Arich historic legacy forms the roots of the Balasore district in Odisha. Earlier a part of Kalinga and later of Toshala, Balasore found a semblance of its current boundaries in 1634 when Shahjahan was the emperor at Delhi. The name itself implies magic as it means ‘Town in the Sea’. One of the key attractions of the district is Panchalingeswar. The town has found historical and cultural importance for the five shivalingas that lie here. Four under a stream of water and one on the bank. It is at this temple (and on your way here) that you will find the many reasons for the five shivlingas that are worshipped here. While some legends suggest that it was Sita, wife of Lord Ram, who had placed them here for worship while residing in the area during their exile, others suggest that one King Banasura was so taken by the beauty of the region that he worshipped the Lord five times over in its praise.
It is believed that Lord Shiva grants the wishes of any devotee who immerses himself in the stream and is able to find all four underwater lingams. Jarasanth, one of mighty rulers of Magadh, had prayed here and found all the five shivlingas. He asked the Lord to bless him with unbeatable strength; his wish was granted and would have remained so if not for the genius of Krishna who cunningly suggested a loophole in the wish. Hence, all devotees are advised to be wary of what they wish for. The region is blessed with a dense green cover with numerous trekking paths, some waiting to be discovered. Several streams cut across the land adding the charm of all elements combined to create a sojourn of sorts. In the absence of a permanent trekking path etched out, nature-lovers are free to travel where they please.
A good place to start would be by the perennial stream that gushes by the temple and to follow it up the hills. The forest, though dense, does not pose the threat of wild animals, though we would advise checking with the locals before you head out. Panchalingeswar lies about 35 km from the beautiful beach of Chandipur and it would be well-advised to undertake the journey to add to the experience. For those who wish to stay put, Panchalingeswar offers a scenic landscape with the lack of the utter chaos to soothe the nerves, calm the mind and rejuvenate the senses. Indeed, a destination for creating memories that will last a lifetime, the Balasore district will leave you enchanted.