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Deeply rooted within us hu-mans is the urge to cleanse ourselves every now and then. The cleansing can be of thebody or the mind itself. One can do both at Deba-kunda, God’s very own pond.Riding my Royal Enfield, I cov-ered some really dusty roads to reach the gates of the heavenly Deba-kunda. Mesmerised by the beauty and somewhat feeling a little unclean from all the dust that my body had accumulat-ed over the journey, I decided to jump into the cold water and the only thing that my mouth could utter was “Har Har Mahadev”. My arms were in the air and my eyes were staring at the beauti-ful temple that stood on top of the waterfall. As I was standing in the holy water of Deba-kunda, it seemed like it was coming down directly from the heavens above. The 7 o’ clock sun shining behind the temple mast and the green-ery surrounding it, received my adulation as I folded my hands and closed my eyes to cut off any noise between me and the sound of the water and temple bells. The bath had taken away all my tiresomeness and had also re-plenished the strength in me to take almost 300 steps to the temple above the waterfall. After offering my prayers, I came out to find a beautiful statue of Lord Ha-numan. His face looked so peace-ful.

 I sat on his feet for a good 15 minutes watching the water nearby. Then I noticed some peo-ple climbing more steps to some-place above. I followed them and lo and behold, there was another waterfall right in front my eyes! I soliloquised, “This is a two step wa-terfall”. Delighted, I rushed to the base of the waterfall and sat there overlooking the whole Deba-kun-da. The same water was gushing down to form the bigger waterfall as I realised that now I was stand-ing on the top of it! I couldn’t take another bath because my mind was already submerged in the holiness of this place. The scent of burning camphor, mixed with the scent of the jungle felt some-what surreal. Yes, there were a lot of people around, some had trav-elled to pray and some had come to just do some sight-seeing. But it never felt over-crowded or noisy. It seemed like everyone was ex-periencing some level of peace and their energies were diverted towards spirituality. That’s what this place does to you.

I had started from my hotel in Baripada by dawn. It was a 1 hour 30 minutes ride. I stopped at a roadside vendor where a cute middle-aged couple were sell-ing breakfast. The Baripada-Uda-la road took me through fields. The tarmac was well paved upto a certain point, but as you enter the forest region, the road ends and a dusty patch begins, this is what takes you to the gates of De-ba-kunda. History tells us that the “Ambika Mandira” (temple on the top of the waterfall), was discov-ered by Rajkumar Prafulla Chan-dra Bhanja Deo, a researcher and a king during British Raj.

The Deba-kunda was a small part of a bigger itinerary which cov-ered the Simlipal Wildlife Sanctu-ary as well. But I can say without a shred of doubt that it was the most memorable part of my jour-ney in the winters of January 2021.

Abhishek Chakrabartti works as the lead software developer for Samsung R&D, Bangalore. Born and brought up in Odisha, he is re-exploring his home state as a major travel destination.

01 Apr 2022
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