(Last Updated on : 20/07/2013)
The monuments of Orissa are major tourist attractions and these were constructed between 7th century and 13th century AD. The major architectures of these monuments flourished under the regime of Ganga dynasty which were beautifully crafted. Even today these monuments of Orissa reflect the splendid beauty and artistic excellence. Each and every monument of Orissa has its own history and tradition.
Most of the monuments existing in Orissa are huge temple compounds devoted to a particular deity. These were constructed in a typical style of Orissa i.e. these temples have a "rekha deul" or rounded spire located on a square base and a "garbagriha". These spires are designed and decorated wonderfully by intricate sculptures.
Basically the religious monuments of Orissa had separate square shaped terraces for devotees. These are known as 'Jagamohana'. The major features of the temple of Orissa are lion gates, carvings on the temple walls and the pyramidal roof of jagamohana. In the period of the Ganga dynasty, several other monuments were also constructed in Orissa that reflected the principles of the Kalinga School of architecture. Many monuments of Orissa originated from the Tantric influence, Jain influence and Buddhist influence. Thus a variety of architectural styles are visible in this East Indian state.
Some of the important monuments of Orissa are:
Puri Jagannath Temple
: This is one of the most sacred temples among the Hindus and a famous tourist destination in India. It was constructed by the king Chodagangadeva of Ganga dynasty in the twelfth century. It is 214 feet long with a huge compound surrounded by a 20 foot wall. Inside the temple, Lord Jagannath, his brother Balbhadra and sister Subhadra present as the central temple deity. The magnificent tower, its wonderful architecture and the fascinating charming form of the images makes the Jagannath temple unique in the world.
: One of the major monuments of Orissa is the Sun Temple at Konark. It was constructed in the thirteenth century by the King Narasimhadeva. The structure of the temple was planned in the shape of a chariot carrying God Sun or Surya. It is an amazing construction in a typical Orissan architectural style and hence, it is a prominent tourist destination.
: Lingaraja Temple is a popular tourist spot in Orissa. It was constructed in the eleventh century at Bhubaneswar. The temple structure comprises the 'natamandira' and 'bhoga mandapa' along with its porch and a huge deul of height180 feet. Inside the temple there are 150 shrines along with the Lingaraja complex.
: Dhauli is famous for its small rock cut caves during Ashokan period in 260 BC. Peace Pagoda or Shanti Stupa, Saddharma Vihar, a Buddhist monastery of 19th century, and several temples of early medieval period are to be found here.
: The largest Buddhist monument is present at Udaygiri in Jajpur district in Orissa. It is a brick stupa with a number of Buddhist sculptures, stepped stone well and two other brick monasteries flourished between 7th and 12th centuries AD. This Buddhist monument consists of attractive Bodhisattva and Dhyani Buddha figures.
: One of the famous Jain monuments of Orissa are the rock cut caves of Khandagiri, present 7km west of Bhubaneswar city. The 15 caves of Khandagiri were carved and tunneled into multi storied residence for Jain monks. These caves were constructed under the King Kharavela, the first ruler of Orissa, in the first century BC.
Apart from these monuments, Orissa has numerous remains of monuments at other locations also. They are 64 Yogini Shrine, Mukhteswara temple, Barabati Fort and Lalitgiri. These monuments had a rich history dating back to 2000 BC which represent Orissa as a melting pot of many cultures in its ancient period.