Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The whole country is soaked in devotion as the date for the consecration of Ram Lalla’s idol and the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya is inching closer. Devotees of Lord Rama in Odisha are also ecstatic. Moreover, they will be more excited and spiritually ecstatic to know that Lord Ram, his spouse Goddess Sita and younger brother Laxman had many connections with the State.

As per legend, Lord Ram along with Devi Sita and Laxman had spent seven days at Saptasajya hill during his exile from Ayodhya.

Saptasajya is a famous tourist place which is located 12 km from Dhenkanal town and 62 km from the State capital. The scenic beauty with natural backdrop coupled with religious significance has gained popularity among people from the state and outside.

The word Saptasajya loosely translates to (Sapta) seven and (Sajya) bed. Apart from being an important place in the tourism map of Odisha, the place has spiritual significance as well. Legend has it that Lord Rama and His family had spent seven days and seven nights at this scenic place with full of spiritual ambiance during their exile of 14 years from Ayodhya. Moreover, Lord Ram had also performed a Yagna at Saptasajya hill before his venture into Ravan’s kingdom Lanka. As per popular belief, Saptasajya was part of ‘Dandakaranya’ at that time.

“Lord Rama was staying in Dandakaranya during his exile. He might have passed through Saptasajya and stayed at the place for some days. The possibility could not be discarded,” said historian Pradyumna Rath.

There are also many other folklores regarding Saptasajya. A floating stone is worshipped here for ages. As per popular belief, it is one of the stones that were used to build a floating bridge by Lord Ram at Rameswaram to venture into Lanka. However, nobody knows who brought that stone to the hill.

Interestingly, a temple in the area, built by the erstwhile queen of Dhenkanal Rani Ratnaprava Devi, has idols of Lord Ram, his brother Laxman, and wife Sita along with the Pandavas.

“Saptasajya is surrounded by deep forest and it has a scenic beauty. The place has special spiritual and religious significance. Thousand of devotees throng the place during Ram Navami to offer their prayer and worship Lord Ram, Goddess Sita and younger brother Laxman,” said Ratan Nair, a senior journalist.