Balasore is one of the coastal Districts of Odisha. It lies on the northern most part of the state. It was a part of the ancient Kalinga which later became a territory of Toshal or Utkal, till the death of Mukunda Dev. Balasore as a separate District was created in October 1828. Originally it was in Bengal presidency. Balasore District covers an area of 3634 sq kms having total population of 23,17,419 as per 2011 census. The District is surrounded by Medinipur District of West Bengal in its northern side, Bay of Bengal in its east, Bhadrak District in its south and Mayurbhanj and Kendujhar Districts lies on its western side. The District is located at 20.48 to 21.59 North Latitude and 86.16 to 87.29 east Longitude. Total male population of the District is 11,84,371 and female population is 11,33,048 as per 2001 census.
It’s climate is generally hot with high humidity. May is the hottest month and December is the coolest one. Monsoon generally arrives in the district from 14th of June every year. The average rainfall of the District is 1568.4 mm. The rainfall during June to December constitutes at least 75 Percent of the total rainfall that this District experiences and it has an average of 62 rainy days in the year.
This district consists of two subdivisions namely Balasore and Nilagiri. There are 12 Tahasils for 12 Blocks of the district. Balasore is the main town of the district and is also its centre of economic growth. The primary occupation of people in the district is cultivation. This district is mainly known for cultivation of paddy because rice is the staple cereal of the local people. Hybrid varieties of seeds are being developed and land reform programs are being planned for the maximum usage of the wastelands, promising to enhance the district’s economic stability in the near future. Industries, Agriculture, Fishing and Tourism are the four major revenue sources of Balasore District. Birla Tyres, Balasore Alloys Limited, Emami Paper Mills Limited and Polar Pharma India Limited are some of the large–scale industries functioning in this district.
Being an agrarian economy, agriculture is the main stay of the people of Balasore District. It is in the coastal section of Odisha blessed with hot and humid cliamte, with alluvium soil and intersected by the perennial rivers, which collectively provides conducive infrastructure for the growth of agriculture in the region. Rice, Pulses, oil seeds like groundnut, mustard, castor and linseed are grown in the District of Balasore.
Education has played an important role here, both before and after Independence. At present many primary and secondary schools imparting education both in English medium and Odia medium. Many degree colleges, law colleges, colleges of education, engineering schools, song and music colleges, art and craft colleges, industrial training institutes, management colleges and computer institutes are found at different places in the district. Fakir Mohan University, a new and progressive university located in Balasore town.
Balasore culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, and music . The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other cities. Balasore residents celebrate both Western and Indian festivals. Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Navratri, Good Friday, Dussera, Muharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Rajaa and Maha Shivratri are some of the popular festivals in the city. The akhada Arts Festival during durga puja is a unique culture of balasore.
Fakir Mohan Senapati famously known as Vyasa Kabi, Laxmi Narayana Sahu an eminent social worker and writer, Radhanath Ray (the great poet of modern India Literature) and Bagha Jatin who courageously faught against the British rule are the prominent personalities born in Balasore District. Many fairs and festivals celebrated here throughout the year. Main festivals are Durga Puja, Siva Ratri, Raja Parva, Makar Sankranti, Kali Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi, Car festival and Dola Purnima. Balasore District is famous for the most attarctive and enjoyable game, Akhada, played during Durga Puja and during Moharrum by Muslims.
With the sea water receding approximately 5 kms during low tide and advancing to the shore during high tide every day, the Chandipur Beach at Odisha offers a truly unique and captivating sight. Easily accessible via train, the beach is merely 16 kms from the Balasore Railway Station on Howrah-Madras line of South Eastern Railways. Watching the sea vanish right in front of your eyes and then observing its return is a very rare site. And to add more to this hide and seek of water, the Casuarina trees and creeper sand dunes seem to be swaying on a melodious musical note. A small fishing village community is found adjacent to the beach which is lined with casuarina trees and from where one can hire a boat and venture into the Bay of Bengal. For the more romantic, take a cruise at the confluence of the Budhabalanga River on a moonlit night. Other than being a tourist spot there are quite a few temples like Panchalingeshwara temple and Bhudara Chandi ShrineTemple situated not very far from the beach. An elaborate beach festival, showcasing the dance forms, art and culture of the state, has become an annual affair here and takes place every February.
Panchalingeshwar Temple is located in Balasore district of Orissa. It named after the five Shivalinga that are enshrined inside. The temple is on top of a hillock near the Nilagiri hill. The Shivalingas are said to have been enshrined by Sita, the wife of Lord Rama during their exile. Another story holds that King Banasura worshiped the Swayambhu Lingas at this place given its beauty. A perennial stream, which is the main attraction of the area, regularly washes the Shivalingas as it flows over them. To reach to the temple one has to lie flat on the rock parallel to the stream to touch and worship the lingas inside the water stream. The history of the construction of this temple is still a mystery. There are two legends associated with the shrine. One says that these Shiva Lingas were enshrined by Goddess Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, during the period their exile. While the other one goes like that a great devotee of Lord Shiva and a powerful demon - King Banasura installed the five lingas here to worship Lord Shiva. These five lingas are the prominent attractions of this Lord Shiva’s temple in Odisha.
Khirachora Gopinatha Temple is in Remuna. It is a little town 9 km west of Balasore railway station, about halfway between Howrah and Bhubaneswar in Odisha. The name "Remuna" is from the word "Ramaniya" which means very good-looking. "Khirachora" in Odia means Stealer of Milk and Gopinatha means the Divine Consort of Gopis. The reference is to child Krishna's love for milk and milk products. Lord Gopinatha, flanked by Sri Govinda and Sri Madana Mohana, is made of black stone. Sri Gopinatha stands in bas-relief. Govinda and Madana Mohana, who were brought from Vrindavana in about 1938 by a devotee named "Chaitanya Dasa Babaji", are standing freely. It is said that Sri Rama carved Gopinatha with His arrow and that Sita worshiped this deity in Chitrakuta. During vanavasa to show the next avatara vigraha to Sita. King Langula Narasingha Deba, the king of Utkala, brought this deity to Remuna in the 13th century from Chitrakuta. This king arranged to have dug the two big tanks, Brajapokhari and Kutapokhari. One can get delicious khira here called as Amruta Keli. The Gopinatha khira is a preparation of homemade condensed milk, sugar, and cream, with a sprinkling of raisins. It comes in pots, which are personally tasted by Lord Gopinatha.
New Jagannath Temple at Balgopalpur in Balasore, district of Odisha, India by Emami Paper Mills. Lord Jagannath is above caste, creed and religion. Everyone, including foreigners, can visit the new Jagannath temple here at Balasore, unlike Jagannath temple at Puri. Padma Vibhusan Raghunath Mahapatra is the architect and sculptor of this temple. It is built at an expenditure of Rs 11 crores. The temple is seventy-eight feet high scintillating shrine and it has been constructed on three acres of land on the premises of Balasore town Balgopalpur-based Emami Paper Mill. The temple claimed to be a replica of the Puri Jagannath Temple also bears the world-renowned Black Pagoda Konark Sun Temple's tinge with sixteen Konark Wheels engraved on it apart from four horses.A beautiful place with amazing architecture and wonderful scenario.
Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary is an ideal place for nature lovers and animal enthusiasts.Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the district of Balasore. The hilly terrain and the deciduous forest support the wide range of animal species that have made it their natural habitat. The whole topography of the place provides ample scope for trekking and hiking. Interestingly Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary is connected to Simlipal through Sukhpada hills and Nato hills. Some of the animals that you might encounter while on a trip to the sanctuary are elephant, gaur, sambar, tiger, leopard etc. With some measure of luck, you can also view the rich avian life that consists of peafowl, myna, hornbills, and a wide species of reptiles. There are two rest houses in Kuldiha that serves as your accommodation option. However make an early booking to avoid last minute rush. There is a perennial stream nearby which is an ideal picnic spot and serves as a welcome respite after the tiring trip in the Wildlife sanctuary.
Chandaneswar Temple is a famous Shiva temple situated in Baleswar, Odisha. It is said to be one of the oldest temples in and around Digha. This temple of Lord Shiva is famous for its accessible location and is the center of worship for devotees of the deity. A black statue of Nandi is also a prime attraction of this holy temple. One can always find throng of devotees around the shrine and the temple bell starts ringing from the daybreak as the priests starts chanting mantras. Men and women start pouring in to offer flower, fruits, sweet and milk to the Lord. A huge annual fair in the Solar New Year Pana Sankranti, the first day of the Odia calendar, is celebrated on the premises. The Odia new year Maha Vishuva Sankranti day is very famous around the premises of the shrine. Locally called Uda Parba, Nila Parba after worshiping Nilakanth Shiva, Chadaka Yatra, a half million people gather around the shrine and do fasting of several days to fulfil their wishes. Temple is well illuminated and looks wonderful to see.