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Must-visit places of worship to stop by in Bhubaneshwar – the ‘City of Temples’

Must-visit places of worship to stop by in Bhubaneshwar – the ‘City of Temples’

Must-visit places of worship to stop by in Bhubaneshwar – the ‘City of Temples’
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By Sanhita Baruah  Oct 31, 2022 3:24:45 PM IST (Updated)

The city of Bhubaneshwar in the Indian state of Orissa is often referred to as the "City of Temples." Bhubaneshwar was the historical capital of Kalinga, and it was once home to around 7,000 temples. Most of these temples are now ruins. Bhubaneshwar is home to many fantastic sights, some of which are as follows:

Bhubaneshwar is renowned for its wonderfully carved temples, which stand as a remarkable testament to the intriguing inventiveness of human people. The city of Bhubaneshwar in the Indian state of Orissa is often referred to as the "City of Temples." Bhubaneshwar was the historical capital of Kalinga, and it was once home to around 7,000 temples. Most of these temples are now ruins. Bhubaneshwar is home to many fantastic sights, some of which are as follows:

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Temple of Lingaraja
Harihar, also known as Half Vishnu and Half Shiva, is worshipped in Bhubaneshwar's Lingaraja Temple, a significant and one-of-a-kind temple. The god Tirubhuvaneshwar, whose name means "Lord of the Three Worlds," is housed in the temple's holiest of holies. Between the years 1090 and 1140, the temple was constructed. The temple's subsequent additions include those seen above. Intricate carvings of winged creatures, human and divine beings, and otherworldly creatures adorn the temple's front.
Temple of Lingaraja (Image: Shutterstock)
Swayambhu is a term used to describe Lingaraj (self-originated Shivling). The temple is also significant because it represents the blending of the Shaivist and Vaishnavist traditions in Odisha. Shivs are called Hari Hara, after the sound they make. Perhaps the developing Lord Jagannath worship, which corresponded with the Lingaraja Temple's construction, had an influence.
The Holy Shrines of Rajarani
Rajarani temple, located in a lovely area, is a harmonious expression of careful design, symmetrical shape, and superb workmanship. That it is considered a pinnacle of Odisha Temple Design is not surprising. Historians believe it was a shrine to Shiva that went by the name Indresvara. The Rajarani Temple was constructed in the eleventh century and is devoted to the Hindu god Brahma. The temple's 59-foot tower and elaborate sculptures are its most striking features. In several of the sculptures, Nayikas, Nymphs, and Mithuna couples are shown in amorous positions. The temple was constructed with a reddish-gold stone known as Rajraniya, thus the name.
Holy Shrines of Rajarani (Image: Shutterstock)
The Somavamsi people originated in Central India and migrated to Odisha, explaining why the temple's design is reminiscent of Khajuraho's Kandariya Mahadev Temple. The Jaganmohan (entry hall) has no sculptures like those in the sanctum sanctorum (it is thought that the temple couldn't be finished for some reason). The contrast makes the temple all the more stunning.
The Temple of Vaital Deul
The Vaital Delhi Temple has been around since the eighth century. Dedicated to Parvati, the goddess, the temple has an idol of the deity draped in a garland of skulls and brandishing weapons. The temple's outside is unremarkable, but the inside is stunningly ornamented.
Temple of Vaital Deul (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
In contrast to the elaborate sculptural decoration seen on every other surviving Odia temple tower, this one has a rather simple outside surface for the vault. The Jagmohan of the Vaital Mandir has been designed to evoke the form of the more typical Temple, and this is done by carefully inserting a smaller version of the more familiar Temple form at each of the four corners (porch). Even a cursory inspection of the Vaital Temple's sculptures reveals a high level of artistic mastery. The 10-armed Nataraja, also known as Shiva the Dancer, is encased in the medallion of the top Chaitya window. Situated in front of the Jaganmohan's flat roof is a stone pillar with two Buddha-like figures sitting in dharma-chakra-pravartana mudra.
Temple of Mukteshwar
The temple was dedicated to the god Shiva and was built somewhere in the 10th century. Both the magnificent entryway and the temple's tower are impressive. If the Parasumreswar temple is the birthplace of Odisha's temple building, then the Mukteswar temple is in its mature form.
Temple of Mukteshwar (Image: Shutterstock)
The closeness of the two temples is ironic, since this may be the unique opportunity in history to compare the very different architectural styles of two separate human cultures. While the Parasurameswar temple's sculptures are sparse on embellishments, the Mukteswar temples are bursting with elaborate details.
Temple of Brahmeshwar
It is a beautiful temple with four corner shrines, two walls of the enclosure, and a central tank. Its construction may be traced back to the 11th century.
Temple of Brahmeshwar (Image: Shutterstock)
Bhubaneswar is home to a plethora of elaborate temples, but the Brahmeswara Temple is especially significant to the city's history. This masterpiece from the 9th century incorporates elements of traditional Odisha architecture, such as the Rekha Deul or Sikhara (tower), and the Jagmohan (horizontal) construction (Assembly Hall). Jagmohan and lion-headed figures carved within the temple have a remarkable similarity to those seen in Mukteswar Temple.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri
Six kilometres to the south of Bhubaneshwar, the twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri are home to some of the world's most impressive rock-cut cave architecture. Located near Udayagiri, the Hathi Gumpha (also known as the Elephant Cave) is a must-see attraction. The caverns, which are barely 7 kilometres from Bhubaneswar, provide a glimpse into the past and are likely the sole source of information on a period of history that is still a mystery. Ruler Kharavela of the infamous Meghavahana dynasty, commonly regarded as the greatest king in the historical records of Odisha, commissioned the construction of these rock-cut caverns about the second century BC. They were first found by a young officer named Andrew Sterling.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri (Image: Shutterstock)
The Jain monks had a place to live and meditate in the caves carved out of the Kumari mountains. Of the original 117 caverns, only 33 are still in use today. Udaygiri hill has eighteen caverns, whereas Khandagiri hill has fifteen.
A Trip to Bhubaneshwar's Markets
Bhubaneshwar Market (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Bhubaneshwar's bazaars are lined with stores selling a wide variety of woven textiles and handicrafts, including murals, silk saris, copper god and goddess idols, fruit baskets, silver jewellery, bowls, pitchers, glasses, lamp shades, and much more.
Instructions for Getting in Touch
By Air
Bhubaneshwar is linked to several major Indian cities through its domestic airport, including Delhi, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai, Kolkata, Varanasi, and Nagpur.
Via Rail
Almost every important city in India is reachable by rail from Bhubaneshwar.
Via Road
Bhubaneshwar is linked to almost the whole country via national roads.
Accommodation
Bhubaneshwar, the state capital of Orissa, is home to a wide variety of accommodation options. Bhubaneshwar is home to a wide range of hotel choices, from the most luxurious to the most budget-friendly.
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