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On a bright Tuesday morning, my wife expressed her desire to visit the temple of ‘Maa Matia Mangala, 15 kilometres from my house’. The temple is very famous in our area that encompasses more than 100 villages. It is located in the village of Baranga, Rajnagar, Kendrapara, Odisha. After a little discussion, my father called up a cab driver and around 11 am, we were all set out for the place.

Our group comprised 6 members, including my mother, sister, her son, my sister-in-law, my wife and, of course, me. Though I am not a temple goer, it was pretty exciting for me to see a new place, at least. I only knew it was a temple close to the river of Brahmani and I would have some amazing pictures.

There was no problem till we reached Madanpur as the Madanpur-Pattamundai road has newly been constructed. It wouldn’t be wrong to compare the road to the national highways. It was wide enough and there was ample space for bikers, cars, trucks and buses to go smoothly. The road was not great after Madanpur College. Single narrow road with vehicles from both ends – a terrible journey! Finally, we arrived at our destination safely after crossing the Rajnagar Bridge, some villages and crowded markets. From Rajnagar, Baranga is just 7 km away. The journey took us almost an hour.

I was actually expecting more crowd as I heard such stuff from people earlier. Well, it was not that less either. After alighted from the car, I discovered that my mother had come barefooted. It was not because she is a great devotee of Maa Matia Mangala, rather she had forgotten to wear it. Quite strange, isn’t it?

Surrounded by the Brahmani River, the agricultural field, lush landscape and several shops selling ‘puja samagri’, the temple has a mesmerizing location. The driver parked the car under a tree and waited for us. I was strictly instructed by Sunita, my wife, to do ‘pranama’ and have some respect. (Trust me, I am a staunch believer of God. I just don’t believe in idol worship or visiting temples.) We did a small puja, took the ‘prasad’ and headed to the river. The journey became more interesting as my nephew was doing funny stuff. They were quite hilarious.

WOW!!! It just came out my mouth as we inched a further to the river. Truly amazing view, quite a serenity and astonishing. Got some pictures and had some fun! I was teasing my nephew and in return, he responded well with some funny acts every time.

By 12.30 p.m. our appetite increased and it was intolerable for us to stand without food in our stomach. We made up our mind and returned. My eyes were looking for a hotel. At Rajnagar, the driver recommended a vegetarian hotel. We grabbed 7 seats and ordered full meals. The guy who took the order served 6 meals thinking my nephew can’t have a full meal. I insisted on serving another meal and he did it hesitantly. To his surprise, Ghajini (my nephew) finished his meal effortlessly and sought for more food. The moment was very comical.

No, no, no…I’m not finished yet. The second part of the day led us to another hotspot, ‘Pentha’ – a spot for all beach lovers.


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