The 'Temple City of India', Bhubaneshwar is said to be the seat of Tribhubaneswar or Lord Shiva who are said to reside there in the form of Lord Lingaraj. It is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre and one can find temples sprouting in every nook and corner of the city. It is said that during the temple building frenzy, there were more than 2000 Orissan style temples in the Old Town that evolved to a full-fledged art over a period of over 1000 years. The new city has buildings with modern look and extensive infrastructure.
The best known temples in the city are those of 6th century temples dedicated to brothers of Lord Rama known as Laxmaneswar, Satrughaneswar and Bharateswar, 7th century tamples of Parsurameswar and Swarnajaleswar, 8th century temple of Vaital, 10th century temple of Mukteswar, 11th century temples of Brahmeswar, Rajarani and Lingaraj and 13th century temple of Ananta Vasudeva. Bhubaneshwar is also the Capital of Orissa. Its other highlights are BDA Nicco Park, Ekamra Kanan, the biggest Rose Garden of Asia, Orissa state Museum, Pathani Samanta Planetarium and the Tribal Museum & Handicrafts House.
Bhubaneshwar's Prime Attractions
Parashurameshwara Temple: This mid-7th century temple is the earliest temple structure of Bhubaneshwar, which is preserved almost intact. The Parasurameswara temple conforms to the temple architectural style of its time and has only eight planets over the door to the inner sanctum instead of nine that appear in the later temples. It was repaired in 1903, when a little modification was done in the roof. It is a small temple that shows the early stages of evolution of the Orissan temple architecture such as the beehive-shaped tower or 'deul' and the porch in front of the tower called 'Jagamohan'. The tower has inward-tapering stories and lotiform corner pieces.
Vaital Deul: While the Parasurameswara and Mukteswara temples represent major Kalinga style of Orissan temple architecture, Vaital Deul built in 800 AD belongs to the the Khakhara order, a subdivision of the Kalinga school used for shrines devoted to tantricism. The unique 'deul' of the temple is rectangular in shape and is positioned at a right angle to the 'Jagmohana'. The horseshoe-shape of the chaitya arch and an absolutely plain outer surface of the roof vault characterize this temple. The more common 'deul' form is inserted in miniature form, on the four corners of the Vaital Deul's porch, lending the temple an exceptionally proficient style of sculptural beautification.
Mukteshwar Temple: Mukteswar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built in 950 AD and has awesome carvings showing ascetics in several poses of meditation. The magnificent 'torana' or the ornamented arched gateway of the temple is its highlight and is reminiscent of Buddhist influence on Orissa style of architecture.
Rajarani Temple: Famous for its richly ornamented 'deul, the 11th century Rajarani temple is built in impressive Oriya temple architectural style. There is no presiding deity of the temple and it is named after the red-gold sandstone used in building it. The 'deul' sports figures engaged in daily chores. There are statues of eight 'Dipalakas' guarding the eight cardinal directions of the temple at the base of the 'deul' and the gaps between them are filled with nymphs, embracing couples, elephants and lions. The temple looks quite picturesque and dramatic as the sun sets.
Brahmeswara Temple: Built in 1050 AD, Brahmeswara Temple is situated in a middle of a courtyard bordered by four smaller temples.
Lingaraja Temple: The 10th or 11th century, Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar is a rare masterpiece. According to Ferguson, the noted historian, it is the finest and purest form of Hindu temple in India and has intricate and elaborate carvings adoring every inch of the temple. This temple is 55 m high. The harmonious sculptural and architectural beauty of the temple is quite imposing. Hindus consider that devotees visiting Jagannath temple at Puri must first offer worship at this temple.
Orissa State Museum: This museum has a rich collection of the evolution of sculpture in Orissa, stone inscriptions, archeological findings, stone and bronze-age tools, rare copper plates, palm-leaf manuscripts, paintings, anthropological specimens and musical instruments of the region.
Handicrafts Museum: Here, you can see the folk paintings, horn toys, brass castings, and sculptures made by the tribals and the local natives of the region.
Tribal Museum: Orissa has a number of native tribes and this museum offers you the rare opportunity of viewing the various aspects of their life and culture such as the type of houses in which they live, their costumes and jewellery, how they make their living, their dances, musical instruments and songs and their handicrafts.
Bhubaneshwar City Facts
Location: Situated in Orissa, India.
Climate: At 45m above sea level, Bhubaneshwar has mild cool summers but hot summers.
How to Reach:
By Air: Bhubaneshwar has domestic flights to and from Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur, Raipur, Varanasi and Visakhapatnam.
By Train: It is well linked by trains to Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Madras, Puri, Tirupati and Trivandrum.
By Road: National Highway No. 5 connects Bhubaneshwar to Kolkata and Madras along with other major cities.