Exploring the Prototype of Black Pagoda, Konark – The Last Heritage Exploration Ride of the Year – Gangeswari Temple, Gop Village, Nipada
Very few people are aware that there is a prototype of Konark dating back to the Ganga Dynasty period (13th Century AD), which stands with its architectural marvels in the rustic surrounding of Gop village, near Nimapada on the way to Konark from Bhubaneswar. This temple which is much smaller in height as compared to the original Black Pagoda, is no less wonderful for its meticulous stone architecture in the famous “Khakhara” formation. This temple has a unique specialty of its “Pancha Ratha” style and is lively worshiping Goddess Gangeswari, known as the Ista Devi of Ganga Dynasty. It is also said that few of those 1200 artisans who built the Konark Sun Temple, used to stay here during the entire period of construction. There is a very large pond known at Bayalish Bati (One Bati is roughly 500 Gunth in area measurement), which is considered to be restriction of a large water way of river Kushabhadra. The laterite and sandstones used for construction of the temples were said to be transported through large logs of woods through these water ways during the construction period.
To end the Sunday Morning Heritage Adventure in style, BCAC planned to explore the less-travelled paths of Gop village to this historic and architecturally marvelous temple. The peloton started at 6:30 AM from the Club House and moved through our favorite Bhubaneswar-Konark Road through Pipili Bypass. Bibhu has joined us in this last ride of the year after a long break since his transfer to Raipur. The early winter morning breezes made the ride much more fun with golden yellow paddy fields and greenery of serene villages all around. We took a small halt for breakfast at Nimapada and savored our hungry souls with world famous Chenna Jhilli along with snacks. After the breakfast, we moved forward to Gop village from where we took a left turn through the narrow village roads to reach this famous Kalingan Architecture – Gangeswari temple.
Although signs of erosion was prevalent on the 13th Century rock sculpture, but the charm of the rustic stone art is pretty clear to offer a mesmerizing time to the visitors. We visited the temple had a darshan of Maa Gangeswari, and stopped near Bayalish Bati Pond to take some beautiful snaps in this countryside. After spending almost an hour at this temple, the peloton headed back to Bhubaneswar following the same route and covering more than 100KMs.