The Vidala-Nrusimha Temple stands amidst the verdant beauty of the picturesque Gandhamardan hills. Nrusinghanath is a popular and attractive pilgrim point. Coupled with a series of beautiful waterfalls and some sculptures, its location offers an air of serenity and visual delight, making the trip worthwhile.
It is only 165 km away from Sambalpur. The present temple, situated at the source of the 'Papaharini' stream, is a 14th century structure built on a more very old site. The four pillars within the 'Jagmohana' suggest that the earlier temple was built in the 9th century. The beautiful doorframes have been dated to the 11th century.
The site of the temple is sole. Stone steps wind up the hillside behind the temple, leading past a waterfall, and eventually curving under the falls to a spot where some beautiful and very well preserved relief sculptures are found. The climb to the carvings and return journey will take about an hour. Since shoes are not permitted on these sanctified pilgrimage steps, those with tender feet should take along a pair of heavy socks for the climb.
On the reverse slope of the hill on which the temple is located, is the "Harishankar Temple". Between the two temples there is a 16-km. plateau, littered with Buddhist ruins that scholars feel may be the remains of the ancient University of "Parimalagiri", referred to by the 7th century Chinese traveler 'Hiuen T'sang' as "Po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li".
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