--> Skip to main content

Mandhata Baba Temple near Sambalpur in Orissa protects and worships Turtles

The temple is located at Maneswar near Sambalpur in Orissa. The temple pond which is home to more than a thousand turtles was built in the 16th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. But (kurma) turtle was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and people here worship the turtles. Gangetic turtles are found in the pond.

The pond is spread over four hectares and has earthen embankments and rocks on sides. Turtles rest and breed on these embankments. People feed them with rice and have learned to co-exist with them. 

The 16th century temple of Lord Shiva, better known as Mandhata Baba temple, was constructed by the first King of Sambalpur Balaram Dev. Turtles are the major attraction of the tank spread over an area of more than one and a half acres. It is a unique example of turtle conservation.