(Last Updated on : 04/06/2014)
Temples in Bhubaneshwar are amongst the oldest in India and are about six hundred in number in the city. The biggest and the finest among the Bhubaneshwar temples is the Lingaraja Temple. It is for this reason that Bhubaneshwar is also known as the temple city of India. The city bears the historical hub of several things. It is situated in the western coastal regions of India. Bhubaneshwar once the capital of ancient Kalinga and now it is the capital of the state of Orissa. It became Orissa's capital in the year 1948, a year after India's independence. The history of this city dates back to more than 2000 years. Bhubaneshwar, as meant literally, 'Lord of the Universe' and also called as the 'Cathedral of the east'. Presently, the city is under the process of tremendous development as IT Hub in India while it has also suitably preserved its historical monuments and temples.
has a number of ancient monuments and temples which attract large number of tourists from different parts of India and various other parts of the world. Bhubaneshwar forms a vital part of the Golden Triangle formed between the Jagannath temple of Puri
and the Sun temple of Konark. The Lingaraja temple
, dedicated to the Lord Shiva
, is also a major landmark in the history of India
. The Lingaraja temple was constructed in the 11th century. In addition, the famous duo, Dhauligiri and Khandagiri located in the periphery of the city contributes to its beauty. These are renowned for carrying a number of monuments of the Jain monks. Shantistupa is another historical monument which was erected by Ashoka
the Great. It is a symbol of peace.
Another notable temple in the city of Bhubaneshwar is the Mukteswara temple
. It is also called the 'Gem of Orissa Architecture', situated in the Cathedral city of Orissa
, i.e. Bhubaneshwar. This temple belongs to the 10th century and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Mukteshwara temple is famous for its magnificent work in Kalingan style of architecture with a mixture of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain features. The temple is also well-known since it was constructed during the phase of transition of early and late school of architecture of Kalinga. The architecture of the temple is innovative with regard to its time as the old and new designs are delicately mixed up to provide a beautiful shape. The temple presents a magnificent gateway or 'torana' which is very brilliantly designed with sculptures, monkeys, female figurines, peacocks, etc.
There are various shrines situated in the compound of the Mukteshwara temple with a lingam inside. A sacred tank is there to the east of the temple compound and to the south-west there is a well, which is said to heal fertility problems. Different ascetics' figures in meditative pose are also engraved on the walls of the temple. A large number of structures constructed in Orissa style are there in and around the city of Bhubaneshwar. From the 8th to the 13th century, 7000 or more temples were constructed of sandstone and thus there was a development in the good quality stone construction technology. Stone were cut so preciously that the joints between two stones cannot be seen. In place of mortar, iron clamps were used to attach one stone with the other and thus towers were raised up to heights of about fifty meters. A striking character of the architecture of Bhubaneshwar
as well as Orissa is the detailed carving and the sculptures of deities. The architecture of Orissa renews an individual's likeness towards classical Indian architecture
The glorious heritage of Bhubaneshwar makes the city a real wonder for the visitors to explore. Lists of places are there both inside and around the city which can be visited while on a tour of Bhubaneshwar. Apart from the Lingaraja Temple and Mukteshwara temple, there are various other temples including the Rajarani temple
, Brahmeshwara where one can get to witness the ancient Indian history engraved.
Located in the middle of well maintained gardens, the Rajarani temple belongs to the 11th century. It is known for its stone figures and the successive tiers of projections which arise to make the 18 meter tower. The miniature replicas decorate the spire, which are similar to those in the Khajuraho temples
. The temple possesses a square sanctuary and the exterior as well as the interior surfaces are so adjourned that it looks circular. The ornamental duel positioned diagonal to the critically plain Jagamohana. The major highlight of this temple is the beautiful sculptures of dikpalas or guardians of the eight directions engraved around the shrine. Decorated in diaphanous drapery, these dikpalas stand on lotuses, having their mounts beneath.
From the eastern portion, one can see Indra, the lord of the East, with a thunderbolt in his hand and an elephant goad, and the elephant below; the beared and potbellied Lord Agni
, god of fire, with the ram, Lord Yama
with a noose and a staff, his vehicle as a buffalo, Nirriti, the god of misery, bearing a sword above a prostrate figure and a severed head, Lord Varuna
, having a noose in his left hand, and his vehicle as makara or the crocodile, Vayu, with a banner and having deer
as his vehicle, Kubera
is placed at the top of seven jars of gems, and possesses a horse and Isana is displayed with an upright phallus alongside an emaciated figure. From among these, Varuna and Agni are largely impressive.
The Rajarani temple in Bhubaneshwar is also known for the slender and tall nayikas or temple figures which are carved on the walls. The different poses including looking into the mirror, folding her child, taking off her anklet, playing instrument, caressing the bird, holding branches of trees, etc.
Besides the temples Bhubaneshwar also house several contemporary monuments. Thus this city in Orissa offers a homogeneous mixture of its modern day aspirations and the intriguing past.