The district takes its own name from the head quarters town Jajpur which was founded by “JAJATI KESHARI”, the Somabanshi king in early 10th century.
From time immemorial, Jajpur has been identical with Viraja or Viraja Khetra. The place is sacred to Viraja, the symbol of Sakti(Power) on one side and Verah, the symbol of Brahma or Purusha on the other side. It is one of the traditional Pancha Khetras in Odisha dedicated to Brahmanical Pancha Khetras. As a seat of ancient culture and a holy shrine for Hindus, it was once studded with scores of ancient stone temples as in the temple city of Bhubaneswar.
But in and around the surviving temples and the temples built after the mass destruction, we come across a large number of sculptures ranging from the 4th century, which not only stands as the milestone of art and architecture of the place, but also provides us with ample materials to reconstruct the cultural history of Odisha.
The iconographic features of Goddess Viraja, supports such a conclusion about its date. The Paralakhemundi copper place of Prithivi Maharaja mentions Viraja as Viranja. The date ascribed to this place has been 6th century AD. But the Mahabharata which was composed in the 3rd century mentions in its ‘Vana Parva’ in 114th chapter about Viraja and the sacred Baitarani, where the five Pandav brothers had their holy dip with Lomash, the saint. So the date of the origin of Goddess may safely be attributed to the 3rd century.
However, a new political situation developed with the rise of the Bhaumakaras in 736 AD. The Bhaumakara empire extended from the Ganges in the North to the Mahendra mountain on the South. The Bhaumas ruled for over two centuries with their capital at Guheswar Patak in Viraja Khestra. Khijinga Mandal of the Bhaumas comprised of modern Mayurbhanja, eastern part of Keonjhar, some portion of Dhenkanal and the modern Jajpur and Bhadrak districts. Though a great deal of geographical, political and social changes have taken place since then, the cultural ties of the region is still conspicuous, as the people of the region still perform their social functions and rituals in accordance with Viraja Panjika approved by the learned astrologers and scholars (Pandits) of Jajpur. Brodly speaking Odisha was mainly divided into two cultural units, the one centering round Viraja khetra and the other round Shrikhetra. As in Puri, there was also the Mukti Mandap and Pandita Sava at Jajpur and the ruins still bear testimony to it.
The two powerful dynasties, Bhaumas and Somavansis reigned over the whole land mass of modern Odisha for almost four centuries from 8th to 11th century and saw the formative period of life and culture or Odishan people. The period is indeed a remarkable epoch.
Budhism and Jainism were still in affluent in Odisha as known from the accounts of Hieun Tsang, the famous Chinese piligrim who visited Puspagiri Bihar in the precincts of Jajpur in 639. Tantrayan Sprang upon the decadence of Budhism towards the 8th Century.
The Somabansi King Jajati Keshari made Jajpur his capital performed the historic Dasaswamedh Yajna in 10th century. Jajpur was not only the capital of two important dynasties, but has also contributed a lot to the synthesis of different religions which flourished in Odisha.
The place where the Barahjew temple complex lies, is conspicuously noted for the picturesque surroundings with the river Baitarani, branching off on both the sides of it. The main temple, a massive structure, comprises the sanctum Jagamohan in Pidha style. A major portion of the Mukti Mandap has been buried under the pile of sand. Three boar faced deities designed in black chlorite slabs of stone are preserved in the sanctum. They are identified as Adiverah, Sweta Verah and Yajna Verah. The images are built in iconographical precision, that dates back to the Gupta age or Mathar Kings reigning in Kalinga during 4th Century AD. The kings were the worshippers of Vishnu and worked for the growth of vishnu cult.
The king of Ali or Aul as it is now called is said to have taken away the original image of Laxmi Verah. The main temple stands in its original form bearing in its body some earlier pieces of sculptures of which the scene of Annapurna giving aims to Lord Shiva is one. The upper part of the temple which had been badly damaged by the fanatic invaders was repaired and reconstructed by the last Gajapati King of Odisha. The well known Dasaswamedha Ghat built by the Soma Vansi King, Jajati Keshari, where the great Aswamedh Yajna was performed during the 10th century still exists under the piles of sand.
Jajpur, with a total area of 2899 sq km is situated between 20º 30′- 21º 10′ north latitude and 85º 40′- 86º 44′ east longitude. The district has a total population of about 19, 00, 054 (according to 2001 census).
To the South of the district lies river Baitarini and the districts of Keonjhar & Bhadrak. To the South lies Cuttack, East lies Dhenkanal and in the West it is surrounded by Kendrapara district.
- Climate & Temperature
The climate of Jajpur district is normal. Located at an average height of 331 metres from the sea level, the district receives an average rain fall of about 1014.5mm. The average maximum and minimum temperatures are 38 degree Celsius and 12 degree Celsius respectively. Overall, the climate of the district is neither hotter nor cooler.
The Major rivers that flow through the district include Baitarani, Kani, Kharasrota, Budha, Badagenguti, Brahmani, Kelua and Birupa.
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Jajpur is a historic place of pilgrimage is located at a distance of 92 km from Cuttack and 125 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar. NH-5 is well connected to the head quarter of this district. So best way to reach Jajpur is by road. Biraja temple is one of the oldest temples of Jajpur district which is located at a distance of 6 km from Jajpur town.
Jajpur is well connected by rail with all the major cities of the state.
Where to stay?
Although there are no such big star hotels around Jajpur for a luxurious visit, but a large number of good hotels are available here at an affordable price.
Gaja Laxmi Puja, Kumara Utsava & Shamba Dashami.