A picturesque island in the river Mahanadi, Dhabaleswar Temple is named after its presiding deity Lord Shree Dhabaleswar (Shiva). The name Dhabaleswar is formed by the combination of two words ‘Dhabala’ meaning white and ‘Eswar’ meaning God, attributed to a miracle performed by Lord Shiva.
This island is situated at a distance of 27 km from the city of Cuttack. This place is mainly famous for the presence of the Dhabaleswar temple where the deity of this place resides. Reconstructed under the rule of king Bir Kishor of Khurda, this temple is embellished with stone carvings that date back to the early 10th and 11th centuries.
The serene ambiance, in which the temple is situated, inspires spiritual feeling among one and all.
The belief behind the name Dhabaleswar originates from a mythological story. According to the legend, once a thief stole a black calf from the nearby village and hid in the temple. The villagers were furious and gathered outside the temple waiting for the thief to come out. The extremely agitated and scared thief prayed and pleaded Lord Shiva to save him.
That is when Lord Shiva appeared in the disguise of a Sannyasin and asked the crowd the cause of their rage. On being told that they suspected the thief of hiding in the sanctum along with the black calf, the sannyasin brought the calf outside to dispel their doubts. The calf turned out to be white, seeing which the crowd let the thief go.
The Sannyasin then disappeared in a blink of an eye. Hence, the thief realized that the lord came to his rescue and decided to confess and apologize to the crowd. He also vowed to spend the rest of his life in the service of the Lord. This act of turning a black calf to white caused Lord Shiva to be also known as Dhabaleswara.
Structure and Architecture
It is said that King Bir Kishor was in a hunt with his personal bodyguards and attendants when he found the original temple in a derelict state. The king ordered the renovation of the temple along with entrusting the care and service of the temple to a Mali (caretaker). The family of this Mali later on discovered the village, Malisahi which falls on the way to the temple.
How to Reach
Odisha’s first ever foot hang bridge is connecting the exotic island with mancheswar which is the major way to reach the temple.
Being situated on an island, earlier, people used to book ferries in or near Cuttack to reach the temple. Although the boating tradition no longer exists, a new bridge has been built to reach vehicles.
Busses, private vehicles and other public transports would also happily travel to this place. Yet, it is beneficial to learn about the travel cost in order to prevent from being cheated.
Nearest Railway Station
The nearest railway station is Cuttack railway station. Public transports like auto-rickshaws will only travel from there if reserved completely. Which will cost a little more than changing vehicles from one place to another.
The nearest airport is Bhubaneswar International Airport. Booking private vehicles beforehand from there is more beneficial than depending on public transports. As public transports can be tiring, considering one would have to change the mode of transport at various stops.
It is a tiny island consisting of a few small villages. Albeit being attached to Cuttack via its bridges and being divided by a waterline, it is still counted to be a part of Cuttack city.
This enchanting place gives a sense of purity, chastity, and peace. The temple is not only the major attraction of this place but also the totem that is believed to be protecting the island. A small island with an enthralling story is enough fascination to get attracted towards the spiritual culture of Odisha.