Humma, a renowned historical monument is situated on the bank of river “Mahanadi”, about 40km from Sambalpur city. This important religious place of Hindus is famous for an ancient temple of lord Shiva which has a unique architectural importance due to its slanting structure, otherwise known to present only in the slanting tower Pizza in Italy. Another differentiating feature of this place is reverence of “Kado”or “Mahashir” fish (Tor mahanadicus) as incarnation of lord “Bishnu” as “Matsya” avatar.

The best season for sighting “Kodo” fishes is from winter, (after “Kartik Pornima”) to the starting of monsoon, when the water is clear and quiet slow.

Basic information on Mahashir
Mahashir (Tor mahanadicus):
Mahashir is an endemic fish species of river Mahanadi therefore its scientific name is Tor mahanadicus. This is a trout species particular confined to rocky upstream of river; generally prefer ‘lentic’ water habitat (i.e. rocky and stiff hill streams with flowing water). Mahashir is a “Phytophagus” species, feed on phytoplankton and algae growing on rocks submerged in water.

Status and Threats
However the species is under threat and is endangered. The major threats faced are:
1.Illicit and exploitative fishing practices resulting into depletion of fish stock
2.Habitat destruction due to pollution caused by industries and domestic effluents released in the river that destroy spawning grounds of the species
3.Change in drainage pattern because of natural and manmade activities, etc.

Mahashir is a commercially important fish for its good food value, but stock of this species is declining day by day . Now fisheries department is also proposing a project for artificial rearing of this species for commercial production in Sambalpur.


Humma is a very distinctive place where community is protecting an endangered, endemic and commercially important fish species due to religious belief. About ??? km of river stretch in and around the temple is protected by the villagers of Huta village.

Humma is very dynamic system due to continuously flowing river stream. Though we are concentrating on efforts taken by community in conservation of “Mahashir”, the area seemed to be important as suitable habitat for other wild animals also. Local people indicated occurrence of jungle cat, Indian Otter, Jackals and various water birds.

The stretch of Mahanadi in Humma particularly represents a suitable habitat for trout like Mahashir owing to rocky streams with flowing waters. Local people relate an ancient folklore of a fisherman and his wife who turned into stone while cutting the “Kado” fish. There is a monument on an island opposite the temple, where statues of this fisherman and his wife are present. The discussion with local fishermen revealed that fishermen generally avoid catching these fishes. If they do get any “Kado” fish they release it back into the river. Catching or hurting these fishes is considered a sin.

The most important role played in conservation is that of the fisherfolks in the village who do not fish Mahashir, despite its commercial importance, although the entire village through the temple committee does decisions about the river stretch and the temple. Since Huma temple is a monument of archeological importance, the Department of Tourism and Department of Archeology are also concerned about the conservation effort. Considering that the high concentration of fish is one of the major attractions for the devotees visiting the temple the Tourism Department is interested in retaining this traditional practice. The devotees feed Bhog (temple offerings) to these fishes, considered as an act of virtue. The best season for sighting “Kodo” fishes is from winter, (after “Kartik Pornima”) to the starting of monsoon, when the water is clear and quiet slow.

In addition to the Mahashir fish this area is also harboring some rare species like Indian Otter. The local people especially fisherman community is closely associated with otter, since otter help them to catch fish. Therefore it is important to find out status of otter in this area.


However observation of local people especially fishermen prevails that, the population of “Kado” fish is declining. Therefore the question is, despite these protection efforts how population of this species is declining? According to them the main reason for fish population decline is over fishing in upstream and downstream area where these fishes move. In Humma there isn’t any demarcation zone for protection, generally the fishermen in this village avoid catching Mahashir, while the fishes in the part of the river in front of temple are considered as sacred.

The state government is also interested to declare this area as “Sanctuary” for Mahashir, the Deputy Director of fisheries had shown interest in it, and however the role of key actors, the local fishermen community in this system is not sketched out. The state Government is also interested to develop this place as potential tourist spot; the proposal for development of Tourist Park is already sanctioned, while people of Huma are waiting for foundation of this project.


For more details contact:

Smita Ranjane
Plot no. 15
Shaheed Nagar

Jijnyasu Panda
MASS, Sambalpur
Gangadhar Meher College,