History Behind kalijai Temple

Kalijai Temple is situated in an island on Chilka Lake which is the largest saltwater lake in Asia. It can be reached via boat from Balugaon. People in lakhs come to see the holy place of 29 acres of the mountain within the Chilika lake. It is a unique spot in the state for tourism.

The childhood school picnic experience to Chilika, the boat ride to Kalijai, and the aroma of Odiya-cooked food at the Picnic whenever remembered to fill me with a lot of happiness and joy.
“Time is very powerful” and you can’t get back this precious time and moments back.
So that time we don’t have any camera or mobile to capture the moments but the memories which were captured in the mind are everlasting.

It is very difficult to bring your memories, feelings, and sentiments through pen and paper. After a few decades when I revisited the same Chilika and Kalijai remembered all these.

The Legend and beauty of kalijai have been described by various Poets. The poem “Kalijai Re Sandhya” by Utkalmani Gopbandhu Das, who composed the poem while spending an evening in Chilika, made him an epoch-making figure in the history of Odisha literature.

Similarly Pandit Godavarish Mishra a poet and notable socialist has written a Poem on “KaliJai”.

This poem gives a background history about the origin or emerged of maa kalijai at that place.

‘ଭଲ କରି ନାଆ ବୁହା, ରେ ନାଉରି !
ଝିଅକୁ ମାଡ଼ୁଛି ଡର;
ଗଡ଼େ ଗଡ଼ ଲୋକେ ଚାହିଁ ବସିଥିବେ,
ଝିଅ ଯିବ ଶାଶୂଘର୤’

According to a poem by Pandit Godavarish Mishra

Jai – a girl was coming to marry in Parikud. The boat was overturned in the rough stormy water. She met her tragic death and became the deity Kalijai.

As per Hindu rituals after marriage, the girl should go and stay at her in-law’s place.
When it was time for her (Jai) to go to her in-law’s place, she and her father
went on a boat ride. As her in-laws stayed on an island(Parikud) in the lake.

Her father instructed Boatman\Sailer to sail the Boat carefully as her daughter is afraid and her in-law’s are waiting for her.

‘ଏଡ଼େ ହୀନିମାନ କରିବାକୁ ଯେବେ
ମନରେ ଥିଲା ବିଚାର,
ଏନ୍ତୁଡ଼ିଶାଳେଟି, କିପାଇଁ, ବାପା ହେ,
ତଣ୍ଟି ଚିପି ନ ମାରିଲ ?
ଝିଅକୁ ନିଶ୍ଚିନ୍ତେ ଦେଇଛ ପଠାଇ
ବନସ୍ତକୁ ଜାଣୁ ଜାଣୁ;
କପାଳ ଆଦରି ଯାଉଛି, ବୋଉ ଲୋ,
ପାସୋରି ନ ଦେବୁ ମନୁଁ୤’

when going to in-laws’ place means complete detachment from one’s own parents’ house. Leaving the comfort of her home, leaving her parents, sisters, relatives, and friends behind.

During the journey, Jaai questioned her father about how he could he send her to a place of hell.
She urged him to kill her instead. The father was helpless, he tried to console his daughter,
but her moan did not stop.

ଭାଲେରି-ଶିଖାରୁ କଳା ମେଘ ଖଣ୍ଡେ
ଉଠେଇ ଆସିଲା କାହୁଁ;
ଲୁଚିଗଲେ ତହିଁ ସୂର୍ଯ୍ୟ ଦେବତା ଲୋ,
ଖରା ନପଡ଼ଇ ଆଉ୤

Unexpectedly the sky was covered with clouds. The entire sky was Dark.
A very strong wind started to blow, and the rain thrashed out.

ବରଷା ବତାଷି ଗରଜି ଆସିଲା,

ନାଆ ନୁହେଁ ଥୟ କରି;
ଏକା ପବନକେ ପାହାଡ଼େ ଯାଇ ଲୋ,
ପିଟି ହୋଇଗଲା ଚୂରି୤

The boatman lost control over the boat, it hit a large piece of rock in the middle
of the lake near and broke into pieces. Immediately after, that storm stopped.

ମେଘ ଚାଲିଗଲା ମେଘର ବାଟେ ସେ,
ବତାସି ହୋଇଲା ଥିର;
ପଡ଼ିଗଲା ଖରା ନିର୍ମଳହୋଇ ଲୋ,
ପାଣି ହୁଏ କଳ କଳ୤
ବାପା ପଚାରନ୍ତି ଖୋଜି ନାଉରିରେ
‘ଝିଅ ମୋର ଗଲା କାହିଁ ?’
ବୁଜି ଆଖି ଠିଆ ନାଉରି ନିଜେ ଲୋ,
ତୁଣ୍ଡ ତା’ ଫିଟଇ ନାହିଁ୤

Immediately after, the storm stopped, the sky opened up and the sun peeped out.
The father and boatman survived but the girl vanished into the whirlpool.
This is how the old Kali temple on the island came to be known as ‘Kalijai

It is the imagination of a poet but there is no supporting fact that confirms the whole state of affairs. It is only the creative imagination of the writer.

The History of Parikud” (1930) by Radha Charan Panda states that Sri Harisevak Mansingh, the king of Bankad (Banpur) came to Parikud in the year 1779 after being defeated by the Raja of Khurdha. His son Sri Bhagirathi Mansingh was attacked by the king of Khurdha.

The king of Parikud surrendered in the lotus feet of the Mother Kali. Kali Jai temple was pitched by Sri Jagannath Mansingh of the then king of Bankad in the year 1717.

The State of Parikud is also a part of Bankadgarh. During that period, a large number of Flamingos (a kind of bird 4’6″ in height) alighted in the Chilika and marched forward.

The army of Khurdha imagined it to be a vast army deployed in the Chilika and fled away. The people opined that Kali made the king victorious (Jayi).

Makarmela is celebrated with great pomp in the holy shrine of the Kalijai. This is the only popular festivity here. Lakhs of devotees flock here for celebrating Makar Sankranti.

The Raja of Parikud worships the Mother Goddess as his savior.

The Chilika lake in Odisha is a saltwater lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam districts of Odisha. It is at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal. It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef. It has been listed as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. The lake is noted for the million-plus migratory birds including grey-legged geese, herons, cranes, and pink flamingos – that flock here in winter (November to mid-January) from as far away as Siberia and Iran and concentrate in a 3-sq-km area within the bird sanctuary on Nalabana Island. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, the Aral Sea, and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Kazakhstan, Central and Southeast Asia, Ladakh, and the Himalayas come here.

These birds travel great distances; some of them possibly travel upto 12,000 km, to reach Chilika Lake. Nalabana Island in the lagoon was declared a bird sanctuary in 1987. In 1981, Chilika Lake has designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Around 152 rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins reside off Satpada Island in Chilka Lake. Other attractions are rare Irrawaddy dolphins near Satapada, the pristine beach along Rajhansa, and the Kalijai Island temple. One can take a train to Balugaon, It is about 110 km off Bhubaneswar. From Balugaon railway station auto rikshaw rides are available to Barkul, from where Kalijai can only be reached by boat, run by the Odisha tourism department. For a special feeling, the speed boat of the tourism department is also available, which is safe and for 6 to 8 people.

The boatsmen of these boats are trained for rescue. Search for seafood there. It is amazing but a bit expensive though.



Manoj is a Teacher in profession. He likes to read books and write articles in his free time. He has published more than 20 different articles in different web Magazines. His area of interest includes Odiya History, Temples, Culture Religious, etc.

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