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Mahendragiri 2

Mahendragiri – Odisha’s Second Highest Peak!

Mahendragiri Peak, also known as the Triple Headed Mountains, stands as a prime geographical landmark in  the Gajapati district of Odisha, at a height of 1501 metres. With lush and rolling scenery, Mahendragiri is stunning enough to be featured in a typical romantic Bollywood movie.

It is among India’s seven famous Kulagiris. The hill’s highest elevation point is at 51 Kms from Berhampur. These hills are the ones often mentioned in Kalidasa’s and Sarala Das’s poetry other than their mention in archeological works. The Mahendratanaya River which flows down the hill makes this place a very attractive and beautiful place.

It can be strenuous to reach the top of this beatific destination but the rewarding views on the way are something that will motivate your feet or bike to move ahead. With clouds engulfing each turn and thick greenery encompassing every corner, climbing atop Mahendragiri is simply astounding!

Mahendragiri top
copyright Sejal Sheth

As your trail ascends high into the mountain, the sight of changing vegetation is absolutely breathtaking. Mahendragiri is renowned for its tremendous and varied biodiversity including the different kinds of lichen found only here. You can also catch a glimpse of its rich fauna abound in the surrounding forests like peacocks, flying squirrels,elephants, spotted deer and even leopards and talking mynahs,

apart from several small streams.

Thanks to numerous medicinal plants and other species found here, Mahendragiri hill and its surrounding areas are recognized as a hotspot for biodiversity. Mahendragiri Hills, which is part of the Eastern Ghats, is a sanctuary for medicinal plants, home to over 600 flowering plants. The region’s faunal diversity is enormous and is especially known for being a hotspot for herpetofauna.

This remarkable trek gets spellbinding as you pass several temples filled with legendary tales of mythology and religion! Beside the magnificent shrines dedicated to Bheema, Kunti and Yudishtar there are temples of Lord Shiva and Parashuram.

Mahendragiri temple
Mahendragiri temple 2

Legend

The mesmerising mountain is associated with many mythological legends. Couple of them are:- 

Mahendragiri top 2

It’s said the Lord Parashuram used to meditate in the mountains of Mahendragiri and received his weapon- the double axe from Lord Shiva. Since he along with Lord Hanuman are considered immortals in the annals of Hindu mythology, it’s said that he still resides in these mountains. The temple of Parashuram is located at the foothills in Tumba Village.

The second legend associated with the mountains is associated with the Mahabharata.

It’s said that during their “Agyatvas”  the Pandavas along with their mother Kunti made the mountains their home.

Legend aside, the temples named after the Pandavas & their mother Kunti are perhaps the oldest surviving temples of Kalinga School of Architecture. They were built at a time when Kalingan Architecture was at a very nascent stage and didn’t have the distinctive style as we know now. 

The Kalinga School of temple architecture at that time resembled more of the Nagara School of Architecture (temple architecture of Northern India). The five temples at the top of the mountains add to this legend and also lend character to the hilltop.

Mahendragiri is truly a beautiful journey from beginning to end, a panorama that is obviously complex and that will shock you. The range of granite hills on the northwest and south, like massive waves, succeeds one another and the movement of clouds from peak to peak creates an ever-changing image. The clear waters of the holy Mahendratanaya, the distant blue sea and the mountain with its majestic beauty makes  a trekker’s vision of Mahendragiri,  come true.

Its strong presence has captivated many visitors, mountaineers and trekkers in the past, and we’re sure you’ll soon be preparing to hike up the spectacular Mahendragiri Mountain Peak after reading this.

ROUTES TO REACH: (By Road)

1) Reach Paralakhemundi which is 115 km from Brahmapur via Ichhapur – Palasa.

2) From Brahmapur to Paralakhemundi via Digapanandi-R.Udayagiri and Rayagada

3) 126 km from Brahmapur via Ichhapur-Jarada-Jaipur and Paralakhemundi.

Through any way, you need to reach Burakhat Pass, which is the base of this mountain peak. It’s rough off roading for 5 KM. At Burakhat, one can park their vehicles here and either trek to the top or hire one of the two vehicles available to ferry tourists to the hilltop.

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