It is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in the state of Odisha in India. Behind the dam extends a lake, Hirakud Reservoir, 55 km long. It is one of the first major multipurpose river valley projects started after India’s independence.
The Hirakud Dam is a composite structure of earth, concrete and masonry.It is the longest major earthen dam in Asia, measuring 25.8 km (16 mi) including dykes, and stands across the river Mahanadi. The main dam has an overall length of 4.8 km (3 mi) spanning between two hills; the Lamdungri on the left and the Chandili Dunguri on the right. There are two observation towers on the dam one at each side. One is “Gandhi Minar” and the other one is”Nehru Minar”. Both the observation towers present breathtaking views of the lake.
The dam supports two different hydroelectric power houses. Power House I is located at the base (toe) of the main dam section and contains 3 x 37.5 MW Kaplan turbine and 2 x 24 MW Francis turbine generators for an installed capacity of 259.5 MW. Power Station II is located 19 km (12 mi) southeast of the dam 21°21′10″N 83°55′00″E at Chipilima.
Maa Samaleswari temple :
Samaleswari Temple is a Hindu temple in Sambalpur, Western Odisha, India dedicated to the goddess known as ‘Maa’, also known among the natives as samalei maa, meaning Mother Samaleswari. Shree Shree Samaleswari, the presiding deity of Sambalpur, is a strong religious force in western part of Odisha and Chhattisgarh state of India. On the bank of the river Mahanadi the mother goddess Samaleswari is worshipped from ancient times as Jagatjanani, Adishakti, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati.
Leaning Temple of Huma :
The Huma Temple, also known as the ‘leaning tower of Huma’, is another popular temple of Sambalpur, situated at 23 km from the district, at the banks of River Mahanadi. This temple was built in 1670, by King Baliar Singh, who was the fifth king of the Chauhan Dynasty of Sambalpur. It is known as a leaning temple because it does not stand upright, but is tilted more towards one side. Every item within the temple complex is also skewed.
The main deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. According to legend, there was a milkman who used to cross the Mahanadi every day, to worship Lord Shiva. He used to offer milk to the rock idol of Shiva, which consumed the milk every day. This miraculous incident led to the construction of Huma Temple in the place. The most visited day of this temple is the Shivratri, when a large number of devotees come here for offering milk to the idol of Lord Shiva, present in this temple
Maa Ghanteswari Temple – Chiplima :
Maa Ghanteswari Temple is situated 33 km south-west of Sambalpur, on the banks of River Mahanadi. Maa Ghanteswari’s Temple is one of the most holiest and beautiful places in Sambalpur. As the name indicates, there are bells (Ghanti) everywhere. People offer bell to Maa after their fulfilment of their wishes. A large number of pilgrims visit this place every day from across the state. This is also a very famous picnic spot. The specialty of this temple area is, thousands of bells hanging all around, the only place of its kind in Orissa. Maa Ghanteswari’s Temple is located at 33 kms south-west of Sambalpur and on the bank of river Mahanadi. It was playing an important role for navigation in the past. It was called a light house without light! The place got its name from goddess Ghanteswari.