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Here we elaborate about the history of Mangalpur which flourished culturally and spiritually under the Bhuyan Dynasty in 1500 AD.

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History of Sri Gouranga Mahaprabhu Temple, Mangalpur


Mangalpur Killa ,now reduced to two Gram Panchayats,in P.S Soro,District Balasore,once upon a time played a significant role in the glorious history of Orissa Empire which extended, most of time, from Kaveri to Ganges till 1568 AD. The royal history of Mangalpur reveals that a tribal chief, under the title of Bhuyan, was entrusted with the local administration being appointed as Chieftain of the Killa by the emperor of Orissa and record mentions the existence of military chiefs held on conditions of military services in the hilly tracts of western border of the district.


There is no historical evidence as to when the first chieftain of Mangalpur Killa was appointed. But this system of appointing chieftains in the border areas to ensure the safety and security of the empire may be traced back to the early part of Orissa history. According to the report of Asst. Settlement Officer under the British role, Balasore, dated 13th August 1898,

The killa previously independent was included in the Mugalbandi during the period of Moguls.The Bhuyan maintains a semi-royal state on the time as a Gadjat tributary state. The Killa devolves to the eldest son to exclusion of others, who receives Borodean Khorak Poosak (remuneration for maintenance of relatives) as Jagirs.

Letter dated 2nd October 1899 from the commissioner of the Orissa division to the secretary of the Board of Revenue reveals that:


The king of Mangalpur of that date was subordinate to the ruler of Khordha .The king rebelled and brothers Nalu and Galu (two sons of purosottam koth Debabrata Pattnaik) were sent to drive him out.They succeeded in their enterprise with assistance from the king of Athagarha and that became in their turn to be the cheftain of Mangalpur.


The chiefs of Mangalpur were decorated with the title of Rajkumar Bairi Ganjan Bhuyan Mahapatra by the king of Khordha and the Mogul emperor and received a Sananda of the title. The family has been in possession of the Killa ever since for 17 generations including the possessor who stills retains the title of Bhuyan Mahpatra.


The geological location of Mangalpur Killa is unique in nature. The Devagiri Mountain ranges in the west and north and Mohumohan hills in the east surround this tiny land of pre historic importance. Kavivara Radhanatha Roy, the pioneer of modern Oriya poems , who was born in the village of Kedarpur in Soro, about 14 KM from Mangalpur, has vividly depicted the natural beauty of this land and mountain in his famous Kavya USHA whose english translation is as follows:


LIKE A BACK DROP OF MAHUMOHAN HILL BLOOSOMS CHARMING MANGALPUR.

IN ITS BACKGROUND STANDS SKY SCRAPING DEVAGIRI MOUNTAIN LIKE ENCLOSURE.

WHEN THE DARKNESS OF THE STONE ORES ENCHANTS THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN.

WHERE THE FOREST ECHOED WITH THE SOUNDS OF STONE WORKS OF ARTISANS.

WHERE PATNA MANDAL IS CONCESCRATED IN THE BLISS OF SOLITUDE.

BY THE VIRULENT DEVI MANDALESWARI WITH THE GARLAND OF HEADS OF MORALETORPITUDE.

THE SPOTTED TIGER OBEYS HER ORDER LIKE A FAITHFUL SERVANT.

WHOSE SWORD IS STAINED ALWAYS WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MISCREANTS.


The religious tradition of this beautiful sacred land is based on its age-old spiritual belief of the ruler and the ruled. The kings of Killa were faithful devotees of mainly Pancha Devatas. They have exhibited unique religious tolerance during their tenure embracing all sects of Hindu reli- gion like Sakta, Saiva, Saura, Vaishnavas, Budha, Mahima etc. The king had constructed mas- sive temples for Jagannatha, DurgaDevi, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Gopeswar etc. in line with the concepts followed by the emperor of Orissa.


Almost all the incumbents have constructed temples, roads, ghats, tanks or established settle- ment for Brahmin (Sasanas) with tax-free homestead land and agricultural holdings. Through out the year, the religious festivals were observed in different temples under the direct patron- age of the king. Dr R.P. Mahapatra, the curator of Orissa State museum has rightly said in Glimpses of history and culture of Balasore that Mangalpur region in Balasore district was once a flourishing center of various religious activities.


The dedicated temples of various god and goddesses are now in delapidated condition with the passage of time. The presiding deity in Durga Devi temple of the place is regarded as tutelary goddess of the ex ruling family of the Mangalpur Killa. The Jagannatha temple of the place is one of the earliest shrines of the cult. In addition, Car festival is observed exactly in the type performed at Puri. The temple complex associated with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has the usual strcture of Jagamohan, Bhogamandapa and Natamandapa.


The reign of Rajkumar Balavadra Prasad Bairiganjan Bhuyan Mahapatra has added a chapter in the history of Mangalapur.This period has distinguished itself the manifold development in various fields of religion, song and drama. During this era Poet Krishnakanta Das (1838-1903) emerged as a versatile genus under the able patronage and timely inspiration of Bhalavadra Bhuyan.His contribution to the field of Leela, Gitinatya, Suanga, Tamsa, Farse, Chhanda, Chaupadi, Kirtan, stage craft using the masks are imparallel in the history of Orissa.Sweet melody of songs, kirtans, doha, slokas etc in Oriya, Sanskit, Hindi, Bengali and Brajaboli lan- guages is very much enchanting. No poet in Orissa other than Krishnakanta Das has composed songs of Brajaboli in a distinct poetic language, exclusively cultivated by Vaishnava lyric poets of nineteen century.

The rich heritage and cultural tradition of Mangalpur are vividly reflected in the observance of a number of religious functions and social festivals. Even a poorest of the poor in the area does not spare the opportunity of observing and enjoying the festive occasion with pump and plea- sure.

During the British rule Mangalpur forest was a paradise for hunters. The mountains,hills and jungles are inhabited by elemphants,glossy spotted tigers,Royal Bengal tigers,deer, beer, wildbores,bisons,peacocks . The plant kingdom of the Killa and the forests invite further re- search on bio-medical properties of the rare vegetable herbs and trees which have been used as medicine by local people from time immemorial.

The existing ancient religious monuments, which exert wonder and admiration,represent the devotional architecture of Orissa in the remote rural corner of the state. Due to lack of mainte- nance, these temples present a ghostly appearance after the abolition of Zamindari.

The Natamandap of Sri Chaitanya temple a rare shrine of Sudhha Bhakti Cult is in the verge of collapse. No attention has been paid to that temple by the archeological department of India and state inspite of several representations of the local people. However, realising the importance of this historic place having a intimate relation of Vaishnava cult, ISKCON devotees do visit the temple .In association with ISKCON, Namahatta Sangha has been formed and the temple now find its position in global map of ISKCON.

History reveals that about 500 hundred years ago while on the way from Remuna(Khira Chora Gopinath temple near Balasore) to Puri,Lord Sri Chaitanya stayed in Mangalpur a princely state for a short while and accepted the courtesy of the king. History also depicts that in reciprocation to kings devotion for him, Sri chaitanya presented the king his wooden sandal which was later on shifted to Vrindaban by an unknown saint (Mahanta).

However to keep alive the Vaishnava cult in the region, the successors of the king built the Sri Chaitanya temple and its annex in phases. Concentric to this temple several other temples like Lord Shiva, Goddess Durga and Lord Jagannath temples were built. For quite long time till mid of 19th century, this princely state was deeply engrossed in spiritual activities and the whole environment was surcharged with sweet melodies and music devoted to God and Goddesses. Under the active participation of the Royal family, great masters from different parts of the country were invited to several auspicious occasions to deliver spiritual discourses. Though bright examples of the influences of Shaivya, Shakta, Shaur and Budha were evident in the region but Vaishnsvsa cult was predominant. This was probably due to the presence of Lord Sri Chaitanya by himself for a short while which gave an impact in the mind of people for successive generations.


The princely state Mangalpur was a part of independent Kalinga Dynasty and considered as one of the most powerful military base situated at the eastern region. The glimpses of such activities are observed from the very existing Ghoodasal river(Stable for horses), Hathikhan (Drinking place for elephants).The activities of the state as warrior nation is revealed from its geographic location strategically encompassed with high altitude Devagiri Mountain range in three sides like a fort. Besides their military activities ,these Samanta kings were highly influenced by the Gajapati of Puri towards their selfless devotion for the God.

These Samanta kings not only built the temples but established several Brhmin Sasans Villages exclusively for Brahmins) to enrich the region culturaly and spiritually by means social avenues and festivals coupled with stage dramas like Ramalila,Krishnalila,Suanga and Tamsa.These are evident from the blend of oriya and bengali kirtans (devotional songs) Bralaboli being song by the veterans in auspicious occasions.

The chorous of pious Gita Givinda , Brajaboli and Padabali with the enchanting combination of Mridangas,bells,pakhawas which was once reverberating in the atmosphere experiencing the cosmic consciousness during the gold olden days ,now is in the verge of extinction . The temples have turned into deserted monuments, the deities are often deprive from day to day rituals .The sanctified souls of the royal family might be shedding tears observing the negligence to their beloved gods and goddesses.

Sri Chaitanya Temple
At/P.O. Mangalpur
Via.- Soro (756045)
Dist. Balasore
Orissa, India
Tel 91 6788 242011