A beautiful Ruined Town – Brajrajnagar

This story is written by Nishima Avasthi after she visited to this beautiful city some years ago

Recently, to get a break from boring routine & moron monotonous life of metro, visited a small place named Brajrajnagar, District Jharsuguda, Odisha.

On hearing name, it seemed to me of some kind of village and didn’t get excited at all. Though, in just two days this town unfolded its own story that forced me to write this article.

From Bhuwaneshwar Airport, this district Jharsuguda was major Railway Junction with its unique Purple colour Building and for the first time I came to know that our 1st President  Dr. Rajendra Prasad had visited here in 1959.

Brajrajnagar is a small tranquil city in this district with a very small population of some thousands, located on the placid waters of Ib river. It has wealth of Natural Resources with set up of Steel Plants & Coal Mines but the most surprising and noticeable thing is that there used to be a paper Mill by Birla Group named “Orient Paper Mills”. As it became sick unit, and new generation moved on, emotional baggage was left out and family rifts increased resulting to the closure of these Mills which was the heart beat of this city.

It is amazing that this town witnessed a society which was established on par standards even when we didn’t achieve freedom. The whole city was set up with well planned architectures and far sighted imagination in 1940s which is currently visible in Metros and bigger Cities. There was school, Club, theatre, Playgrounds etc in the name of O P Mills, all in lush green surroundings. Perhaps, after closure of Mills, several lost their jobs and the whole set up ruined.

There are several old constructed Bungalows of the Employees of O P Mills with quite big and capacious land in the form of Garden in front and same space as a backyard, which you and I cannot imagine in our cities.  Imagine blooming flower beds and greenery in front and fruit yielding trees in back in your own house with main building in centre, in the middle of a small peaceful city and out of urban nonsense….Only serene nature and a dream vacation…..which we get rarely after spending huge money…… but alas; the town had tough breaks due to sheer Negligence by the Govt Authorities. As mills closed, and Employees lost the jobs, they moved on from the place and now several such bungalows are left unattended and vacant. What a hard luck!!!!So much of space to live in but no one lives…..

So there are fewer people, no administration or security or police control or jobs. When the grip of administration looses, miscreants take benefit of the situation.
There are several beautiful temples and which could attract tourism but city has been left like an Orphan. There is a Ram Chandi temple in outskirts, situated on a hill and Ib river in the back. Its quite adventurous to go to this temple where it is said that once all people and even ladies used to reach this temple with the help of the creepers of the banyan trees and there were no stairs. This has twisting 100 + stairs now with a breathtaking view, if you r afraid of heights and look down. There is a story that Lord Rama took shelter here during his exile of 14 years. This temple now closes at 5 pm.itself because thefts have occurred here in past and the road connecting this temple to the city is out of way and deserted.
There is a Laxmi Narayan temple by Birla with a picturesque view of the city but no electricity at all. All people go for darshans in day time only. We visited the temple in the twilight hours of dusk when the pandit was doing aarti all alone and was happy to see it being attended by atleast few bunch of people. He was quite sad and explained that how this temple was looted, the gold ornaments of God & goddess were stolen, gate demolished and power was cut and now temple operates in murky darkness during nights. On a funny note, even God has to bear the brunt from his own creation; Human. A kind of Frankenstein.

Seeing this heart filled with tears.

Now when you pass through the lanes, the smoke comes out from Brazier, small kids playing and everyone moving to their homes before its getting dark.

This city is the epitome of a bizarre mix of two extremities at a time. So peaceful yet so isolated, so rich in nature but so deserted in poverty, so small in size but big in facing the rough weather. Just hope that local authorities, government and so called Corporate may have some look at its condition and try to explore and discover some new opportunities pumping a new life and its sheer due respect to this city, to its simple and innocent people.



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