Birla Mandir and The Birla Family Tree

Birla Mandirs are a group of temples constructed by the Birla family (Birlas) across India. Birla Mandirs exists at New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Kolkata, Kurushetra , Shahad, Bhopal, BITS Pilani,Jaipur, Patna, Akola, Varanasi (2 Birla Mandirs at Varanasi), Renukoot, Nagda, Brajrajnagar, Gwalior and Alibaug,

Birla Mandir construction is still going on at some places and the family believes in continuing the work.

Birla Mandirs at Delhi and Bhopal

Laxminarayan Temple alias Birla Mandir at New Delhi
Laxminarayan Temple alias Birla Mandir at New Delhi, inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939

Birla Mandir at Bhopal
Birla Mandir at Bhopal

Birla Mandirs at Delhi and Bhopal were constructed to fill a void. i.e These cities had no big temples. Delhi temple confirms to Nagara style of architecture, even though it was built using modern technology.

Architecture of Birla Mandirs Other Than Delhi and Bhopal

Most of the other Birla temples are built using marble or sandstone, in either Chandela Style of Architecture or Solanki Style of Architecture, both of which existed in the 10th-12th centuries.

Birla Mandir at BITS Pilani

Birla Mandir at BITS Pilani campus is made of white marble and is a replica of the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple at Khajuraho. Gwalior Birla Mandir is a replica of the Konark Sun Temple.

Birla Group of Companies

Birla Mandirs across India are from Birla Family, who owns the Birla Group of companies. Birla family group is one of the leading business groups in India. Birla family members are the descendants of Seth Shobharam. Birlas belong to Pilani, a town in Rajasthan and are Marwari community, a community known for its business skills across India.

Birla Family Tree

Kumar Mangalam Birla, a fourth generation member of the Birla business family, currently heads the business after the demise of his father Aditya Vikram Birla in 1995. Aditya Vikram Birla is the son of Basant Kumar Birla ( Basant Kumar Birla is the grandfather of the current group head, Kumar Mangalam Birla and is currently the chairman of BITS Pilani) and grandson of Ghanshyam Das Birla. Ghanshyam Das Birla is the son of Baldeo Das Birla and grandson of Shiv Narayana Birla. Shiv Narayan Birla is the son of Seth Shobharam and grandson of Seth Bhudharmal.

Sun Temple Konark, UNESCO Heritage Site

Sun Temple at Konark is a famous and gigantic chariot shaped 13th century temple dedicated to the Sun God, Surya. Konark Sun Temple was built by the Eastern Ganga Dynasty king Narasimhadeva I.

Sun TempleKonark Sun Temple.
Photo Source : Creative commons.

Konark is a city on the Bay of Bengal Coast in the Puri district of Odisha state, India. This temple at Konark is also known as “Black Pagoda”, as the temple is built of black granite from ‘Khondalite’ rocks. (Jagannath temple at Puri is known as White Pagoda). Sun Temple Konark is a UNESCO World Heritage site and much of the 12 th century temple is in a ruined state now. This temple is also known as Konark Mandir, Surya temple and Surya Mandir.

Konark Sun Temple’s pillars, walls and the chariot wheels are all carved extensively and the temple was featured as one of the “seven wonders of India”, by the leading Indian News / TV Channel networks of NDTV and Times of India. 12 pairs of the chariot wheels of the temple are of 3 meters in width and is pulled by 7 pairs of horses (one pair of horses is ruined now). Sun Temple Konark is a great example of ‘Kalinga’ architecture. The architecture of the temple is in such a way that first sunrise rays falls on the principal entrance of the Temple.

Sun Temple KonarkAnother view of Sun Temple Konark. Photo Source : Creative commons Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Due to the heavy weight of the 70 meter tall structure and the nature of the loose soil on the coastal area, the main original sanctum fell in 1837. Thirty meter tall audience hall is still intact and is the principal structure now. The dance hall and dining hall also have survived the test of time.

Two ruined temples were also discovered close to the main temple. ‘Mayadevi Temple’, situated on the south-western side of the main temple is one among them. This temple is dedicated to Mayadevi, wife of Sun God. This temple is believed to have been constructed in the 11th century. Existence of older Mayadevi temple along with other evidences suggests that another Sun temple may have existed at the current site (which may have been damaged). The second ruined temple is close to the main Konark Sun temple and is dedicated to an unknown ‘Vaishnava’ deity.

There is a museum at Konark, which houses some of the sculptures and other ruins of the temple.

Konark is also famous for the annual Indian classical dance festival called “Konark Dance Festival“, held during the month of December.

How Do I Go to Konark Sun Temple?

Sun Temple at Konark is situated at a distance of 65 kilometers from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Ohidha state.

Barehipani Falls and Joranda Falls Inside Simlipal National Park

Joranda Falls and Barehipani Falls are situated inside the Simlipal National Park in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha State or Orissa (old name for the state).

Joranda Falls and Barehipani FallsJoranda Falls inside Simlipal National Park.

Joranda Falls & Barehipani Falls are regarded as among the highest falls in India. Barehipani Falls is a two tiered 399 meters high fall. Joranda Falls plunges over a cliff of 150 meters in height.

Barehipani & Joranda Falls are located in the heart of a wildlife sanctuary .

How Do I Go to Barehipani, Joranda Falls

Rourkela, the famous for its steel plant, in Orissa or Odisha, is at a distance of 160 kilometers from these magnificent falls.

Jamshedpur, the first planned industrial city of India, is where many factories of Indian Corporate conglomerate, Tata Group, are located. Jamshedpur is in Jharkhand state, a near by state, which is at a distance of 140 kilometers from Joranda and Barehipani falls.

Jamshedpur houses plants of Tata motors (the company which manufactures world’s cheapest cars, Tata nano ), Tata steel with manufacturing in 26 countries and many other Tata group companies. Tata consultancy services is leading IT company from the same Tata group. Taj group of hotels is a leading hotel groups in India from the Tata group.

Bhubaneshwar, the temple city, is at a distance of 300 kilometers.

Balasore at 76 kilometers is the closest railway station to Barehipani and  Joranda Falls. The railway station code  for Balasore at the Indian Railway ticket booking web site, irctc.co.in, is BLS. Balasore is at 194 kilometers north of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha,

Chandipur beach is in the same district of Balasore. Indian Ballistic Missile Test Range is at  a distance of 18 kilometers north of Balasore.

The neatest Airport is at Kolkatta or Culcutta, a major city in  the state of West Bangal, India, at around 240 kilometers distance from the falls .

Asia’s Largest Brackish Water Lagoon – Chilka Lagoon Lake

Chilka Lagoon Lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon in the east coastal line of Odisha state (or Orissa) in India.

Orissa Chilka Lagoon Lake

Sanderling Calidris Alba in Orissa Chilka Lagoon Lake, India.

This Lagoon Lake is the second largest lagoon in the world. The Lagoon Lake is India’s first ‘wetland of International Importance’.

This Lagoon Lake, the most beautiful natural scenery in Orissa, is spread over three districts of Odisha; namely Puri, Ganjam and Khurda. Chilka Lagoon Lake in Odisha is situated in the mouth of Daya River which falls into the Bay of Bengal. Motto village connects the lagoon to the Bay of Bengal.

This Lake has an area of around 1165 square km in rainy season which shrinks by 150 square km in the dry season.

Chilka Lagoon Lake is also known as Chilika Lake. The Lake is separated from the sea by a strip of sand flats and marshy islands. These islands are occupied by fishermen families and are favored by tourists, which is accessible by boat journey from the land.

This Lagoon Lake is rich in Aquatic Flora and fauna and is home to a large number of threatened plants and animals.

Chilika Lake’s largest island, Nalabana Island, is a bird sanctuary. Irrawady dolphins, which are endangered numbering around 150, are spotted off Satpada Island.

Orissa Chilka Lagoon Lake is one of the most prominent and important wet land in the world. It is the largest wet land in India for migratory birds in winter numbering around 160 species.

Chilika Lake’s largest island, Nalabana Island, is a bird sanctuary. Chilika Lake is famous for fishing and related industries. Crabs, Prawns and Macrael are found in plenty in the Orissa’s Chilka Lake. Many fishermen live in the villages in and around this  Lagoon Lake in Odisha.

How Do I Go to Chilka Lagoon Lake?

Orissa Chilka Lagoon Lake is easily accessible by road from Bhuvaneswar, Puri and many other cities in Orissa. Many hotels by lagoon side are available.

Temple City of India Bhubaneswar

Temple City of India Bhubaneswar is in the state of Odisha or Orissa, as it was known earlier, in India.

Bhubaneswar Temple City of India
Ram Mandir, Bhubaneswar

Bhuvaneswar is known as the Temple City of India as there are innumerable temples across Bhuvaneswar which once had  around 2000 temples. Bhuvaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage center in India which now boasts of around 500 temples which may be the highest in any part of the world.

The most famous temple in Bhubaneswar is ‘Lingaraj Temple’ which is more than 1000 years old and is among one of the tallest Shiva temple in India.

Vaital temple, Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Muktesvara Temple, and Rajarani Temple are some of the major temples of Bhubaneswar.

Temple City of India Bhubaneswar , by name means, the seat of Tribhubaneswar or ‘Lord Lingaraj’. Bhubaneswar’s history dates back to a minimum of 3000 years starting with the Mahamegha-bahana Chedi dynasty in the 2nd century BCE.

This temple city is on the Eastern Coastal Plains.

Main Festivals of Temple City of India Bhubaneswar

The main festival day is Ashokashtami which comes in March or April,. During this festival, the image of Lingaraja or Lord Shiva and other deities are taken from Lingaraja Templein a procession to the Mausima Temple andis kept there for four days. Lacks of devotees participate in the ‘Rukuna Rath’ or ‘Rath-Yatra’ or ‘Temple car Festival’ which carries the deities.

Durga Puja in September / October is another major festival in Bhubaneswar .Deepavali, Ganesh Pooja and Sarawathi Pooja being other major festivals.

How do I Go to the Temple City of India, Bhubaneswar?

Temple City of India is well connected by road, rail and air to the rest of India. Bhubaneswar is well connected to Puri by Bhubaneswar Puri Transport Services Limited (BPTSL) under JNNURM scheme of central and state government partnership. Buses will run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Bhubaneswar airport is the nearest airport. BBS is the code for Bhubaneswar railway station in Indian Railway and Catering Corporation’s site, irctc.co.in ,  for booking tickets online.