Nilamadhaba Temple

Lord Jagnnath is the mascot of Odisha. Centuries of myths, legends and history have gone into the making of the cult of Jagnnath. According to legend, Lord Jagannath’s original form is Nilamdhaba placed at Kantilo. In this original form, the presiding deity of Odisha was worshipped at Kantilo, a primordial God, by Sabaras, a Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian tribe of the Austric linguistic family.

It all started in a small cave in the Brahmadri hills situated on the banks of Mahanadi, which is known as Kantilo of Nayagarh district today. Here, Biswabasu the local Sabra Chief worshipped Kitung, as the God was known in the Sabara dialect. According to the Puranas, the deity was originally worshipped in the form of a black tong image know as “Nilamadhaba”. The daru murty (wooden image) came much later.

At some stage of his or her life, every Oriya person has heard the beautiful legend of Nilamadhaba. According to myth, Nilamadhba appeared in a dream of Indradyumna, the legendary King of Malawa. To see the God, the king consulted his Pundits who informed him that the Nilamadhba was being worshipped some where in the forest of Utkalika. It fell upon Bidyapati to trace out the God. After walking bare foot for several days through the thick forest of hill tracks along Mahanadi Bidyapati finally landed in Kalipali a village, Biswabasu – the tribal Chief played the perfect host to his guest. The beautiful “Lalita”, daughter of his host, besotted Bidyapati. The two got married with the blessings of Biswabasu.

One day, Lalita confided in her husband the fact that her father worshipped Lord Nilamadhaba in a cave deep inside the forest. Bidyapati realizing that his mission was nearing completion, beseeched her to take him there but on one condition that Bidyapati would have to go there blind folded.

On the day of reckoning, he carried a handful of mustard seeds and kept dropping the on the way at regular intervals. The advent o monsoon saw the mustard plants form the path leading right up to the cave. Soon after Bidyapati went back to Malawa and narrated his experience to Kind Idrayumna. And both of them immediately set out to invade Utkal. But while on his way, he was told by a divine voice that Nilamadhaba had disappeared and was floating in the Sea. Graciously acceding to the King’s request, Biswabasu pardoned his son-in-law and agreed to come to Puri.
There the floating divine image behaved like a long of wood and came ashore. The idols of Lord Jagnnath and others were made out of that log and placed in a tiny temple. The present one came up sometimes in the 12th Century. The cult of Jagnnath too has undergone its share of changes down the ages.

Located near the confluence of three rivers-Mahandi, Kuanria and Kusumi the temple structure is like the Jagnnath temple of Puri. It stands on the right bank of Mahanadi. On the left, the hill ranges merge with the hazy gray horizon. This place is an ideal spot for tourists who are religious and nature lovers. Kantilo is also famous for Brass Metal.

A permanent flow of holy water from the feet of Lord Nilamadhaba is a wonderful sight to be seen at this place. It is also on of the most interesting Picnic spots in Odisha.

How To Reach:
Nearest Airport – Bhubaneswar (100 kms.)
Nearest Railway Station – Khurda (P.H.)
Road Net Work- There is a good motorable road. The place is situated near Nayagarh District and is 100 km from Bhubanewswar.