Travelling In Small Indian Towns #KonaKonaKotak

Travelling rejuvenates one’s body and soul.  I’ve inherited this travel enthusiasm from my parents. For a true traveller, even a less known, rustic small village can be of immense interest; exploring an old, dilapidated temple, or walking through the green rice fields feeling the verdant mellowness beneath, can bring enormous joy. Far from the maddening cacophony and, crowd of the city, small towns or suburbs always attract me. The essence of these places is easy to identify and, often they surprise us with their natural beauty.

My uncle is an engineer and, throughout his service life, has worked with reputed steel industries of the country. Once, when he was posted in Rourkela, we visited the Ispat Nagari or the Steel City of Odisha. It is a beautiful city surrounded by a range of hills and a number of rivers. The word ‘Rourkela’ literally means, ‘Our Village’. the city is divided into two sections: The Steel Township and the Civil Township. As the name suggests, The Steel Township is the residential colony of the employees of the steel plant.


Places to Visit in Rourkela

Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium: The legendary hockey players Dilip Tirkey and Lazarus Barla have started their career from this stadium. The stadium has all the modern equipment and Rourkela has produced many talented hockey players.

Mandira Dam: This dam was  specially built on river Sankh, a tributary of  Brahmani river, for supplying water to the Rourkela Steel Plant  situated about 24 km downstream. We visited it quite a couple of times and even stayed for a day at the guest house entirely maintained by the Water Supply Department of Rourkela. A picturesque garden has enhanced the beauty of the dam.

Vedavyasa Temple: It is said, three rivers, Sankh, Koel and Saraswati together gave rise to the Brahmani river. The place Vedavyasa is named after the Great Sage Vedavyas, who, according to mythology, used to live in a cave that existed in the riverside hill while writing the epic Mahabharata. The place now has a number of temples dedicated to different Gods and is visited by thousands of pilgrims.

Darjing: Darjing is a beautiful picnic spot and is well connected with Rourkela with regular bus service. We started early in the morning and spent the whole day there. It is situated on the banks of the Brahmani river. There is also a gorge named Deodhar gorge and is only a 10 minutes journey from Darjing.

Hanuman Batika: Hanuman Batika or the Garden of Hanuman has one of the tallest statues of Hanuman. It’s a beautiful place to spend time.Ghanteswari

1-2635Besides, there is a couple of other dams like Pitamahal dam and Ghoghor dam.
We enjoyed our stay in the quaint town of Rourkela. Though known as the industrial capital of Odisha, the city is exceptionally clean and well-maintained. The hills and rivers have added flavour to its beauty.

Another similarly beautiful small town I’ve visited, taking advantage of my uncle’s posting, is the town of Sambalpur. It is situated in the north-west part of Odisha, beside the river Mahanadi. The river actually has separated Sambalpur and Hirakud  from Burla.

Though a small town, but Sambalpur has a cosmopolitan flavour. It enjoys the co-existence of a variety of temples as well as mosques and churches. The presiding deity of the town, Shree Samaleswari, the mother goddess, is worshipped with great devotion and is regarded as the Mother of the World or Jagatjanani. We visited the Samaleswari temple and also some other temples like  Liakhai, Ghanteswari, Madanmohan, and Satyabadi.

The most interesting temple of Sambalpur is situated in a village about 25 km from the town. It is called the Huma, a leaning temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple will remind you of the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Sambalpur also boasts of the Hirakud dam, the world’s longest dam across the Mahanadi river. There is minaret called Gandi Minar atop which one can enjoy the vast expanse of Hirakud dam with the calm, serene nature all around. It provides a wonderful view and, you can feel oneness with the nature.

Both the cities, Rourkela and Sambalpur have retained their natural aura in spite of being industrial towns. You can experience a perfect symbiosis of nature and industry here.

Another similarly prosperous town I had a chance visit on the occasion of  one of my friends wedding is, Raigarh in the state of Chattisgarh. But, in this case, lack of proper planning and crowd of heterogeneous industries have considerably destroyed the beauty of the town itself. There are narrow winding alleys and not-so-wide roads and, a congested traffic system.

Culturally, Raigarh has a rich heritage and is considered the cultural capital of Chattisgarh. I was quite astonished to see that almost every household considers learning the dance form Kathak as a part of the education. The town also arranges a cultural festival on the auspicious occasion of Ganesh-Chaturthi.

Raigarh is also famous for Kosa silk, a fine silk made from silkworms feeding on mulberry leaves) and a typical bell metal traditional art, dokra. I bought a piece of dokra jewellery too.

We have an abundance of such small towns and cities in our country. These places are developing fast with a well-knit economy. Large and small scale industries, tourism, handicrafts are the backbone of such towns. As you know, the ING Vysya Bank is now Kotak Mahindra Bank. With this move, Kotak is making its home in such small towns across India, helping them to avail a better banking.  It’s quite aptly said, now there is #KonaKonaKotak.

The last but one picture has been taken from the official website of the district.

75 responses to “Travelling In Small Indian Towns #KonaKonaKotak

  1. My God Mani ! just like the small version of your name, you have truly brought gems out of this huge chest called India !🙂
    I knew Rourkela for the steel plant only and thought Rajgarh as a fictional town for Byomkesh Babu🙂 Sabmbhalpur is also a new knowledge and JagatJanani was Anushka in PK !!
    Well these jokes (albeit real ones) apart .. a real informative post and very interesting too. the leaning temple,the dokra piece and the mullberry silk … must travel the KonaKona of India I say🙂

    • Hehehe…. I should have add these these bits to my post… I mean, I could have start in this way, “Do you think Anushka is the only famous Jagatjanani you know of?”😛😀

      Jokes apart, we’ve such gems scattered in kona kona of our country…so many people, so many towns and village…..🙂

      Thanks a lot soul-sis…your comment made my morning sweeter….❤

  2. Great tips Mani! Thank you so much for wonderful the word Kona Kona Kotak🙂 I am curious on Vedavyasa Temple, from your description, it must be a beautiful one!

  3. Thanks to you… I got 2 new beautiful places as reference – now I want to visit Rourkela and Sambalpur! Lovely post as usual, Mani🙂

  4. Rourkela…first time am reading about it, all i knew was about the steel plant. and the jewelry piece is so unique…would love to have one🙂 Nice informative post.

    • Thanks dear. Your comment always made me happy happy😀

      there are so many samll towns and villages in our country. I think it’s almost impossible to explore them in one’s lifetime. And, each is unique in its own way…🙂

  5. It’s so nice to read about the charm of the smaller villages and lesser known cities. I’ve always travelled only to places that are known to all. Though I’m tempted to explore the not so famous landmarks, being a fuss traveler It’s very difficult for me. Perhaps, someday🙂

  6. I LOVED that first paragraph about travelling to small places. It’s all so true – in the smaller places, away from the maddening crowds, there’s so much that deserves appreciation. And it’s thanks to posts like these that one gets to hear about little-known gems in small places: for instance, I had no clue about that leaning temple of Sambalpur! Oh, and that’s an absolutely gorgeous piece of jewellery you bought there!❤ Thanks for this great post.

    • Our small town Indian villages and towns have various such gems. I think we need to explore them on a larger scale…🙂 I’ve visited a tribal village once and felt their warm hospitality towards strangers.

      Thanks so much Ami, I love dokra jewellery….have some more in my collection…😀

  7. Amazingly detailed itinerary for visiting the places in and around Rourkela. I love small towns too – there’s something very refreshing about them.

  8. Very nicely done. Marvelous photos. I want a piece of that jewelry!!! Really. What is your piece made of…is that your piece in the photo?

  9. The temple looks really interesting with a slant top.. There’s definitely something about small villages, the character and so much of richness to a place.. Nice to see such a lovely post Maniparna🙂

  10. What a great write-up Maniparna – there is something very unexpected and exhilarating about travel if the traveler is open to new opportunities.

  11. Small towns have a charm of their own. Loved reading about Rourkela, Raigarh & Sambalput. The mention of kosa silk also reminded me of Sambalpuri silk sarees.🙂 Good to see KMB reaching out to people in kona kona of the country.

  12. Pingback: Travelling In Small Indian Towns #KonaKonaKotak·

  13. I haven’t travelled in ages but would love to go see new things and meet fascinating new people. You have whetted my appetite to go seek out new places thanks to your wonderful post.

  14. Travelling is all about seeing and experiencing new things, places and culture be it a small town or a well-known place. A true traveller should be unbiased. Read about Rourkela because of the steel plant and industry there but never imagined it like this. Loved the post, Maniparna.

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