Home Tourism The Ramayana Chronicles of Sitabinji in Keonjhar

The Ramayana Chronicles of Sitabinji in Keonjhar

by Nita Mishra

A Glimpse into Ancient Canvas

TitleUnveiling the Enigmatic Sitabhinji Group of Rock Shelters in Odisha
IntroductionA Glimpse into Ancient Canvas: Ravanachhaya Mural Rocks
LocationNear Danguapasi village, Kendujhar district, Odisha
Dating4th to 6th century CE
Archaeological DiscoveriesInscriptions in Sanskrit and early Odiya, pre-8th-century Hindu temple remnants, Bhanja dynasty artifacts
Ravanachhaya MuralOne of India’s earliest tempera paintings, secular portrayal of a king’s procession, Sanskrit inscription
Chaturmukha Shiva LingaLate-Gupta era, dated to the 5th or 6th century CE
Management & ProtectionArchaeological Survey of India (N-OR-32)
Location DetailsSoutheast of Danguapasi village, 30 km south of Keonjhar town, named after Ramayana characters and events
Ravanachhaya FrescoLarge multi-colored painted mural, 25 feet by 10 feet, depicts a royal procession, surviving portion 17 feet by 10 feet, five colors used in painting
Controversies and ChronologiesDebate over dating of mural inscription, leaning towards 4th to 5th-century based on epigraphical studies
Gupta-Era Art and InscriptionsOther rock-shelter clusters with historic inscriptions, early Odiya scripts, extinct variants, mukhalinga made from soapstone in late Gupta-style
Religious Tapestry: ShaivismConnection to Shaivism by mid-1st millennium, Shaiva monastery indicated by inscriptions
ConclusionSitabhinji Group of Rock Shelters – A captivating journey through time and artistry in Odisha

Village of Danguapashi, 6 km away from Ghatagaon in Odisha’s Keonjhar, the revered shrine of ‘Sitabinji’ holds great religious significance. This sacred site is intricately woven into the tapestry of mythological tales from the Ramayana era, adding a layer of mystique to its aura.

Mata Sita and the Twins: A Timeless Presence

The heart of the shrine lies in the belief that Mata Sita, accompanied by her twin sons Luv and Kush, resided here after being abandoned by her husband, Lord Ram. In reverence to their presence, Mata Sita is worshipped at Sitabinji, creating a spiritual haven for devotees.

A Picturesque Setting Enhanced by Hills and Heritage

The enchanting beauty of Sitabinji is complemented by the surrounding hills, believed to have hosted Maharishi Valmiki’s ashram. Adding to the allure, a colossal Shiva lingam of Gaganchumbi Mahakaleswar greets visitors at the shrine’s entrance. Locals share tales of Mata Sita using it as her storehouse.

Treta Yuga Caves and Stone Carvings: A Glimpse into Mythology

Venturing into the shrine, visitors encounter caves believed to date back to the ‘Treta Yuga.’ Stone-carved paintings adorn the walls, depicting scenes of a victorious king returning from battle. These carvings unfold the saga of Lord Ram’s triumphant return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan. According to locals, these carvings served as educational tools for Luv and Kush during their studies.

Yajna Kunda: An Ancient Presence Atop the Hill

Perched atop the hill is the ‘Yajna Kunda,’ believed to have originated from the Treta Yuga. Locals attribute this sacred site to the education imparted to Luv and Kush by Maharshi Valmiki.

Preserving Ramayana’s Legacy

“The stone carvings are proof of the significant role this place played in the Ramayana,” affirms a local resident. The paintings not only depict the story of Sita but also served as educational aids for students residing in the ashram.

A Devotional Journey Amidst Nature

Visitors to Sitabinji are treated to a profound devotional experience intertwined with the beauty of nature. The tranquil surroundings and the spiritual ambiance make it a memorable visit for all who seek solace.

Balancing History with Development: A Future Vision

Despite its rich historical background, Sitabinji currently lacks the necessary development. Recognizing the surge in tourist footfall, Ramesh Kumar Nayak, Co-Director of Tourism for Keonjhar District, announced, “A fund of Rs 4 crore has been sanctioned for the beautification of the shrine. We are working with the administration to expedite the beautification work, acknowledging the growing interest of tourists in this sacred site.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment