There is a temple in Bhatara village of Sambalpur district of Odisha, which is dedicated to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi of India. This temple has been constructed by villagers in mutual cooperation. The specialty of this temple is that here worshiping Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, worshiping a worshiper is done by a Dalit.
Gandhiji, sitting on the top of the tricolor in this temple, is a 6 feet tall statue made from Kasi. The idol and Ashoka pillar of Bharat Mata have remained at the entrance to the temple.
This was the initiative that Gandhian leader Abhimanyu had in the initiative. Abhimanyu says that Mahatma Gandhi had come to this village due to the campaign to end the touch in 1928. Seeing their simplicity and hard work the villagers here became their devotees. But abandoning the centuries-old customs was not the case for everyone, the entry of ‘Harijans’ was prohibited in many temples. When Abhimanyu became a legislator in 1971, he gave the villagers the proposal to build the temple. Everyone fills for it.
Local Shilpa Trupti Dasgupta designed the temple, after that the foundation stone of this temple was laid on March 23, 1971. The villagers also assisted in the construction of the temple and also provided financial assistance according to their own strength. The order of 6 feet bronze statue was ordered for the temple, which was constructed by students of Khalilkot Art College in Ganjam district. On April 11, 1974, this temple was inaugurated by the then Chief Minister of Odisha, Nandini Satapathy.
Interestingly, Mahatma Gandhi didn’t believe in idol worship though he has said he understood the spirit behind it.