Buddhakhol: Buddha & Buddheswar:A tourist destination from Odisha Tourism

Buddhism had influenced the civilization all along the areas covering Silk route in Central Asia.In the Odisha state of India,there are many such places where Buddhism had flourished. One such place is Buddhakhol where signs of Buddhism has still exist but inside the Shiva temple.

About 70 km away from Berhampur,on the top of a hill,near Buguda, Budhakhol is a scenic spot with caves,waterfalls,green canopy and remains of Buddhism. The name Budhakhol is derived from Buddha and Khol means Caves.There are two caves still present which were being used then by the Monks to meditate. Sidhha Gumpha and Dyana Gumpha as they called it. Apart from the caves as a meditation place for the Monks, there are statues of Buddha which are being worshiped now as Buddheswar.

Lord Buddheswar

There is a perennial source of waterfall attracting picnickers from nearby areas.There are 5 temples, called Panchu Mahadeva which is another attraction for the religious tourists who throng to this place from all over Odisha to worship Gangadhareswar, Sidheswar, Buddheswar, Jagadieswar and Makareswar.

Odisha tourism has developed the site with parks,all weather roads.

Lord Shiva and Maa Parbati

Historical Importance:The place and the caves were a major site of Buddhism learning.Even Lord Buddha is said to have stayed here.The Chinese traveler Huensang too had come to this place to learn Buddhism during his 17 years stay in India during 6th CE.It is said that the King of Bhanjanagar had constructed the temples later and worship of Buddheswar had started.One family of preist wes brought from Puri to worship Lord Buddheswar. Now the family has grown to forty families engaged in daily rituals at the temple as well as another temple called Kuberaswar(another Buddhist site) near Buddhakhol. Recently a Hanuam statue has been erected at the bottom of the hill and the Statues of Shiva Parbati has been donated by Ipsita Pati, an odiya actress.

Major attraction: The Water fall, Treaking,Scenec beauty,Picnic,Temples and the Park are the major attractions.Also at a distance of 3 kms another Buddhist site called Kuberaswar can be visited.


Travel advise:One can reach to the hill top through the stairs as well as by car through the newly constructed road.But parking after reaching to the top may be a problem as space to accommodate is less. Place is safe except stiff and slippery stairs.Food shops are not available at the top, so may carry water bottle and light food from Buguda. However Prasad is available at the temple kitchen.I had my lunch at the temple.One can take bath at the waterfall.


How to reach: The nerest train station is at Berhampur ,at 70 kms and nearest airport is at Bhubaneswar.One can take a taxi from Berhampur or by byke and reach to Budhakhol through Buguda.Road codition is good.Start from Berhampur to Aska and then from Aska roundabout straight road till Buguda.From Buguda one road at the right side leads to around 5 kms for Buddhakhol.

Accomodation: One accomodation is available at Krushnachandra Yatriniwas.But book it in advance. Otherwise one has to stay at Berhampur or Asika. Good number of budget hotels are available at Aska.For picnic ,utensils are available on hire near the park at bottom of the hill.


Prefered time: Any day is prefered.But October to January is prefered when climate is not hot or rain is expected.Also during Shivaratri, one can enjoy the gathering.

Tibet Settlement in India- Jirang Monastry- Mini Tibet of Odisha-My travel story to Buddhist sites of Odisha

Buddhism and Pargalpur,Odisha-

Tibet Settlement in India- Jirang Monastry- Mini Tibet of Odisha-My travel story to Buddhist sites of Odisha

Jaugarh Fort:Major Rock edicts of Ashoka.


Deomali Hill Top near Koraput.The highest mountain peak of Odisha.

Situated at a hight of 1672 mtr on the eastern ghats of South Odisha,Deomali hill top is a marvelous scenic beauty with wide range of flora and fauna and inhabited by tribes like Kondh,Bhumia and Malli.On the way to Sunabeda from Koraput it is around 58 kms from Koraput.

The Deomali Hill top

I started from Raygada to Jeypore and Koraput and then after one night stay at Jeypore, went to Deomali.Wide and sometime narrow roads flanked both sides with green stretches of trees,it gives a feel of travelling in a tunnel made of trees.Negotiating the sharp turns and hilly terrain it offers an adventurous journey till one reaches to the hill top of Deomali. Cold winds blowing at the peak of the hill and sitting there at the posts made by Odisha Tourism is something one can cherish the memories of adventurous journey.

Things to do: Photography lovers can capture some of the beautiful snaps of naturural Beauty.Treaking, Camping and film shoot or simply stitting at the posts and enjoying the nature.

Travel advice:Good driving skills,warm clothing during winter is must.In addition Stepney is must as no tyre repair shop is nearby and the road puts the vehicle tyre to its extreams.I had a tyre burst near Koraput but fortunately I had a Stepney and a tyre shop near by.Changed the tyre at the store and went ahead.

The tyre shop at Koraput

Food, one need to carry if planning for a camp or trek.Nereby villages are inhabited by tribes who are very cooperative and research scolars can make document on their lifestyle.

Where to stay: The nereby hotel available is at Koraput or Jeypore.I stayed at Jeypore in a hotel named Hello Jeypore with a rent of Rs.1895 plus. Restaurant is attached with the lodging.

Hotel Hello Jeypore.

How to reach:The Deomali hill top can be reached by car and bikes.Nearest railway station is at Jeypore.Nearest airport is Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam.

One can plan for travel to Deomali alongwith Gupteswar temple near Jeypore and some good number of waterfalls in Koraput district.


Chadhei Club – Birders of Sambalpur and the Birdman.

Sambalpur and the adjoining area has always been a bird’s paradise. Thanks to the green environment with a plethora of flora and the huge waterbody of Hirakud reservoir. Although some industrial units have come up since the last couple of years with their complementary polluting outputs contributing to the destruction of birds’ habitats, there are many breeding and feeding habitats still left for the birds to survive. Though some species are less visible now a days, no particular species has depleted to the extent of extinction. In such a situation,a group of individuals vowed to revive the birders club – Chadhei Club Sambalpur.

The Club was initially founded by Late Sri Surendra Mohan Pradhan in early 2010. Also fondly known among the birders of Sambalpur as the “Birdman of Odisha”, he made a wide range of documents on birds and their habitats. An avid birder and a school teacher, he spent a major part of his life documenting the birds. Spending on costly equipment for birding from own’s pocket was not easy. Since no sponsors were available in those days, he devised his own equipments to collect data or to take snaps of birds. Before his demise, he was able to gather many important documents on birds apart from authoring a book on the nestings of birds. The book was jointly authored by his only son Sri Ashis Pradhan and another Sri Nayar. The book was widely appreciated among bird lovers after being published by the Government of Odisha.

The Birdman of Odisha, Surendra Agyan(Sir) was not only a birder but also a great motivator towards bird conservation. He was able to motivate many poachers to stop poaching and join for the cause of conservation. As narrated by Ashish Pradhan, once during their birding on the banks of river Mahanadi, they noticed a group of teens searching for eggs laid by birds. They were regularly collecting the eggs for food and therefore were a source of information about the nesting sites. Surendra Agyan immediately offered the teens an alternate. He motivated them to refrain from harming the nests and stop collecting eggs. Instead he would offer them eggs purchased from the market.The teens were happy enough and became his friends for lifetime. Later on, the teens became a major source of information about nests and were actively associated against poaching.

After his demise, the club he had envisioned stopped its activities due to the lack of motivation. Efforts to register the club as a society were foiled by a lack of followups and red tapism. Interestingly, once even the official who had come for verification of the club address, didn’t get convinced and insisted on showing the birds. He misunderstood the club as some thing to be a zoo. However, the club was finally registered.

The members of the Chadhei Club again started gathering in remote areas in the outskirts of the town in search of birds. The vigour was slowly returning back with new members joining the club. Regular visits to different sites and creating awareness in the society, the members were tirelessly putting in their efforts to take the Club to a new height. And then, the pandemic of Covid-19 struck upon them. Site visits of the club were again hampered. But the doors were not yet closed.

One of the most important events was pending since long – the launching of a Logo for the club. A logo was finalised by the club which was decided to be inaugurated in a grand manner.A young creative artist Ms Sriya Sibadarshini designed the logo for the club. Struggling against lockdowns and pandemics, the club finally inaugurated the logo. Although a physical gathering was not possible but all members and guests joined on a virtual platform to inaugurate the Logo online.

And finally, on the 5th of Jun, 2021, on the occasion of World Environment day, the logo of Chadhei club was inagurated to the public eye. It was also posted on the social media of Chadhei Club. Chadhei Club with the new logo can now be followed on Koo, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The Logo
Inagurating the logo on zoom platform

The aim of the club has not changed from what it was envisioned as by the founder and Birdman of Odisha Sri Surendra Agyan. He had left behind him a team of dedicated bird lovers, who in this inaugural function again repeated their vows towards conservation of birds and their habitats.

(The club can be contacted by mail to: chadheiclubsbp@gmail.com. The club can be followed on Twitter, Koo, Insta and Fb)

Tapping the Youth power For Bird conservation-The Chadhei Club of Sambalpur

Dressing badi of Daringbadi

Daringbadi, a tourist destination in the Kandhamal district of Odisha.Situated at a height of 900 mts from MSL and surrounded by dense forest with hills and water falls,Daringbadi is also called Kashmir of Odisha.The temperature falls to subzero level in winter.Summer is equally comfortable.
Daringbadi name came from Mr Daring , a English man who was staying there.Daring and badi means village.

Most interesting part of my 2day stay was to know about the village Dasingbadi.To know about the name Dashingbadi was fascinating.On the way from Daringbadi to Brahmanigaon, there is a small village called Dasingbadi.It is said that the English sahebs who were staying around Daringbadi , while moving around for missionary activities,used to stay for refreshment at Dashingbadi.After a brief stay and dressing up again they would start for further journey.A bunglow was available there for their dressing up.Although the bunglow has now been missing and another Hut has been constructed in 1960.But the name still remains the DRESSING BADI or Dashingbadi……..

Dhokra artifacts of Barakhama, Kandhamal.

Dhokra artefacts are metal castings by Dhokra tribes of Odisha , WestBengal and Chattisgarh.The metal castings dates back to Mahenjodaro period and the famous among them was the dancing girl statue excavated from Mahenjodaro.

Honeybee wax or resins from trees are collected by the tribes and moulded into different shapes followed by clay covering the mould.The molten metal of bronze is poured into it which takes the shape as desired replacing the wax mould.The clay is chipped off later and the famous dhokra artefacts are ready.

Dhokra artefacts

My travel diary: While crossing Barakhama from Baliguda in Kandhamal district of Odisha India, I came to know about a small hamlet of not more than 10 families who produce the Dokra artefacts.Reaching there I came to know that the group of artisans are supported by NABARD and they happily welcomed me to showcase their product, their method of production and to narrate their struggle to sell the products.

The showroom.
The clay moulds
Clay moulds
Making of wax moulds.
In front of their Dokra product showroom

The products are beautiful and have high demand abroad as well as in India.But for these artists in remote villages, marketing their products is difficult.Still in poverty the families of Dokra artists are slowly moving to alternate source of livelihood.Non availability of credit facilities to purchase metals and lack of guidance to market their product is what they complain me while discussing their daily life.

How to reach:The place is near to Barakhama a 15 kms drive from Baliguda by road.Nearest railway station is Berhampur or Rayagada.

Bachelor life and then married.Sudden change.But it takes time to change your habits.During bachelor life, no one to inform before you go somewhere, when you are away from parents.But suddenly it changes when one is married.But man is always man.Just writing my experience.For fun, not to be taken seriously………year 1999.Was posted in Leh.Was 28 years bachelor.My parents decided my marriage date on 6th Jul.After somedays the Kargil war brokeout and all leave were cancelled.Leh was in high alert.Aircrafts and helicopters were flying with full swing I was in a helicopter flight and getting leave was not possible.So I told my parents not to distribute the invitation cards till I reach, if at all I get a leave.Days passed…the war was at it’s fag end but tension was there.I told about the issue to my CO.Got leave for 10 days.Got married and came back to unit.Then again went in September to bring my wife to Leh.By then everything was normal.In those days married accommodation was not allowed in Leh.If any one wish to, he had to arrange on his own.Now the original bachelor’s story begins.I was in so hurry that before going on leave I could not arrange a house.There were no concrete houses but mud houses were available those days.Thus I told one of my bachelor friend to keep one ready before I reach.And I landed at Leh on the scheduled date.Those days there was no mobile phones and in Leh,one can imagine those days.My friend SK Ismile received me at airfield and gave the good news that there was no house available.It will be available after 4 days.But another friend Satya Kundoo is going on leave ,so his house can be used.Sweetness of defence servise is that we mange but my wife was yet to be moulded to that environment.Anyway my friend saved me from a disastrous situation by at least arranging Kundu’s house.I stayed there for 4days and then shifted to my new rented house.My wife is from Sambalpur.Born and brought up with typical odia family.Totally dependant on father and brother on everything.It was normal those days.Cameout of Sambalpur few occasions to Delhi for RD parade.But one can understand what a newly married lady expect from her husband.A lot of care and love.Telling everybit of his whereabouts.But as I said, man are man.One morning, I went to unit. Supposed to come for lunch.But one aircraft had some requirement and I went to base camp.Got delayed and came back in the evening.My fault was not telling her, where I was going.As I told there were no mobiles then. And in forces one himself never knows where he has to go and when to return.I am being newly married, freshly converted from bachelorhood had not learnt the requirement to tell anyone where I am going.When I reached the thing was very different.Found her sobbing uncontrolled since afternoon.Her big eyes had swollen and red, about to come out.I innocently asked what happenned….As she kept on telling, I was realising the change I had to.I thought , something I had to do.Next morning I took her to nearby Sindhu river to enjoy the beauty of nature.Weather was sunny and warm.But the swaollen eyes were yet to be normal warning me repeatedly to inform her before going somewhere….But man are always man….I have changed upto some extent.But she has changed a lot.A totaly independent, with lot of self confidence.Excuses everytime I forget to tell her before going.

Then with swaollen eyes
Independent now

Dubai travel, Photoshoot with Thus Holiday.

A group of 21 travel enthusiast including children started from Bhubaneswar airport for Dubai on the evening of 22 nd April 2022.Sushree Bhakti from Thus Holidays was our travel guide.Bhakti joined us at Bhubaneswar with all travel documents including passport, visa, accomodation papers and air tickets.Our journey started with AirIndia flight to Dubai with a changeover at Mumbai.

Dinner on flight and we landed at Dubai Airport at 1.30 AM of local time which was lagging by one and half hour from Indian time.In a prebooked bus we reached to Hotel.A nice hotel with breakfast, lunch and dinner arrangement of delicious Indian food in Dubai with all co travellers was like home to all of us.Lot of joy tarvelling to AbuDhabi, Sharjah.Marketing , sight seeing and a safari in the sand dunes was well organised by Thus Travels, Bhubaneswar.

After staying for 4 days 5 nights we returned with memories and happy times spent with co travellers.

Thank you Thus Travels.

Contact No of Thus travels: Ms Bhakti:7381089188.

Sushree Bhakti
fromBurg khalipha tower

Nirmalajhara temple, Khalikot

Situated at the foothills of eastern ghat the temple was made by the King of Khlikhot Sri Balukeswar of mardaraj dynasty in the year 1676.A Lord Bishnu temple has diffrent ponds that is fed by unadultered perennialwater streams from the eastern ghat hills. A beautiful temple with excellent carvings is surrounded by greenary that offers a cooling environment to the tourists from nearby areas.Situated at a distance of 60 kms from Berhampur and 120 kms from Bhubaneswar.

Ruddy Shelduck, the Love bird Chakwa-Chakwi.

Ruddy Shelduck is a migratory bird to our place in India which breeds at Mangolia, Tibet region beyond Himalayas.In winter it migrates to warmer places in the planes of South Asia.While migrating it flies over Himalayas and this one is the highest flyer after Bar headed goose another migratory bird from this area to India.

A saffron colour bird like the saffron attire of Hindu Brahmin saints, this is also called Brahminy Shelduck in India.The male has a dark colour ring

around neck. Also a revered bird in Buddhism, it is also named as Lama bird in Tibbet. A strictly monogamous bird it pairs for life.In case one of them dies, the other one too dies soon after starving.So strong is the attachment that they are also called the Lover Bird in India. Most interesting name however is the Hindi name ….Chakwa and Chakwi.The male is called Chakwa and female is Chakwi.


They fly to India in flocks and then they get separated to live in pairs.During daytime they stay together and in night they gets separated to live alone.This is said that the separation is due to curse from a sage.After getting disturbed by the two lovers, the meditating sage cursed them to reborn as ducks.Also they can not meet.Since then the two love birds stay apart during night.Stay far away and male keeps on calling….Awaaaaa..and the female replies…nawaaa……the pityfull call continue through the night.In the morning again they reunite and continue with feeding and courtship.During breeding session the female becomes excessively aggressive towards any intruder.She chases the intruder making loud noise.If the intruder does not respond, she returns to the male and instigate him to fight back and the male responds obidiently.After all Lover Birds they are….

Few snaps from Manglajudi, Odisha

Spreading the message of love, the Brahminy Shelduck arrives into Indian subcontinent during October and returns to Mangolia, Tibet in Mid March-April.Till then Happy Valentines day to both.

Bar Headed goose and Hindu mythology.

Bar Headed goose,Anser Indicus.Locally named as Hans , Raj Hans…A winter migratory bird grey in colour with two prominent black bars accross its head.

The Bar headed geese.

In Hindu mythology and Kalidas story of Nala-Damayanti… Damayanti was the beautiful princess of Bidarbha and Nala was king of Nishada.Nala was an able king but unmarried. He came accross the painting of Damayanti and fell in love.Once Nala cought a beautiful bird.The bird pleaded for mercy and promissed to sing story of praises to Damayanti if he is spared.The king agreed.The bird went to Damayanti and told about Nala which attracted Damayanti towards Nala and finally they got married.Damayanti was so impressed with Nala that she rejected even God in a swayamvar and choose Nala as her husband.So the Bird carried the message of love from the Nishad kingdom to Bidarbha, while migrating over the mighty Himalayas.

Reaching to Bidharbha
Crossing the Himalayas

Goose and Swan controversy:There is controversy if it was a swan or a goose which carries the message of love from Nala to Damayanti.In Rig Veda and other mythological documents and Kalidas literature it is the Swan which is refered as a Hansa.However Salim Ali at his Azad memorial lecture in 1979 told that in birds are identified by their calls ,plumage , beaks…most of these goose are called Hamsa in Sanskrit texts and Kalidas mentioned about the lake Manas or Manosaravar from where the gooose breeds and migrate..Dave in his explanation lists insatances where Hansa has been refered as Goose.In some other sanskrit literature, there is difference between Swan and Goose.Swan is Hamsa and Goose is Kadamb.

Barring all controversy, what important is ,the migration.The bar headed goose weighing about 3 kls with a comparatively larger wing span breeeds in upper Himalayas, Mangolia, Russia, Tibet the place of Manosaravar.In winter they migrate to Indian subcontinent through Himalayas.It is intresting to note that in stead of passing through the valleys at lower altitude,it prefers to cross the Himalay at it peak height.It requires lot of energy to create lift and also oxygen intake.And the bar headed goose has special abilities to counter these hardships.They have more arteries and special haemoglobin to carry more oxygen in blood.Equipped with all these specialities it crosses at the heights of 8000 ft and reaches to Indian subcontinent with message of love from King Nala on the way from the Nishad kingdom .The special haemoglobin can be a source of scientific reserch for high altitude sickness and heart ailments.

The bird of Hindu mythology spends it’s winter before returning back in mid March every year.Feeding on the seeds of grass lands during night, it congregates in large flocks in the mid of near by water bodies during daytime.One such place where it comes in large numbers is the Rusikulya river of Ganjam, Odisha.

Damayanti did not kill the messager of love.It listened to the bird and it’s praise for Nala, patiently to fall in love with King Nala.A classical example of message for conservation, in the Hindu Mythological texts and Rig Veda.

How to reach:Every year from Nov to March there is a large congregation of this mythological bird at Rusikulya river.Can be reached by road to river bank and then need to hire a boat.

The location

Blackbuck and the Sorodo Village:A story of co-existence

Blackbuck, also known as Indian Antelope is one of the endangered species, are found in Indian subcontinent and Nepal.Once #blackbuck was found all over the subcontinent, was reported to be 80000 during 1947 had depleted to 8000 in 1964.The beautiful animal has a distinct colour that differ among sexes.The male are dark black and female are reddish brown with white underparts on both sexes.Male with long curly horns often found in a group of 5-50.Said to be only surviving member of Antelope family are still available in places though in small numbers.One such place is the Sorodo Village in the Ganjam district of Odisha,India.

While travelling by road at places the “drive slow,” caution boards near Aska town rose my curiosity to see them.After Googling on Blackbucks and checking with villagers nearby ,I came to know about the fact of endangered status of the species and also about the conservation of them by the villagers of Sorodo.Also said to be in plenty near Bhetnoi village about 10 kms away from Sorodo.In fact the entire plains of the area is inhabitated by these Anelopes.

On 19th Dec 2021, early morning with one of my friend we started from Berhampur to Sorodo village.Sorodo village is around 60 Kms from Berhampur via Aska.Road was good and we reached at Sorodo village at around 8 AM.One of the villager Mr.Vinayak who we had contacted to guide us was waiting at the village and he took us to the out skirts of the village to see the Blackbucks.It was cold winter and weather too was bit cloudy.My Nikon D500 camera was asking for more ISO and suddenly I saw one well grown male, dark black in colour was sitting alone at a distance of 50 MTR away from the main road. i stopped my car and zoomed my camera to take snaps.He looked at me and posed for some snaps before running into the bushes nearby.Another group of Balckbucks and then many other small groups at a distance of around 200 mts.

I asked Vinayak..how much close we can reach to them…in the afternoon they come very close to village, he told.Even the villagers have made a grass land for them to graze.But do they poach them I asked.Never..he told.Blackbucks are destroying the crops but villagers never kill them.And this is the reason, the number is still good at this area for this endangered species.Sometimes they find calfs which they carefully handover to forest department.The main predators are the dogs from the village.Sometime the dogs hunt them for food.The villagers are their protectors and have set an example of Human-Nature co-existence.

One can reach to this village by road from Aska or Bhanjanagar.Best time to see them is early morning and around 4 PM.

#blackbuck #antelope

Professionalism-Not someone’s whim.

The Professional, an International best seller by Subroto Bagchi, published by Penguin, Rakesh was reading when he came across an interesting episode. Received a call from one of his colleagues. …..and then the clash of ego which could add another chapter to the best seller.

The colleague was Mt.Sanjota and was senior in Rank but equally positioned in a different department of a clearly defined structural verticals under a single boss to both of them.Both report to one boss and both have different roles.Rakesh has an advisory role where as Sanjota has the operational role.But Mr.Sanjota has knowingly or unknowingly a grid for power which this time landed him to situation of an otherwise avoidable ego clash with Rakesh.

A professional must always know the Organisational structures,its instructions which enables oneself in discharging better.Secondly encroaching to peers area of work not only creates enemity,distrust but also infringement of organisational instructions.

In a similar manner, Mr Sanjota unknowingly crossed his domain and was objected by Mr.Rakesh.The objection by Rakesh was rightful, bcaz a professional must know where to say NO.It may hurt someone’s ego and exactly what happened.Mr Sanjota lost control of himself and kept on going unprofessional.Although he realised latter but ego is something never fades away.Willingly or unwillingly he obeyed the organisational instructions.But in the entire episode,he lost credentials of self among his peers.

An organisation always have a clear goal for which it has a clear set of instructions.It is the man which interprete and implement the instructions.A professional approch for implementation of instructions enriches the organisation.On the other hand an unprofessional approach hampers the organisation, creates poor Interpersonal Relationship & lack of humour in workplace.

As the situation moves on, the story may be another page on the best seller book.Till then organization should be run by professionals not on someone’s whim…..

(Disclaimer: Names of character are not real.Any similarity is coincidence.)

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