Western Odisha EP 11 | Sambalpur | sarsatia, Hirakud Dam


Namaskar Friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, we are in Western Odisha, in Sambalpur. For the whole day today, we are going to enjoy local sightseeing here. If you have missed an episode of our Odisha series…. ….then you should refer to the playlist, otherwise you will miss the continuity. We were going for our breakfast when we saw bamboo shoot being sold on the way. So, look, there are two varieties of bamboo shoot being sold. This variety is called Hendua. And this one is called Karadi. So this one is a bit dry. And this is fresh! The more popular recipes of Hendua and Karadi among the locals involve both dry as well as fresh fish. Otherwise, there are many other combinations of this ingredient. You can add it to dal or cook with tomatoes. Although, we haven’t tried all these recipes but… …we will whenever we get a chance. We’ve come to Kunjalpada. There is a very famous sweet in Sambalpur, called Sarsatia. That is the shop. Let us go in and talk to the owner. Brother, this Sarsatia that you are making…. ….what is it exactly? This is Sarsatia. There is a tree named Ganjer, found in forest around here. We peel its bark and soak it in water overnight. By next morning, the soaked bark turns into a thick liquid. To that liquid, we add powdered rice and sugar, to make this batter. That batter is then deep fried like this. That tree has an ayurvedic benefit as well. If somebody feels weak or lethargic, eating Sarsatia gives his body energy. We saw how Sarsatia is made. Now let us enjoy its taste. Brother tell me one thing. There is one good thing about this. I mean its overall taste is good, no doubt. The best thing about this is you have added just the right amount of sugar to it, which I can enjoy. If you add any more sugar to it, that would spoil the taste. This, I mean, is a great aspect of this sweet. And, you know what I am enjoying the most about Sarsatia? You can feel its crispiness while eating…. ….and I think its taste would be best experienced, you can correct me if I am wrong,…. …..if you want to experience its best taste, take 2 or 3 pieces of Sarsatia…. ….heat some milk and add those to it. How does that sound? That would be delicious! That is it! Thank you! I’ve washed my hands. Now let us try making some Sarsatia! Dip your hand into the batter. Alright! Move your hand a bit. Alright! This batter has thick consistency. Keep your fingers open. Keep them open! It broke apart. Wow! Just imagine, you will get Sarsatia even if you come here at 4 am. But only till 4 pm, not after that. That is amazing but my Sarsatia was spoiled. For your first time, it is bound to happen. Okay brother, I’ll take your leave now. Many thanks! It was a pleasure meeting you and we also enjoyed the taste of Sarsatia very much. We want to see Sambalpuri folk dance. We’ve talked to somebody and he has asked us to reach a place, which is 30 minutes away. We will see the folk dance and show it to you as well. I have with me Shri Durga Prasad. He is associated with Sambalpuri folk dance for the past many years. Yes! This gentleman is from Pashchimanchal TV. He participates in promoting cultural activities in Odisha and also runs a YouTube channel. So Sir, first of all, tell us something about Sambalpuri dance, folk dance actually! And introduce your team to us as well. Sambalpuri folk dance is associated with tribal folk dance forms. And this folk dance is also closely associated with the Dulduli Baja (Dulduli band party) and its style of music. Let us meet my group and you will understand it better. Let us go! Namaste! It feels good to meet you all here. Really good! Guruji, it felt so good to watch your and your team’s performance….. …that I am falling short of words to praise it. First of all I would really like that we all should join hands to applaud your performance. Really good! I was noticing repeatedly for the past two hours that… ….you were performing this folk dance with so much energy that…. …..it felt like you were lost in your performance here today. I am so impressed that I feel like staying here tonight and come back for another performance tomorrow! That is how good I felt watching you all perform. Really, frankly speaking, I don’t have words. I am highly impressed. So you go to different states in the country and, as you told me, you also take your team abroad. So, everyone accompanies you? Yes, of course. This is a smaller team. But if required, we can arrange for a bigger team as well. Okay. Depending upon the performance. Really nice! I am speechless at this moment. Thank you! I felt so happy watching this performance that I don’t have words beyond this to praise you all. The best! A heartfelt thanks! We will meet again whenever I come here next. Thank you. We’ve just reached the Maa Samaleswari Temple. I paid obeisance inside the temple. I have the temple priest with me right now. I tried to learn about the temple from him. This is an ancient temple. There used to be a king, named Balram Dev, in Odisha. The place where we are standing right now, it used to be a forest during the ancient times. King Balram Dev dreamt of an idol of Goddess at this place. He was told to come here…. ….meditate and establish this temple here.’ So that is how King Balram Dev established this temple here! Photography is prohibited inside the temple. We saw a portion of the idol of the goddess inside. For your information, inside the temple (I am talking about the inner sanctum of the temple)…. …there is no light of any kind. There is just an earthen lamp, in whose light, you can see the idol of the Goddess. At 5 am, we conduct the morning aarti (morning prayer ceremony). With that the temple is thrown open to devotees. After that, at 8 pm, we conduct aarti of Ma Samaleswari. Jai Ma Samaleswari Devi! There is a board inside the temple compound. That board contains the details of all the tourist destinations around this temple, along with distances. This board contains the distance details of the tourists destinations spread across the following districts – Balangir, Bargarh, Deogarh, and Sambalpur district! I had told you that Mahanadi river is the lifeline of Odisha. The temple is built by the river itself. You can see the river Mahanadi is about 150 meters away from the temple. When we will go towards the main road, while on our way to the Hirakud Dam,…. ….I will show you the river more closely. We are on our way to the dam. You can see on your screen the gate to the Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology. This is the first engineering college of Odisha. The institution was established in 1956. The University celebrated 50 years of its existence in the year 2006. Close to this University, you also have the IIM and Jyoti Vihar University. We aren’t going there because it is about to become dark. If we go there, we will miss the scenic views further. Right now we are passing in front of the planetarium. You can see one show each in Hindi, English and Oriya languages daily. There are actually two planetariums in Odisha. One is in Bhubaneswar and the second is this one. We’ve reached the dam in Burla area. There are two ways you can reach here. One way is come this way, as us, and view the dam from here. The second option is when you start from Sambalpur, instead of this direction, take the road to Hirakud. These are two different routes to Hirakud Dam. If you take the second route, you will see the dam from the other side. For your information, this dam is 25km long. It may not look that long because of the mountains on either side but…. …this is the main dam area. There is more to this dam. This dam is built upon the Mahanadi river. On the other side of this dam, there is a reservoir which is 55kms long. So, whenever you come to Sambalpur…. ….you must travel 15kms to visit this place too. Enjoy an amazing view of the dam for a couple of hours and…. ….then back to Sambalpur. We’ve come a kilometer from the dam to see this reservoir. You can see the water reserved from the Mahanadi till your eyes can see. It is an awesome view. You can come here during evening and watch the sun set too. There is a Debrigarh Nature camp close to this site. You can spend the night there. You will have to get advance booking to stay there. I will provide the link for that in the video description. We were going towards Debrigarh forest and had covered about 6kms when…. …we saw such beautiful view that we had to stop the car. Now, obviously, you can see water till far in the distance. The gentle sound of water splashing around. All this is right in front of our eyes. The moon has risen behind me and I can see the sunset in front of me. Wow! Among all the beautiful locations, that I’ve seen so far in my Odisha tour,…. ….this location would be among the top five. I really want to sit here for another 15 minutes or half an hour. But it is about to become dark so we also want to reach, at least, the gate of the Debrigarh forest. As soon as we entered the wildlife sanctuary at Debrigarh,… …I mean when we crossed the gate,… ….I climbed atop this jeep to tell you guys that…. …if you are a group of four and want to enjoy wildlife safari in a jeep like this,…. …you will have to pay Rs. 1200 as charge. The safari would be 2 to 2.5 hours long. Rs. 40 would be entry charge per person. If you are a group of more than 4 persons, you can hire a bigger jeep. The charge for that would be Rs. 2000 plus Rs. 40 per person entry charge. I have no idea about the animal visibility since I didn’t do this safari. But I do want to tell you about the nature camp here. The nature camp is 5kms inside the jungle on this road. In case you want to stay at the nature camp, it has 14 cottages. There are two types of tariff – Rs. 4500 and Rs. 6000. The cottages are either double occupancy basis or four persons to one cottage. I’ve heard the living experience there is awesome but you need to book it in advance. Instant (walk-in) booking is not available. All 3 meals of the day are included in the cost. A boating trip is also included in the cost. This is the information I got to know after coming here. I really feel I am missing it. I should have booked a stay at the nature camp. There is an elephant standing near the camp entry. You won’t be able to see it clearly due to darkness. We had reached Hirakud Dam at 4.30 pm. And the time is 6.30 pm and we enjoyed a lot in the last two hours. This tour of today will be memorable for me. This place is very different. Now let us leave for Sambalpur. It will take us an hour to reach. We’ve come back to Kunjalpada. It was this morning that we ate Sarsatia, just close by. Now I am here for 3 things, which I’ll tell you after I go in. For now, I am standing outside Babulal Sweets. So, brother, Namaskar! We’ve come to you for three things. Enduri Pitha, Manda Pitha and Arsa1 Well, right now, I’ve only Arsa available. Alright! Okay. So, give me Arsa. Seeing this Arsa has reminded me when I ate it while travelling in Uttarakhand. So brother, apart from til (sesame seeds), which I can see, is gur (jaggery) used in making it? And rice? It has an interesting taste! Let me break it apart and show you clearly. So, this is how Arsa looks from inside. Subtle and sweet taste of gur! The main flavour in this recipe is, obviously, that of rice. This til (sesame seeds) is also affecting its flavour in a good way. The magical taste of this sweet is mainly due to saunf (fennel seeds), gur (jaggery) and til. The locals here,…. …okay it is popular during wedding and special occasions! Also during the janeyu (sacred thread) ceremony. When I asked him about the variety of rice used to make Arsa, he showed me this Arua rice. I am holding that in my hand right now. There is a another sweet, called Sarsatia. This rice is used to make both Arsa and Sarsatia. The rice is soaked for a couple of hours, then ground & used. Of course, along with gur and saunf! I don’t know when I will get a chance to eat Arsa again. So brother, please give me one more piece of Arsa. Wow! Look at this texture! Really delicious snack! This, I am sure, if you try, you will be able to make it at home as well. Do try it. Right now I am in Sambalpur. We are about to leave for Cuttack today. Today, whenever we will get a chance to explore the local food or sightseeing, we will do it and…. ….continue our journey to Cuttack. But before that, we are going to the Huma Temple. After travelling for 45 minutes from Sambalpur, we’ve reached Huma Temple. That is Huma Temple right in front of us. First, let me go inside the temple and pay my obeisance. After that, I will tell you about this temple. For your information, this temple is also known as the Leaning Temple. This is the only Shiv temple in India, whose structure is slanted. As I told you, today is Kartik Poornima (an auspicious day according to Hindu calendar). Devotees from far and wide have come here today. I went inside the temple and venerated. Now, after coming out, I am looking at the structure of this temple. You see, the tilt or slant is clearly visible in the structure. There is another temple next to it. The structure of that temple is tilted as well. And all the tilts or slants are not in the same direction. Some structures are tilted towards the left and some towards the right. Nobody has tried to find out about the angle of the tilt so far. But the tilt is clearly visible. If you look at the boundaries of the temple, the tilt is there as well. This is why it is also known as the Leaning Temple. This is the only leaning temple in India. I tried to understand from the temple priest the reason behind this tilt. This cannot be said for certain that there was tilt in the design of the temple itself. Or whether a tilt developed later on. But one of the guesses is that due to a flood or earthquake in the nearby Mahanadi river,… …a tilt developed. But there is no certainty of this information. This temple is built on a rocky bed of earth. That could be one of the reasons behind the leaning structure. A few locals told us that they were told by their ancestors that cows used to visit this temple years ago.. …and their udders used to produce milk of their own accord. When the cow owner came here to find out the reason for that…. ….he checked the place where the cow’s milk used to flow itself…. ….and dug out a Shivling from beneath the layer of earth. The cow owner had also dreamt of the place earlier. He was also told to come here for a glimpse of Lord Shiva in his dream. Once the Shivling was extracted, people started doing worship here. And the first king of Sambalpur, King Balram Dev, got the temple built here. Apart from the Shiv temple, the temple complex also has a temple of Lord Jagannath,… …a Bhairav Temple and a place to do Navgrah Pooja. The river Mahanadi is close by. Now we are going towards the river. You can feed the fish here. Throw it towards that part of river, that is where the fish is. There is the Shama Kali Temple too. You can take a boat to reach the temple. 274 kms, 6 hours and 31 minutes! Directionally, we will have to pass through Sambalpur to go to Cuttack. What we should have done is while on our way from Sonepur to Sambalpur,…. ….we should have visited this Huma Temple at that time. But since it was dark by then, so we didn’t come here. Anyways, when you will come here, the temple timings are from 5.30 am to 7 pm. But you will enjoy more if you visit during daytime. Let us leave for Cuttack now. We’ve covered 50kms so far. With the help of Google Maps, we are going to the Debjharan waterfalls. We will be taking this left turn from the highway. We will have to go straight for 5.6kms on this unconstructed road. We will reach Debjharan waterfall. In our excitement to visit our last waterfall of the Odisha journey, we travelled 2kms on this road. Now this is the road ahead and we don’t know how we will take the car further. The car won’t go any further. Now I have two options. I can either walk for the 3kms upto the waterfall or…. …return from here. That is because our today’s journey to Cuttack is quite lengthy. So we won’t go any further. We will return to highway from here and then on to Cuttack. We did a long journey today. We still have 77kms to Cuttack and it will take us 2 more hours. Our driver is Saroj and his village is close to this place. So Saroj invited us to his village to visit a really ancient temple. We took a kilometer long diversion from the highway to go to Rasol Nuapatna village. This is a the Radha Krishna Temple of the village. We paid obeisance inside the temple. Saroj told us that this is a very ancient temple. Devotees come here from far and wide. Now, we are leaving here for Cuttack. After a really long journey today, we’ve reached Cuttack. We have booked ourselves a double occupancy room in Hotel Dwarka. We paid a tariff of Rs. 2150. The room is big in size. And looking at the property, I can say that this hotel is 30-40 years old. Now, we will go to the Bali Yatra tomorrow. We will also explore the local food, which you will see in the next episode. Now we began our journey from Cuttack, travelled to East Odisha, then visited South and West… ….& came back to Cuttack again. I am very excited to participate in the Bali Yatra. You will see that in the upcoming episodes. We will meet soon. Till then bye-bye! Thanks for your time.

51 thoughts on “Western Odisha EP 11 | Sambalpur | sarsatia, Hirakud Dam

  1. So nice video . Arsa uttarakhand ka famous sweet hai. Thank you so much sir. 🙏🙏🙏

  2. Sambalpuri remix songs are must in odia barati and in all sorts of events in Odisha. Though i am from Mayurbhanj district but i really love sambalpur and burla due to their language and culture.💙

  3. As a Sambalpuria, i was eagerly awaiting the Western Odisha vlog . But it was a bit of a let down as you have missed out on several destinations like Narsinghnath, Harishankar and even the nearby Ghanteswari temples, Debjharan and Pradhanpat waterfalls etc. But trying your hand at making the tricky Sarsatia more than made up for the misses. One thing is for sure, no one has showcased my home state like you have! Jai Jagannath

  4. Harish ji mayurbhanj district ur keonjhar district aap miss kardiye keonjhar main prasidh pith maa ghotagaon temple hai ur mayurbhanj main maa kichekswri temple hai jo mujhe to itna pata nehi phirbi 200 saal purane hangay

  5. First thing that you want to improve is one on one communication with people whom you interact with, you just end the interaction at the very lowest level and it often feels that you and not comfortable asking question or asking information while having conversation and pls stop saying after eating or tasting any sweet meetha bahut hai, I have seen you saying that even after tasting jalebi, comeonn

  6. Very nice sweet sarsadia you are great Harish ji hats off to you nice efforts and folk dance also thanks🙏🙇

  7. Sir apko Sambalpur mein aur street food explore karna chahiye tha… Chaulbara is one of the famous snacks in Western Odisha. Also you have missed Gandhi Minar and Nehru Minar located at both the end of Hirakud Dam.

  8. Baali Saab.Nice folk dance,hirakud dam, mahanadi sun set.👌 Episode.👏👏👏

  9. Super sir , amazing . I've seen all of the episodes of odisha tour. I'm from odisha. U r always welcome.

  10. I am very much thankful to you sir🙏🏼 that you visited odisha that to western odisha because somewhere I feel my state is left out😔. Btw you explained everything you visted very nicely🤗.Once again thank you sir.🙏🏼

  11. U skipped daringbadi ,its called the Kashmir of Odisha n winter is the perfect time to explore it.

  12. Never trust Google Maps for waterfalls. It always takes a kachcha route and fails miserably in rural areas. Ask the locals instead.

  13. Sir! Aapne sambalpur ke ghanteswari jaga ke pass nehi gaye hai.Us jaga main bhi koi tara ka ghanti maujut hai. Krupa karke aap kabhi ghanteswari ghumne aayenge. Ghanteswari main ek Mandir hai. Us jaga aapko bahat pasand aayega.

  14. Sir u miss to explore Angul which is situated between Sambalpur and Cuttack.

  15. Sir really your awesome.. because you are different from other youtubers. I mean you had done real explorer of odisha.

  16. 9.44-9.56 about My college Vssut…Best days of life there..Btw awesome video on sambalpur😍😍

  17. Sir, there are lots of such places those are nature's gift to Odisha like Bhimkund, Devkund, Similipal Biosphere and Tiger Reserver. These are amazing places and you can find varieties of non veg foods like Murhi Mutton as well.
    Thank you for exploring Odisha.

  18. Be it kerala, Assam, West Bengal for uttrakhand, you explored and explained it thoroughly and in a very positive way. Love the diversity of my country and thanks sir for showing it to people, hope we all learn to be open hearted for different people,culture,food of our great country 🙏

  19. Bhaya app ko naa app ke driver gand marraha hay..sala katakea hay..sale sub katkea Chor hotehain…

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