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Khiching: Eastern Odisha’s Exquisite Getaway

The beautiful eastern district of Mayurbhanj which was once the citadel of the kings of the Bhanja empire during the period of 950 AD to 1250 AD, occupies a marvellous place in the cultural hub of India. The district is not only filled with ancient temples and exquisite monuments but also with numerous wildlife sanctuaries and breath-taking natural beauty. Among such places is Khiching which is notably one of the famous heritage sites of the state. Khiching is located in the sub division of Karanjia which is at a distance of 150 kms from Baripada and 230 kms away from the state capital, Bhubaneswar.

History of Khiching

The architectural and sculptural remains which were excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India indicate that the ruins date back to 8 – 12 centuries AD. In earlier days, Khiching was also named as Khijinga or Khijingakota which was once the capital of the Bhanja rulers.

Shiva Parvati at Kichakeshwari Temple
Shiva Parvati at Kichakeshwari Temple (courtesy @rajpurohit2005, Twitter)
Stonecarved Shivalingas in Kisana near Khiching
Stonecarved Shivalingas in Kisana near Khiching (@jnpankaj, Twitter)

The remains of the excavated place can be seen laying along the stretches of the banks of Khairabanshan river to the Kantakhair river. As Khiching shared borders with many locations with cultural influences, it has profoundly expressed its aesthetics and religious sensibilities despite being a cultural hub itself. Khiching suffered heavy neglect and was brought down to dust after the end of the Bhanja dynasty’s rule. It was then Maharaja Purna Chandra Bhanja Deo (1922-1924) who took the task to restore the lost heritage of the place until his death in 1928.

The monuments spread across Khiching are the finest examples of the great traditional sculpture of Odisha heritage. The craftmanship are of great aesthetics and are mostly crafted in blue fine-grained chlorite, giving the structures a fine orientation.

Nearest Places of Interest

Sanghagara Waterfalls: the 100 ft Sanghagara waterfalls of Keonjhar district is located at a distance of 51 kms from Khiching and is surrounded by scenic nature and serene beauty. Tourists can spend an hour or two here while exploring Khiching.

Baladev Jew Temple: An ancient Hindu temple known for its unique culture and religious importance is the Baladev Jew Temple in the Keonjhar district.

Khiching Museum: If you want to sharpen knowledge regarding the local heritage of Khiching, the Museum of Khiching is the best place to explore. Relics of the ancient temple, inscriptions, ancient coins, idols and much more are kept on display for tourists. In addition, the museum houses numerous life-size images of Avalokiteswar, Dhyani Buddha Parsvanatha, Tara, Parvati, Ardhanageswar, Vaishnavi, Nandi, Durga, Ganesh, Kartikeya, Mahishasuramardini and Uma-Maheswara.

Maa Kichakeshwari Temple (courtesy Mapio.net)
Maa Chamunda
Maa Chamunda (courtesy Odisha Diary)

Kichakeswari Temple: An ancient temple that is the abode of ten-armed skeletal idol of Chamunda adorning a garland made of skull is the star attraction of Khiching. The temple dates back its existence to 7th to 8th century.

Best Time to Visit

Khiching being an eastern district of Odisha enjoys a pleasant weather all through the year. Nevertheless, Khiching is at its best form during the months of October to March. During this time, tourists can also enjoy sightseeing, numerous migratory birds who can be witnessed in and around the forests adjacent to Khiching.

How to Reach

By Air: Biju Patnaik International Airport is the nearest airport to Khiching which is situated at a distance of 250 kms. One can hire a local taxi or use tourist buses to reach Khiching.

By Rail: Badampahar Railway station is the nearest railway station which is located at a distance of 50 kms from Khiching. Buses and taxis can be easily accessed from Badampahar. The station is well connected to several cities across the state.

By Road: Khiching is well connected to all major cities of the state by road. Private and state-run buses can be accessed from Baripada and Keonjhar.

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