|Bhubaneswar is the capital of Orissa and is said to once have had 7,000 temples. Now only a few hundred ancient temples remain. 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 and Vital Duel temples are located west of the tank. Parasurameswar and Mukteswara temples are east of the tank.|
Lingaraja Temple (11th century)
Tradition says that one should first visit this temple before going to Puri. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came here before going to Puri.
Non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the temple; and this rule is strictly enforced. There is a 6m (20 ft) high viewing platform along the northern wall of the temple, and from this vantage point you can get a good view of the temple compound.
|The presiding deity is the svayambhu linga, Hari-Hara Linga, which is half-Siva and half-Vishnu. He is also named Tribhuvaneswara, the "Lord of the three worlds." The linga of Lingaraja is an uncarved block of granite 2.5m (8 ft) in diameter raised 20cm (8 inches) above the ground. The Siva linga is bathed daily with water, milk, and bhang. There is a four-day chariot festival every March-April when Lingaraja is drawn on his chariot to the Rameswara Temple. There are also many other deities residing in this temple. In the northeast corner there is Parvati.|
Just nearby the Lingaraja Temple is Bindu-sarovara Tank. It is said that Lord Siva established this tank as a place of pilgrimage by bringing water from all the holy places. Taking bath here and drinking the water of this lake is said to cure stomach diseases. It is located immediately next to the Lingaraja Temple. A pilgrimage to Bhubaneswar should be begun by bathing at this spot. The Lingaraja deity is brought to the pavilion in the middle of the tank and ritually bathed during the annual Car Festival (Ashokastami). The best time to visit is around sunrise. Sri Chaitanya took bath in this lake when he first came from Bengal to Puri.
|On the eastern bank is the Ananta Vasudeva Temple, dedicated to Krishna and Balarama.|
|Clay pots for cooking.|
|Entrance to the sanctum.|
Built in the late 10th century, this small, elegant temple has been described as the most exquisitely ornamented temple in Bhubaneswar. Mukteswara means "the Lord who bestows freedom through yoga."
It has an 11m (35 ft) high tower. The sandstone carvings are this temple's most notable feature. It is known for its decorative gateway, carved dwarves around the windows, and intricate motif carvings of a smiling lion with beaded tassels in its mouth. On the gate in front of the main entrance is a decorative gateway (torana) complete with two reclining female figures.
The small Marichi Kund, between the Mukteswara Temple and the road, is known to cure infertility in women. It is a pleasant place to sit for awhile.
|As there is active worship in many of the temples, it is best to dress conservatively. If a temple priest shows you around a temple (with your consent), it is appropriate to give a donation (approximately Rs 25). If you look rich, they will ask for more (the sky is the limit).|
This temple is the oldest Siva temple in Bhubaneswar (built in the late 7th century).
|Siva-lingam worshipped in the temple.|
|It is full of intricate carvings and is the best preserved and most impressive of the city's early temples. It has carvings of elephant and horse processions and all the windows are carved. On the east wall of the tower there is an interesting carving of the marriage of Siva and Parvati.|
|In the corner of the courtyard is the Sahasra-linga, 1,000 small lingas joined together. This temple is close to the Bhubaneswar-Puri road, on the east side of Bindu-sarovara, northeast of the Lingaraja temple.|
|There are also panels depicting Lakulisha, a Shaivite, who helped revitalize Hinduism in Orissa in the 5th century. He is seen on the west wall of the tower meditating under the sculptures of Nataraj (dancing Siva), and on the east wall with disciples at his feet.|
|Ramayana stories are still popular in India.|
Samdhi of Gaura Govinda Swami
English texts, selection of images, design:
Most texts are based on the information from Jada Bharata's book Holy Places of India,
which contains many additional information useful for travelers.
Optimization of the images:
Photographs from their travels:
Radha-raman das and Pavan-suta das