mountain range - Chourasimal), Budharaja Temple, Gudguda waterfall, Ghanteswari Temple attract tourists. Near by places like the Narsinghnath and Harishankar, (Bolangir) Padhanpat (Deogarh) Hanuman Batika, Mandira Dam and Khandadhar (Rourkela) attracts tourists to its serene surroundings.

The artwork of the Sambalpuri tie and dye weavers, fascinating fabrics with enchanting designs and motifs is cherished for the uniqueness by the connoisseur of handloom the world over. Sambalpuri songs and dance has earned a unique place in the cultural arena of the would.

Anthropological studies revealed that, primitive men dwelled in the thick forests around Sambalpur, settling themselves in the natural rock caves. Vikramkhol, Manikmoda, Phuldungri, Ushakuthi, Bhimamandli, Ulapgadha, Sargikhol are a few amongst them.

Sambalpur and its vicinity are the storehouse of varied culture and festivals.

Things to Buy: Sambalpur is famous for its Hand Loom Textile works. Popularly known as Sambalpuri Textile. It has earned international fame for its unique pattern, design and texture. Sambalpuri handloom Sari, Handkerchief, Bed Sheets and other items can be bought in the shops at Gole Bazaar including the Sambalpur Hand Loom Co-operative show rooms.

Source: Dilip Kumar Padhi (Wikipedia).

For Sambalpur pics and wallpapers click here.