Sambalpur Knowledge Guide
Although it is generally accepted that Tantric Buddhism first developed in the country of Uddiyana or Odra Desha under King Indrabhuti, there is an old and well known scholarly dispute as to whether Uddiyana or Odra was in the Swat valley, Odisha or some other place. Indrabhuti, the oldest known king of Sambalpur, founded Vajrayana, while his sister, who was married to Yuvaraja Jalendra of Lankapuri (Suvarnapur), founded Sahajayana. These new Tantric cults of Buddhism introduced the mantra, mudra and mandala along with six Tantric Abhicharas (practices) such as Marana, Stambhana, Sammohana, Vidvesan, Uchchatana and Vajikarana. The Tantric Buddhist sects made efforts to raise the dignity of the lowest of the low of the society to a higher plane. It revived primitive beliefs and practices a simpler and less formal approach to the personal god, a liberal and respectful attitude towards women and denial of caste system.From the seventh century A.D. onwards, many popular religious elements of heterogeneous nature were incorporated into Mahayana Buddhism which finally resulted in the origin of Vajrayana, Kalachakrayana and Sahajayana Tantric Buddhism. Tantric Buddhism first developed in Uddiyana, a country which was divided into two kingdoms, Sambhala and Lankapuri. Sambhala has been identified with Sambalpur and Lankapuri with Subarnapura (Sonepur).
Sambalpur Lok Mahotsav
A cultural manifestation of the hidden age-old traditional performing art of a vast geographical area is possible through this annual celebration of the festival called Lok Mahotsav. This festival is a reflection of the socio- anthropological evolution of the people of India. Lok Mahotsav shows the integrity and unison of the heritage, culture, music and lifestyle of Western Odisha. Live performances of folk music and dance from all parts of India are shown under one splendid stage.
This is the marriage ceremony of the god Siva and goddess Parvati. Sitalsasthi is a carnival of folk dance and music along with decorated stands of gods and goddesses. People from all walks of life participate in large numbers in the carnival. Artists from different states of India take part in the carnival making it a colourful extravaganza.
Kalki Avatar and Sambalpur
Kalachakra tantra was first taught by the Buddha to King Indrabhuti, the first dharmaraja of Shambhala. It is widely believed that the next Hindu avatar known as Kalki will be born at Sambalpur or Shambhala, as this place was known in olden times. There are several mentions of the place Shambhala in different Hindu and Buddhist religious texts as the birthplace of Kalki. The Mahabharatra (Vana Parva, 190.93–97) and Srimad-Bhagavatam Bhag.12.2.18 give reference of Shambhala as the birthplace.
Lost Temples of Hirakud Dam
These are remnants of temples submerged after the dam was completed in 1957. In summer, due to the receding water of the dam, the structures become visible. These hidden treasures have finally caught the attention of historians and steps are being taken to understand the historical significance of these temples which periodically go under water, only to resurface again. Many temples have been destroyed after 58 years of underwater existence. However, some remain intact.Interest in these lost temples has been rekindled after two stones, etched with writing ('Shila Lekha'), were recovered from what is believed to be the Padmaseni temple of the submerged Padmapur village. The temples located inside the reservoir area were part of the then Padmapur, one of the oldest and most populous villages in the region prior to the dam construction. More than 200 temples were submerged by the dam; nearly 150 temples have either perished or are underwater and about 50 are visible during summer. These lost temples present excellent opportunities for scuba diving enthusiasts to explore under the Hirakud Dam. These temple are visible to visitors on boats only during the summer months of May and June.