Prachi Valley of Odisha: The heritage site that deserves to be better knownSunday August 7, 2022 at 5:48 pm
Prachi valley is named after the river of the same name. The Prachi river has been called the Saraswati of Eastern India. Unlike the glorious Saraswati river, the Prachi river is still alive. The valley surrounding it is known for its magnificent monuments alongside the river banks. The valley flourished between the 7th & 16th century AD, and most monuments here were built during that period. The various types of monuments a traveler will find here include temples of multiple sorts, forts, mutts, stepped-wells, Ghats, Forts, Ports, tirthas, dunes, etc.
All you need to know about Prachi Valley
The valley is a microcosm of India in that it witnesses the co-existence of several cultures and ideologies across different religions – including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Shaivism, Shaktism & Vaishnavism. Most of the monuments here have been lost in time, and a few that remain are a living testimony of the glorious civilization which once flourished in this circuit. Among these monuments, two from a total of 150 are under ASI, and fifteen monuments are under the state archaeology department.
Several royal dynasties are linked with this region, including the Mughals, Marathas, Kharvela’s Chedi dynasty, Bhaumakaras, Somavamsis, Gangas, Gajapatis, Shailodbhavas, etc.
Prachi Valley’s stretch is within a small distance from Bhubaneswar, Odisha’s state capital. The valley touches the Khurda, Cuttack, and Puri districts and has an entire period of around 54 kilometers. The Prachi river stretches from Dakamba, a small village near the Naraj Barrage in Cuttack, to Keutajanga, which joins the Kaduna river. The Debi estuary of Puri lies 3 kilometers down the stream from there.
There are two ways of approaching the valley – either through the Bhubaneswar-Phul Nakahara-Adaspur side or the Bhubaneswar-Uttara-Balipatna side.
1. Prachi Bazaar Vanika Sangh
We started our journey early in the morning from Bhubneshwar. We went down National Highway 16 toward Cuttack, first stopping at a distance of about 15 kilometers to have our breakfast at Prachi Bazaar Vanika Sangh. The Bazaar is the perfect place to try local delicacies, which we highly recommend if you are here. Another thing we highly recommend is eating the local specialty – Rasogola.
2. Sobhaneswar temple
One of the most important sites to visit in the Prachi Valley is the Sobhaneswar temple. One must change the highway to number 60, a right turn some distance ahead. The east-facing temple, now somewhat worn down, is 48 feet high. Located at the banks of the Prachi river, it is built of sandstone in Kalinga architectural style with Rekha Viman with Pidha Jagmohan. The Natya Mandap is missing, and a frontal pillar stands as its last evidence. The temple houses a Shivling within a circular Yonipeeth.
We were naturally interested in the history of the temple. We learned that it must have been built by King Anangabhima Deva III, an Eastern Ganga dynasty king who ruled the region near the end of the 12th century. Another ruler, Vassal Nagavamsi King Vaidyanath is mentioned on the walls – the theory is that he may have been responsible for some restoration work in the temple.
Located about 23 kilometers from Phul Nakahara, the temple also houses a small museum shed. The museum is some rare Madhava and other idols recovered from the Niali area. Being a shiva temple, it attracts large crowds and celebrations on Mahashivratri.
3. Madhavananda Temple
Our next stop was the Madhavananda Temple of the Madhava village that lies under the Niali block of Cuttack district. The temple became the highlight of our trip. At 49 feet high, it is also a Rekha Vimana with Pidha Jagmohan, but, unlike Sobhaneswar temple, it still has its flat-roofed Natya Mandap from the Kalingan order. The Eastern Ganga rulers also built the east-facing temple during the middle of the 13th century. The temple is made of sandstone, and its presiding deity is a four-armed Madhava (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) in black chlorite. The Garuda Murti made of granite is a treat to the eyes.
Janmashtami, Dol Purnima & Ram Navami are some of the most important festivals here. You can get temple food here if you have got a prior booking for the same. It is located at a distance of only 7 kilometers from the Sobhaneswar temple.m
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
There are several questions people ask that relate to Prachi Valley. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this subject:
Question: What are some of the exciting facts about Prachi valley?
Answer: The following are some of the exciting facts about Prachi Valley:
- One of the greatest works of Indian literature, Geeta Govinda by poet Jayadev, was composed on the banks of the sacred Prachi river.
- The word ‘Prachi’ means East or orient.
Question: What are some of the tips while visiting Prachi Valley?
Answer: The following tips will come in handy when visiting Prachi Valley:
- Most of these sites are in rural areas away from main roads, and you will have to depend on signage to find the location of temples.
- There are also no public transport facilities available to most of these sites. Your best option if you don’t have a personal vehicle is to have a cab.
- Roads on Prachi valley are motorable. In fact, with scenic landscapes, it may even be recommended to those who want to motor ride in a rural environment.
- Some public amenities like washrooms, hotels & restaurants will not be available on this route. You will have to depend on public toilets at fuel stations or the government’s Sulabh Sauchalayas wherever possible.
- Since food is not readily available, you may want to carry your tiffin with lunch and a water bottle while visiting. Tiffany can be availed at Pahala, Niali, Nimapara, Phul Nakahara, Uttara Square, etc.
Question: What are some travel sights one can see in Prachi Valley?
Answer: We spent only one day in Prachi Valley on our last trip, and one day is not enough to exhaust all the incredible tourist attractions it offers. Some of the other tourist attractions that the valley is not mentioned in the above list are the following:
- Kuruma Buddhist site
- Jayadev Peeth of Kenduli Village
- Hirapur Chausathi Yogini Temple
- Angeswar Mahadev Temple
- Varahi Temple at Chaurasi
- Gangeswari Temple, Prachi Valley
- Chhena Jhili at Nimapara
- Boudhanath Temple
- Mahashivratri & Bada Osha Festivals
- Madhukeswar and Bodhikeswar temple at Deulidharpur
- Kakatpur Mangala Temple
If the reader has any other questions, they should feel free to ask them in the comments below.
The Bottom Line
One can easily wrap up the above discussion by concluding that though it is not exactly easy to explore the Prachi valley, the experiences it will offer make it worth the trouble.