The temple of Dhabaleswar is wholehearted to the worship of Lord Shiva. It is located in the exotic island of Lord Dhabaleswar at a distance of 27 kilometres from Cuttack city. It is one of the best tourist spots and a great place of pilgrimage for devotees of Lord Shiva. The island rests on river Mahanadi, adorned with stone carvings which date back to 10th and 11th century. The temple fosters spirituality among the people of Odisha.
The name Dhabaleswar is attributed to the deity because of a miracle performed by Lord Shiva. A thief once stole a black calf from a village and raced towards the Shiva temple. He shielded himself inside the sanctorium of the temple along with the calf. A furious mob waited outside the temple in search of the thief. Meanwhile, the calf called out loud and the crowd could hear its voice. Stuck in an ambiguous situation, the robber prayed desperately to Lord Shiva to save him from the crowd. The Lord felt merciful on him and appeared as a Sanyassin in front of the crowd and questioned them about their discomposure. On being informed of their suspicion, the Sanyassin brought the calf to the view of the crowd. The calf turned out to be white, much to the amazement of the crowd. The crowd let go of the thief. The Sanyassin soon disappeared after that. The thief understood what had happened. He confessed his guilt and sought apology of the crowd. He pledged to spend the rest of his life in the service of the Lord in return. The miracle of the turning of the black calf to white served the reason for Lord Shiva to be named Dhabaleswar.
The present-day shrine was renovated by Bhubaneswar Development Authority. The temple can be reached via bus or boat. A foot hang bridge is connecting the temple island with Mancheswar, a major way to reach the temple. The hanging bridge is 245 feet long. The bridge is a major tourist attraction, being one of the first of its kind. It is popularly called Dhabaleswar Jhula and is the longest suspension bridge in India. Statues of various Hindu gods and goddesses are present in the temple. Some of the well-known statues are of Nrasimha, Varah and Kartikeya.
People from the nearby villages have set up numerous shops selling Puja paraphernalia at the temple’s entrance for the convenience of the visitors. Festivals like Shivaratri, Bada-Osha, Karthik Purnima, Dola Purnima and Pausha Purnima are celebrated here throughout the year. A huge fair is also organised here in the month of Karthika on the eventful day of Bada-Osha.