Nestled between the Hirakud Dam and Reservoir makes for a picturesque setting, the sanctuary finds a special mention because of noted freedom fighter Veer SurendraSai. During his rebellion against the British Veer SurendraSaimade his base at ‘Barapathara” located within the sanctuary. Spread over 347 Sq KM, the beautiful sanctuary is known for its easy sightings of animals particularly Indian Bison’s, WildBoars, Sambhar and Peacocks to name a few. The dry deciduous forest attracts a host of winged visitors during the winters.
The abode of Goddess Samaleswari -the presiding deity of Sambalpur is one of the most revered temples of the state. The benevolence of the Goddess spreads across Western Odisha up to Chhattisgarh. The goddess is worshipped in various forms across the region.Though the origin of the Goddess is still shrouded in mystery, one thing has been ascertained that Goddess Samaleswari was appropriated as the deity of Sambalpur by the Chouhan King Balaram Dev, who became the King of the region in 1542 AD.
The abode of Lord Shiva worshipped as Vimaleswara is located on the banks of River Mahanadi, 23KM from Sambalpur and is a revered place of worship in the region. The highlight of the temple is its leaning structure, not only the main sanctum sanctorum is in an inclined position, but all the other shrines including the boundary wall are in a leaning position within the temple premises.