समलेश्वरी मंदिर, संबलपुर – Samaleswari Temple Sambalpur
Samaleswari Temple dedicated to Goddess Samaleswari, popularly known as Samalei Maa is the presiding deity of Sambalpur. Samaleswari Pitha is considered as one of the most powerful force in the Western Odisha as well as neighbor Chhattisgarh. The temple is an ancient one situated on the river bank of Mahanadi.
There are many legends about the place, which can be heard from the local people or the worshippers. The temple was actually built by King Balaram Dev of Chowhan Dynasty under a Simuli Tree sometime in the middle of 16th Century AD. But the temple was rebuilt by the 7th Independent King of Sambalpur Chhatra Sai Deo sometime in between 1657 to 1665 AD. As the temple was built under a Simuli Tree, so the Goddess was named as Samalei.
Maa Samaleswari temple is positioned on the reservoir of the river Mahanadi, Sambalpur district, Odisha It is a famous Shakti Peetha. It is a very well-known among the people of Odisha and Chhatishgarh state. Maa Samaleswari is worshipped as a form (deity) of Goddess Durga. The Goddess is famous known as ‘Shree Shree Samalai Devi’ or ‘Maa Samalai’. The icon of Maa Samalai is made out of granite rock. Few decades before, animal (buffalo) sacrifices were done in the temple, which has been stopped now. Local people have a strong believe on ‘Maa Samaleswari’.
Sambalpur is located in the eastern county of India at a distance of 320 k.m. from the Orissa Capital Bhubaneswar. The Temple is situated in the central area of the city Sambalpur.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 temple.
How to Reach the Temple and Accommodation Facilities
Sambalpur is 320 Km away from State Capital of Odisha, Bhubaneswar. It is well connected both by Rail as well as bus to almost all important places of India.
It has train links to New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Mumbai and Bokaro via Jharsuguda Junction.
NH-06 connecting Mumbai and Kolkata passes through Sambalpur. Sambalpur is connected to Cuttack via NH-42. Uninterrupted Bus facilities are available from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to reach this place.
The Nearest airport is Raipur Airport which is 270 Km away.
Accommodation facilities in the form of Guest House, Hotels and Dharmashalas are available here to provide shelter to the pilgrims.
If you are traveling via car from Sambalpur Railway Station and your destination is Maa Samaleswari Temple then it would take approximately 0 hour(s) 4 min(s); for you to reach your destination.The road distance or driving distance between Sambalpur Railway Station and Maa Samaleswari Temple is 2 kms (1.00 miles). Please note that 1 mile is equivalent to 1600 m or 1.6 km.
The name of the city also is derived from the name Samaleswari as she is the main goddess of the region.
It is said that in 16th century Kala Pahar, the general of the King of Bengal attacked Odisha and defeated and killed the last Hindu emperor Gajapati Mukunda Dev in the 16th century. He ravaged some of the famous temples of Midnapore, Khirachora Gopinath temple of Balasore, Khiching temple of Mayurbhanj, temples of Konark Bhubaneswar, Puri, Jajpur & Cuttack. Then he attacked Sambalpur.
The legend goes that Kala Pahar was defeated due to Maa Samaleswari. Kala Pahar’s tombs and of his soldiers are located on the outskirts of Sambalpur
Idol of Maa Samaleswari
The Idol of Shree Shree Samalai Devi consists of a large block of Granite rock with an inverted, trunk like projection at the bottom. A shallow cut on her “Baraha” like face symbolises her mouth. Traditional Sambalpuri nose ornament of pure gold hangs down from her imaginary nose Beaten gold leave fixed on two disproportionate golden eye like depression on the face acts as substitute for her eyes in an attempt to define the face of the mother deity on a mass of self shaped rock, the devi’s idol inspires sublime sentiments of awe, fear, reverence, devotion, love and affection towards all-pervading motherhood.
The temple of Maa Samaleswari is on the river bank of Mahanadi. The other name of Maa Samaleswari is Samalei Gudi. The main festivals of Samalei Gudi are Nuakhai and Navaratri.
On Mahalaya more than one lac devotees have a holy devi darshan of Dhabalmukhi besha. It is believed that darshan of dhabalmukhi Samaleswari gives the blessing of Ganga darshan. So it is known as Ganga darshan Besh.
During this festival the akhada ustad and akhada masters display martial art along with their players with sticks, swords and fire which attracts the people very much.
Every Tuesday and Saturday a large number of devotees and tourists come from different parts of the country.
Devi Samaleswari is worshipped with Bhuvaneswari mantra by Kshyatriya sevayats. They belong to 12 families and use the surname “Rai”. On days of festivals like Nuakhai puja is offered in a total 112 places in the temple premises. No one including pujakas demand money or any thing from the devotees which creates an atmoshphere for comfortable darshan .