Naraj: The ancient Siddheshwar temple located atop Siddheshwar hills between Naraj and Talagarh under Barang police limits is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is not far from the banks of the Mahanadi. Legend has it that in the Mahabharata era, the Pandavas resided here briefly during their exile in disguise.
It is believed that Arjuna installed a Shiv linga and worshipped it to get ‘siddhi’ (success) as a result of which the deity is known as ‘Siddheshwar.’
The temple is located close to the Naraj barrage near Cuttack and is only 36 kilometres from capital city Bhubaneswar.
Shiva devotees and local volunteers here raised a building at the entrance of the cave. Hundreds of people regularly visit the temple. Residents of Talagarh believe that the ‘formless Shiva in symbolic form’ in the shrine listens to people’s prayers. The Pandavas are said to have lived in the caves adjacent to the temple.
According to Buddhist tradition, several Buddhist monks came to this place to meditate and obtain enlightenment. The monks find the hill caves suitable for meditation. One can see several stone idols of Lord Buddha in the area, lying in a dilapidated state due to neglect over the years. Many Kaudias visit this temple in the holy month of ‘Shravan’.
That said, the temple is in a dilapidated condition. With incessant rains, the stairs leading to the temple and the entrance have started crumbling. Local residents have demanded the Archaeological Survey of India and Endowment Department to take up the restoration of the temple to prevent it from falling into further ruins.