Shri Ram Chandi Cave (Brajrajnagar )Ancient Shakti Peeth of Rampur

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Note:- The article is written with utmost precaution after adequate analysis and discussion with scholars any mistake is unintentional. Suggestions are welcome through comments.

ARTICLE by :- Rohit Kumar Guru

Chandika form is called extremely cruel and inaccessible due to her anger. She can not tolerate bad things. Chandika does not like the evil doers and seeing them gets very angry. The presiding deity of Brajrajnagar, Orissa. The temple is located nearby banks of the Irabati (IB) river.shri Ram chandi is revered as an important Shakti Peetha ( shrine and pilgrimage destinations). Under Jharsuguda District of Western Orissa, Rampur area is a old Jamindari.During the reign of Chauhan dynasty of Sambalpur Rampur jamindhi was created.

Since ancient time goddess Ramchandi was being worship as reigning deity of Rampur area of Brajrajnagar.Shrine is famous not only in Rampur area but also in whole western Orissa. Many pilgrims and devotees come to the Rampur cave from far away to visit and worship goddess Ramchandi .This is a very sacred place. A recognition of Brajrajnagar. The statue of Mata(mother) Chandi is placed inside a cave on the bank of IB river at the south-east corner of Brajrajnagar. The temple is 180 degrees below the hill. To worship goddess ,every one need to get down using the stranded cases of iron stairs.

The water of river IB usually touches this shrine and gets immersed under the river in Manson season . In this Temple, people come to worship Goddess Chandi, locally famous in the name of “Chandi Maa”. picture of God Ram ,Laxman and Sita during banishment inscribed on the wall of cave. Whole cave painted with Red colour which represent spiritual sign of Hindu God. There are bunch of bells in front of cave. Monkeys are roaming in courtyard of Temple. Monkeys take away the goods of people.

Every year the grand fair and festival is celebrated during both the CHAITRA NAVRATRI and ASHWIN NAVRATRI. Anyone can go to the temple by iron stairs. beautiful scenery and the natural surroundings of the river can be seen from the temple.


Ram Chandi Mandir

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According to historical fact, descendants of the last Hindu emperor Pruthibiraj Chauhan , Balaram Dev had established Sambalpur kingdom in 15th century AD.After Balaram dev,seventh King of Chauhan dynasty,Chhattrasaha dev have ruled on kingdom in 17th century AD.During the reign of chhattrasahab dev (1657 – 1695 AD), Rampur dandapata (Jamindari) had been created at bank of Irabati river. At that time, Sambalpur Kingdom Had 18 gaad and 13 dandapata ,Rampur Dandapata one of them. Capital of Rampur Dandapata had been spreading from Lamdumuri hill up to Kaudraha about 149 miles area. One Kshatriya (one of the four Varna {social orders} of the hindu society) belonging to Gaharwanch dynasty was living in South Rajputana (Land of Rajput) kingdom in 17th century. When he was working in the Army Corps of the State, he died during a war with neighbor state. Fear of the enemy ,his wife went to Rencha kingdom surreptitiously and took refuge in a priest house of the state.

After a few days, she gave birth to a son. The son was upbringing in the middle of the Brahmin (priest) family.kshatriya son became Young from childhood and his wedding was completed. After this, his two sons named Madhusudan singh and pranannath were born. The priests made arrangements for education of both sons. The younger brother was of calm and simple nature whereas the elder brother was with intense intellect and physical fitness.

They left rencha kingdom and started living in bamanda kingdom this, younger brother went bamanda darbar (palace) to make appointment with king to get ability job. King Vikram Dev of the bamanda state showed sympathy for the Pranannath’s prayer and appointed on leader position(dala behera) in army corps.But, Activity and bad behavior of Pranannath Singh made King Bikram shing angry and king decided to give sever punishment. After hearing decision of king, Pranannath along with elder brother and mother escaped from bamanda kingdom mutely. After this, Prannath shing used to take shelter in house of a priest in Rampur area of Sambalpur district.

According to the name of Dala behera, that place was named Beherapali. Pranannath was doing hard work for daily living in beherapali area. After eating Mahul pist (one type of food) prepared by mother, he used to visit courtyard of Samleswari temple regularly.Pranannath was waiting to see king Chhatrasaha dev there. Pranannath was greetings the king every day in Samleswari temple while king traveling by this way.Raja (king) had returned his raj Prasad (palace) after the Goddess’s visit every day, after which Pranannath back to his house. Every day greetings from unknown person, increased king’s curiosity to Know about person. King ordered the staff to present Pranannath in the palace. King was very pleased to see behavior and physical strength of person.

At that time, a tribe named karua lived in the inaccessible forest of Rampur area along the Iravati River. Their population was 10 million thousand. Their Dalpati (Head) lived in the fort of Bilaigarh built near duraisingha village, situated on the banks of river Irabati.when Employees of Sambalpur king collected taxes from people of Rampur area, at that time karua tribal used to create a variety of restrictions. King of Sambalpur had given responsibility to Pranannath to stop giving up the Karua Rebel of Rampur area.

Due to success in suppressing the Karua Rebellion, Pranannth got Rampur Dandapat.after this,Rajpoot gaharwanch descendent Pranannath singh ruled on Rampur area. After many days, goddess Ban durga came in the dream of pranannath Singh. So, Pranannath singh established goddess Ramchandi in an ancient cave on bank of Ib river and started worshipping. Apart from Shri Ram Chandi statue in this temple, statue of Devi Chakrasini and Chhateraswari have been set up.

Construction of the temple started with the grant of Brajraj Birla who was owner of orient paper mill. There is a Lakshmi Narayan Temple on the other side of this mountain. Height of hill is 30 meters .During those days,Barjarajnagar city has been established adjacent to paper mill and was named after Rampur jamidar (Landowner) Brajraj singh.

Mahadev temple and Homm mandap(holocaust pavilion) located on top of this hill. The height of the cave is 10 feet and width is 8 feet. it is seemed that inside cave ,there is long 10 km tunnel which was spread to kudabaga village. The tunnel of the cave has closed because Goddess Ram Chandi being worship by devotees inside the cave. Cave is 17 feet height from water level of river where devotees worship Goddess Ramchandi. Shri Hanuman and Shri Sibalinga have been reputed on either side of entrance gate of Ramchandi.
A mess hall has built last year by the Brajrajnagar administration. Local people have been demanding for a long time in order to take up the development plan here.therefore, to secure the importance and tradition of this ancient temple, Mahanadi Coal Limited (MCL) and State Government Tourism Department should take action together for improvement of this place.

At present a person named Dayanidhi Kallo is worshiping in the temple. Rampur jamidar provide financial help to worship Maa chandi.

Ram Chandi Cave is open for devotees from morning to evening. Devotees come here from far away to have visit of Goddess. Interested devotees offer bhog and Sacrifice goat and cock to Ramchandi.According to the tradition of Sri Ram Chandi worship, bhog (Food) is offered daily and every Tuesday of a week,chhagabali ritual (sacrifice) is performed.
Nabaratri puja ( 9th night worship) Is celebrated with great pomp during Shukhla paksha (The first fortnight between New Moon Day and Full Moon Day )of Ashwin (September – October) month.
Most of puja(worships),Homa, havan and yajna have conducted during Sukhla pakhya of chaitra ( March -April).goddess chandi protect devotees from various dangers and natural disasters.
Many tantric have practiced tantra by blessings of Goddess Ramchandi. Those tantric famous not only in Western Odisha but also in chhatisgarh state.This ancient sakhti peeth is a tourist center. Due to the negligent of the administrative and state tourism department, this Ram Chandi Mandir is deprived of getting place in Orissa tourism map Which is the subject of sadness.

There are many stories behind appearance of Ramchandi.Two legend story describe here
(1) In Tretaya yuga ,Lord Ramchandra was born as a son of king Dasharatha of Ayodhya which is written in Ramayan texts. Lord Rama along with brother Laxman and wife Sita went for 14 years for banishment. During those days. they travelled to many villages, jungles passed over many hills & rivers. They were staying in Forest area named Dandakaranya.Jharsuguda district located in the western province of modern Orissa, it was under Dandakaranya.Lord Ram ,Laxman and sita were perambulating on bank of Irabati (IB) river. The evil Ravana, King of the Demons, who had 10 heads and 20 arms, wanted to kidnapping sita ,For this Ravana arranged his servant Maricha to disguise himself as a golden deer and tempt Rama and Lakshman away from Sita. after the request of Sita the Lord Ram was following the golden deer to catch up.
After got injured by arrow of Ram ,deer Shouting in voice of Ram to away Laxman from mother sita.Lakshman drew a circle in the dust around Sita to protect her and told her not to step out of the circle. But Ravana cleverly disguised himself as an old beggar man, and begged Sita for food and drink. Sita took pity on him and stepped out of the circle. The beggar man turned back into Ravana, catching Sita in his arms and pulling her into his magic flying chariot and stole away. Ram killed the deer with help of Arrow and bow. Injured deer came to this bank of river and died. The place where maricha died who took form of golden deer , famous on the name of maricha Khuda.In front of a maricha kuda, there was a small mountain where Lord Ram worship durga.This ancient legend story gets heard from the local people.

(2) The story behind the appearance of Mother Chandi had took place long years ago. In tretaya Yuga ,Lord Rama along with brother Laxman and wife Sita went for 14 years of banishment. During that period they travelled to many villages, forests, passed over many hills & rivers. At that time, when they were in the forest area of Brajrajnagar, they had an encounter with kulai Chandi who wanted to hunt him. To kill Chandi,Lord Ram took his bow and arrow target on her. When she came to know about God Ram , she beg pardon. Kind and Noble prices not only excused her guilty but also gave her boon.After,Name of kulai Chandi had changed to Ramchandi. Ram told her not to harm anyone rather to become the presiding deity of that area. Devi (Goddess) protect , help & bless the villager and other people who worship her.sience then, incarnation of Adi sakti (Goddess Durga form)has been worshiped by people in cave at bank of IB River. The arrow that Ram was trying to kill chandi ,left in ground and place where arrow hit ,from that spot shivalinga emerged.Mahadev & some other deities are also worshiped in the temple of shri Rama Chandi.Maa Rama chandi is the gram devi ( Village/Town Goddess) of Brajrajnagar. Like other gram devis. she always protect town from any disasters.

Special Attraction
You can sit and relax for a while under the ambience of God. This is beautiful place. People who like to live in peace and quiet places, this place is the best option for them. A person can come and spend about two to three hours easily. You can also enjoy journey of boating in River with the help indigenous boat. The water here is 20-30 feet deep. Local people who manage boat will charge Rs 20 per person. From the top of the hill you can enjoy the greenery of the forest and the confluence of two rivers. Hyena and jackal reign over this forest. Stay on the hill for a while; If you are lucky, you can notice an Indian train cross over the British-built railway bridge which is over the river.It look like a toy snake passed over bridge. This is a very good picnic spot.

How to reach
This Place is situated in Brajrajnagar town which is hardly 15 k.m. from Jharsuguda district. This place is very close to the Orient Paper Mill Road. It almost takes 30 minutes to reach this spot from Jharsuguda. You can easily pick up your two-wheeler or four wheeler and reach this spot. To visit this Temple one has to get down at Brajrajnagar or Jharsuguda railway station of Indian state,Odisha which lies on Mumbai-Howrah main rail route; then can hire a taxi or auto and reach this place. The beautiful part of journey is to pass through beautiful hills, Jungles and curved red soiled road. The spot is about 5 KM away from Brajrajnagar Town. Please take your own vehicle or hire one. Avoid walking alone.

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