According to the legends, a sage named Tapasa Russi worshiped Bhadrakali inside a cave in the Meghasana hill of Mayurbhanja district. After the death of the sage, one of his pupil namely Bhadranatha brought the goddess to Bhunyamahalla of Bhadrak. The Bhunya community brought a priest community called the Dixits from Jajpur to perform regular seva-puja & niti (daily worshiping and care taking). The Dixit community is believed to be originally from north Indian region of Kanyakubuja.
To protect the goddess from the wrath of the Muslim invader Kalapahada the Bhunyas and the Dixits brought the goddess to the present place Aharapada on the bank of the river Salandi. The last Independent King of Orissa Gajapati Mukunda Dev established the statu of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra at Bhadrakali pitha.
The statue of the Goddess is made up of black granite and is seated in lotus posture on a lion. The temple remains open for visitors and devotees everyday from 6.30 am to 1pm and again from 3pm to 9.30 pm.
As per the categorization of the goddess one tends to believe that it is the goddess Kali who is worshiped in the Bhadrakali Pitha. However, since the deity is seated on a lion, one school of thought has opined that the goddess can be no other than the goddess Durga.