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Pilgrimage in India »» Hindu Pilgrim Centers»

Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India

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Location: Orissa, India.
Best time to Visit: Throughout the year but the ideal time, especially for visitors from colder climes, would be from October to March.
Significance: Rajarani Temple, Mukteswar Temple, Lingaraj Temple, Khandagiri & Udaygiri caves.

Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of Orissan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years.

Temples of Bhubneshwar

Most of the temples are located near the Bindu-sarovara Tank, about 2km south of the city center. They are all situated within a 3km (2 mile) area of one another. Lingaraja Temple and Vital Duel temple are located west of the tank.

Parasurameswar and Mukteswara temples are east of the tank. The Rajrani Temple and Brahmeswara temple are a ten to fifteen-minute walk east of the Mukteswara Temple.

The important Temples in Bhubaneswar are:

Lingaraja Temple

Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, is dedicated to Harihar or 'Half Shiva and Half Vishnu', is the typical representation of the Orissan temple architecture. The deity enshrined in temple is also known as "Tirubhuvaneshwar", which means "Lord of the Three Worlds". Though the parts of this temple are more than 1400 years old, the temple was built from 1090 AD to 1104 AD. Among the original structure are the mandap and garbhagriha while the natmandir and bhogmandir are the later addition. The outer walls of the temple are profusely sculpted with of birds, animals, floral motifs, human figures in erotic postures and gods and goddesses. The lingam in the sanctum made of un-carved granite without any embellishment.

Rajarani TempleRajarani Temple

The Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Lord Brahma, was built in the 11th century AD. It no longer has the presiding deity and thus is longer used for worship. The temple is noteworthy for the 59 ft high tower as well as exceptional sculptural art depicting floral patterns, gajasimha and erotic postures of nayikas, nymphs and mithuna couple. The temple derived its name from the local red-gold colored stone called Rajraniya, which was used to construct the temple.

Vaital Deul Temple

Vaital Deul Temple in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Goddess Parvati-Chamunda, is located near the Bindusagar Tank. Build during 8th century AD. The sanctum sanctorum is enshrined with the idol of Goddess, ornamented with skull garland on her neck, holding various weapons in her arms a jackal and an owl on her side, is seated on top of a dead body. The recesses on the inner wall illustrate scenes of tantric rites. It is believed that it is the first temple to depict non-religious sculptural themes on the walls of the temple. The most conspicuous thing, which is also unique about this temple, is that the interiors are decorated while the external walls are simple.

Mukteswar TempleMukteswar Temple

The Mukteswar Temple in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was built somewhere around the 10th century AD. The temple is deftly bedecked with the fables from Panchatantra. The slots on the outer wall of the complex illustrate the Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu deities. The temple has an impressive tower as well as the ornamental torana or the gateway with two female figures.

Parasurameswar TempleParasurameswar Temple

Parasurameswar Temple in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the oldest Shiva temples in the State. Built in 650 AD, the temple also has the idols of the Vishnu, Yama, Surya and Mother Goddess. Profusely carved temple has the friezes depicted with delicate carvings of elephant and horse processions, human figure, floral motifs and the bust of Shiva. The Shahastra lingam or the 1000 small lingams joined together at the corner of the courtyard can be seen.

Brahmeswar Temple

Brahmeswar Temple in Bhubaneswar has skillfully engraved rekha deul and jagmohan. It is the first temple to portray musicians and dancers on the outer wall of the temple. Use of iron beams in the temple is also used for the first time. Images of Chamunda, Shiva and several other deities are depicted in the western part of the temple. The temple is a living monument with a deity, which is worshipped and depicted through the saffron banner flying from the top of the temple.

Around Bhubaneswar

Khandagiri and Udaygiri

The twin hills of Kumargiri and Kumarigiri known as Khandagiri and Udaygiri contain varieties of rock-cut caves, built mainly for the jain monks around 1st - 2nd century B.C.#The thirteen years lithic record of King Kharavela engraved in Hatigumpha (elephant cave) is a magnificent specimen of Pali records so far found in India.

Fairs & Festivals of Bhubneshwar

Bhubaneswar plays host to major exhibitions on books, arts, culture, trade etc. These fairs are generally held in the summer and December.

On the day of Ashokashtami in the month of March, the image of Lingaraja (Lord Shiva) and other deities are taken in a procession from Lingaraja Temple to the Rameshwara Temple.

At the end of January comes Adivasi Mela, a fair that displays the art, artifacts, tradition, culture, and music of the tribal folks of Orissa.

Raja Sankranti is celebrated with a lot of gaiety, markets are stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables which are consumed on Raja, exorbitant prices are charged.

Durga Puja is also an important festival. Various pandals are constructed throughout the city. The largest pujas are:
• Shahid Nagar Durga Puja
• Nayapalli Durga Puja
• Rasulgarh Durga Puja
Kali Puja is another important festival, it coincides with Diwali. The largest puja is organised in the Satya Kali Mandir of Satya Nagar, a fair is also organized there which runs for more than a week.

How to Reach Bhubaneswar

Air : The nearest airport is Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar. An international airport at Bhubaneswar is expected by 2010.

Rail : Bhubaneswar is directly connected by rail with Kolkata, Puri, Chennai, Delhi, Haridwar, Mumbai, Bangalore, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Tirupati, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ranchi, Patna and Trivandrum.

Road: Interstate bus services operate daily between Kolkata and Puri via Bhubaneswar and Tatanagar (Jamshedpur).

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