Barala is a small village located 26 km from Puri Jagannath Temple. The Presiding deity is lord Shiva known as Lord Balunkeswar and is one of Puri’s most important Shiva temple. Although not a major tourist destination, it is home to a famous Shiva temple and attracts thousands of devotees each year. The sanctorum sanctuary of this temple shelters a Shiva Linga, although it also worships 25 small sanctuaries which consecrate images of Durga, Khshetrapala, Vairabhi Annapurna, Ardhanariswara, Damodara, Gopal, Narasimha, Ambika. The temple consists of Vimana (main temple), Jagamohana (entrance hall) and a Natamandapa (dancing hall). The temple is fortified with high wall with Sinhadwara (Lion’s Gate) facing towards the east.
Barala Balunkeswar Temple History:
A legend associated with this temple makes it special from other temples in the locality and attracts thousands of devotees all year round.
According to the legend, back in 12th century, there used to be a jungle where the temple stands today. A local cowherd Puruba Barala used to graze his livestock in the jungle.
One day he saw a black coloured cow dripping milk on a piece of a rock and was surprised to see the unusual incident. He informed fellow villagers about it and the news spread by word of mouth. As obvious it was, the news reached even the royal court. The then king of Angul went to the village, engaged laborers to dig the rock out, but failed. Even elephants could not lift it up from the ground.
The people and the king believed what the cowherd had narrated. The king named the piece of the rock as Barala Balunkeswar after the cowherd and engaged pundits to worship it as Lord Shiva. Later, a temple was built at that place. Now, it has become one of the most famous shrines in the district. People believe their wishes are granted after offering prayers to the Lord here.
On occasion of ‘Maha Shivaratri’, thousands of devotees throng the shrine to offer their prayers and worship the Lord. The temple committee and local administration have taken necessary measures to ensure a smooth darshan.
Barala Balunkeswar Temple Address:
Puri, Odisha 752046