Balasore or Baleshwar (Odia: ବାଲେଶ୍ଵର) is in the state of Odisha, about 194 kilometres (121 mi) north of the State capital Bhubaneswar, in eastern India. It is the administrative headquarters of Balasore district.
It is best known for Chandipur beach. It is also the site of the Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program's Integrated Test Range, located 18 km. south of Balasore. The Defence Research and Development Organisation developed many different missiles such as Nag, Brahmos, Agni Missile among others here.
This is where famous freedom fighter Jatindranath Mukherjee also known as Bagha Jatin got injured and died fighting the British. The spoken language in Balasore is Odia.
- The population of Balasore in 2011 census is 144373 and is the 7th most populous city of Odisha.
- Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Balasore has an average literacy rate of 88%, higher than the national average of 59.5%.
- It is also the most literate town of Odisha. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar. Kolkata is approximately three and a half hours by train and approximately 4 to 5 hours by bus.
Balasore railway station is an important station on the Howrah-Chennai main line of the South Eastern Railway. The distance to Kolkata is approximately 232 km, while the distance to Bhubaneswar is about 206 km. A branch line to Baripada starts from Rupsa, near Balasore. Balasore is connected to all parts of India through trains. 58029/Balasore - Bhadrak Passenger (UnReserved) origin from here.
National Highway 5 and National Highway 60 pass through the city. A part of the Golden Quadrilateral project, this highway runs from Chennai to Kolkata. Intra-city transport comprises cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws. City buses ply in two routes in the city to join the different parts of the city. The bus terminus is at Sahadev Khunta and thousands of private buses ply to hundreds of destinations every day.
Places of interest
Missile launch in DRDO, Chandipur
Chandipur-on-sea is a seaside resort famous for its mile long beach. It is a unique beach – the tide comes to the shore only four times a day, at fixed intervals. At a distance of 30 km south-west is Panchalingeshwar, a temple and scenic spot high on a mountain. The presiding deity there, Shiva, cannot be seen. One has to touch and feel the statue as it is behind (submerged under) a waterfall. About 33 km south-west of Balasore, there is a town by name 'Santaragadia' that has a 'Biseswar temple' situated on a hill. The town is surrounded by hills on all sides. Nearby is 'Khulia' village, a settlement of aboriginals. Around 30 km south-east of Balasore is a port named 'Dhamra'.
Khirachora Gopinatha Temple, situated at Remuna, approximately 7 km from the main town of Balasore, was built by King Langula Narasimha Dev, who also built the famous temple at Konark. Khirochora Gopinath Temple is notable for its mythological story about how it was built there. The prashad of Krishna – the khira – is very famous. The Biranchinarayan Temple, Palia, "AstaDurga", "Bhudhar Chandi" are some other temples located in the region.
Jagannatha Temple, Remuna is a newly built temple in the area, the architecture of which is influenced by the famous Jagannatha Temple of Puri.It is the recent favourite tourist spot concerning the region.
Jagannatha Temple Nilagiri
There is a Jagannatha Temple in Nilagiri which is one of the prominent Jagannatha temples of Odisha. Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are worshipped here. Every year, Ratha Yatra is performed with all the deities.
Panchalingeswara Temple is a temple near a picnic spot in Baleswar which is located 30 km from Balasore. There is a state tourism Pantha Nivas in Panchalingeswara for tourists. Panchalingeswara is surrounded by hills and forests.
Bhujakhia Pir, situated at sunhat at the heart of the city is the tomb of Sufi saint Aasthana Sharif Hazrat Pir named as Bhujakhia Pir.The most interesting thing that both Muslim and Hindu jointly worship pir baba
Culture and festivals
Balasore culture is a blend of traditional festivals, food, and music. The city offers a cosmopolitan and diverse lifestyle with a variety of food, entertainment, available in a form and abundance comparable to that in other cities. Balasore residents celebrate both Western and Indian festivals. Diwali, Holi, Eid, Christmas, Navratri, Good Friday, Dussera, Moharram, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Raja and Maha Shivratri are some of the popular festivals in the city. The akhada Arts Festival during Durga puja is a unique culture of Balasore.
Dussehra, the festival of goddess Durga, is very popular in Balasore. Idols are worshipped in many streets and localities. In this city, Dussehra is famous for its idols, with localities trying to outsmart each other by constructing more attractive idols. Indeed, the whole city comes to a standstill on Ashtami, Navami and in Dashami burning of an effigy of the demon Ravana (the eighth, ninth and tenth days of Dussehra) as people travel all over the city appreciating all the idols put forth by the neighbourhoods.
Kali puja, Just after Durga puja gets over Balasore gear up with all their vigour to celebrate Kali puja. On the auspicious day of Diwali amidst the bursting of firecrackers.
Kartikeshwar puja: The organised puja committees in charge of carrying out the worship of the deity of Balasore get ready for Kartikeswar Puja. Kartikeshwar is the eldest son of Lord Shiva.
Kite flying is also celebrated with much enthusiasm and energy in the city. Kite-flying culminates with the Makar Sankranti, with kite-flying competitions being held all over the city.
All the other regular Indian festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Vasant Panchami, Holi, Id, Good Friday, Rath Yatra, Diwali, Christmas and the numerous Hindu festivals are also celebrated.
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