Baladevjew Temple, Ichhapur, Odisha where the main deity is Balarama

Baladevjew Temple Ichhapur,Odisha
Situated in Ichhapur (Tulasi Khetra), Kendrapara, Odisha is the popular temple of  Baladevjew Temple, and here, the main deity is  Balarama, an avatar of Sri Vishnu and brother of Sri Krishna.   However, Jagannath and Subhadra are also  being worshiped in the Ratna Sinhasan in the main temple as in the Puri Jagannath temple. There is also an idol of  Tulasi in a seated position present after the sacred seven steps.

The present shrine of Siddha BaladevaJew was constructed during the Maratha rule in Orissa (1761 AD)  and  king of Kujanga, Raja Gopal Sandha and Zamidar (landlord) of Chhedara killah, Srinivas Narendra Mahapatra were the patrons. It was saint/Sadhu Gopi Das and Sairatak Giri  who convinced the then Maratha Chief Janoji to have  the Jagamohan, Bhoga Mandapa of the main temple, temple of Gundicha and compound  wall  built. The Maratha ruler obliged and built them accordingly.

Baladevji, Subadhra and sri Krishna Baladevjew Temple, OrissaTemplePurohit
This temple faced demolition  in 1661 during the reign of  Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb  when one  Khan-I-Duran was  the subedar of Odisha. He  built a mosque on the remains of the temple. The Devotees of Lord BaladevJew secretly shifted  the idol to a place close to  Baranga (Chhedara) Jungle and  later to  Balarampur village near Luna river at Sakhi Bata. When normalcy was restored, they finally shifted the idol back to  the present day Icchapur temple.

Built on a 2 acre plot, the temple land  has  two parts - one consisting of different temples and the other being a fine  garden. The temple itself is enclosed within the boundary wall  46 feet (14 m) high.  The temple consists of Bada Deula or Sri Mandir, Majhi Mandir or Bhog Mandap,  Jagamohan or Natya Mandir and Bata Mandir or Mukhashala

Baladevjew Temple Ichhapur,Odisha Wikimapia
The main temple is 75 feet (23 m) high and 40 feet (12 m) wide and has a 7 step construction and heavy stones are used in this construction. Inside the premises, there are small temples/shrines where other Gods and Goddesses are  enshrined and worshiped.; each shrine has a traditional architecture native to Odisha. 

The other important parts of the temple that are worthy of mention are  Garuda Stambha, , Snana Mandap, Mukti Mandap, Laxmi Mandira, Bhairabi Mandir, NabaGraha Mandir (for nine planets),  Sri Ram mandir, Sidheswar Mahadev, Mukti Mandap, Ganesh mandir, & adhistati Devi Tulasi Temple,etc.  

Like the temple  ritual  tradition being followed in all south Indian temples, the deities of Lord Baladevjew, Lord Jagannath and Goddess Subhadra  are decorated and dressed up different ways on festival days. The alangarams (divine decorations)  of the deities on respective festival days  are  as per tradition as prescribed in the Sastras. This tradition is known as Besha (alankara). The Rath Yatra here is famous for the Brahma Taladhwaja Rath.

The temple follows six kaala Puja and there are 3 main Naivadya offerings.  Different types of offerings (Prasad) are made with trained traditional families, called Supakara and Mekap. They prepare food only for the deities and have been   patronized by 
different historic regimes in the past.  Rasabali,Upana Pitha, Karanji and  Chhena Chakata delicacies are quite popular here.