Architectural Design of the Temples of Odisha
The temples of Odisha follow a common structural plan. A typical temple consists of apartments. The 'deul' corresponding to the southern 'vimana', is the cubical inner apartment which enshrines the image, and is surmounted by a tower. In front of this is the 'antarala' or porch called the 'jagamohan' which is usually square-shaped and has a pyramidal roof. Occasionally, one or two more 'mandapas', such as the 'natmandir' and the 'bhogmandir', were added in front of the jagamohan. The temple sculptures of Odisha are of two major categories namely, the decorative motifs and the cult image. Although the cult images in a temple are the largest in number, they require being restricted to the cult alone. These temples have illustrations of different religious episodes to create a religious atmosphere. Religious mixture is reflected through the images of 'Ardanarisvara' and 'Hari-Hara' (as at Gandharadi).
Temple Town of Orissa
Bhubaneshwar has the richest profusion of temples and is known as the temple town of Orissa. The striking concentration of temples in Bhubaneshwar is partly accounted for by the fact that the city was the seat of religion. The sacred lake of Bhubaneshwar was once encircled by 7,000 shrines, of which about 500 now survive in different stages of preservation.
Hindu Temples of Odisha
Odisha boasts of innumerable Hindu temples which are ornamental structures and serve as specimens of exquisite ancient architecture.
One of the prominent Hindu temples of Odisha is the Jagannath Temple. This temple is located on the eastern coast of India in Puri. It is dedicated to Lord Jagannath and is also known as a sacred Vaishnava temple. This temple was built in 1161 by Anantavarman Chodaganga and is a fine representation of Kalinga Hindu style of architecture. It is visited by thousand of pilgrims throughout the year.
The Lingaraja Temple is regarded as the largest temple and the most prominent landmark of Bhubaneshwar. It is also one of the major tourist attractions of Odisha. This temple is dedicated to Harihara, a form of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Shivaratri is the major festival celebrated in this temple.
Another major temple in Odisha is the Mukteshvara Temple. It is situated in Bhubaneshwar, the capital city of Odisha and is devoted to Lord Shiva. This temple is a fine representation of the Kalinga style of architecture. Mukteshvara Temple is as old as 950-975 CE.
Kedar Gauri Temple
Kedar Gauri Temple is one of the ancient temples of Bhubaneswar, situated behind the Mukteswar Temple. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva (Kedareswar) and Goddess Gouri (Kedar Gouri). The noteworthy aspects of this temple are the 8-feet statue of Hanuman and Goddess Durga standing on a lion.
Laxminarayan Temple is located at IMFA factory of Therubali in the district of Rayagada. The primary deity of this temple is known to be Lord Vishnu.
Some of the other Hindu Temples of Odisha are Chamundeshwari Temple, Svarnajaleswar Temple, Vaital Deula, Yameswar Temple, Bhaskareswar Temple, Sarankul Temple, Simhanath Temple and Biraja Temple.
Jain Temples of Odisha
Tourists will come across a bunch of beautiful Jain temples, which exist since ancient ages and are adorned with eye catching sculptural and architectural patterns.
Digambara Jaina Temple
Digambara Jaina Temple is located at a height of about 87 m on Khandagiri Hills in Bhubaneswar. It was built during the 12-13th century CE. This temple serves as a home to several images of Jain Tirthankaras. The managing body of this temple is the Bengal, Bihar and Odisha Digambara Jaina Tirthankara Committee. This temple is made up of sandstone following the construction technique of dry masonry.
Parsvanath Jain Temple -I
Parsvanath Jain Temple -I is another Jain temple situated in Khandagiri. It was constructed during the 20th century A.D and it faces the east. This temple is dedicated to Lord Parsvanath, who is represented as an idol made of marble.
Parsvanath Jain Temple-II
Parsvanath Jain Temple-II based near Digambar Jain Temple in Khandagiri and it is still utilized for worship. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Parsvanath.
Some other Jain religious structures located in Odisha are Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves, Digambara Jain Temple (Rourkela) and Jaugada Fortress.