City of Temples : Bhubaneshwar

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Bhubaneshwar or better known as the City of Temples, is blessed with over 700 stunning pieces of sculpture, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. Bhubaneshwar has something to offer to everyone, be it spirituality or architectural beauty. Visit the capital of Odisha(Orissa) and marvel at the magnetism and brilliance of ancient temples, some of which date back to the era of the Kalinga Empire.

Listed below are some of the temples that you just cannot afford to miss!

1. Lingaraj Temple
Built sometime during the 11th century, the Lingaraj Temple is the largest and the most popular temple in Bhubaneshar. Standing tall at 180 feet and exhibiting beautiful sculptures, this temple is simply majestic! The presiding deity is “Harihara”, a combination of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Apart from the mesmerizing main temple, there are about 64 other shrines within the vicinity. Being well connected by auto-rickshaw, the temple is open for visiting from 5:00am to 9:00pm all days of the week. No entry fee is taken.

2. Brahmeshwar Temple
The Brahmeshwar temple, built during 11th century, was in honor of the diety Brahmeshwar, who happens to be a form of Lord Shiva. The 60ft tall temple was among the first to showcase iron beams in construction. The architectural beauty is found in abundance. Splendid sculptures of dancers and musicians on the walls, the porch has a carved ceiling with lotus while the walls display motifs of lion head. Carvings of voluptuous damsels and erotic couples can also be found. The external part is filled with sculptures of gods, goddesses, animals, religious scenes and tantric-like images.

3. Mukteshwar Temple
Known as one of the smallest and most compact temples of Bhubaneshwar. It is well known for its ceiling which is adorned with eight-petal lotus in the porch and a magnificent stone archway. The meaning of Mukteshwar according to the vedas is ” Lord who gives freedom through Yoga”. Carved lion head motifs were the first to appear at this temple. Sculptures from Hindu mythology, Jain munis, different meditation poses and folk tales from Panchatantra can be seen here. The temple is famous for Mukteshwar Dance, which is held in January, every year.

4. Parasurameshwar Temple.
This temple, built sometime during the 7th century, is said to be the oldest one in Bhubaneshwar. You will be greeted with carvings of domestic elephants capturing will ones at the main entrance of Jagmohana. Being one of the oldest temples, it is a must visit!

5. Rajarani Temple
The Rajarani Temple is unique because it was constructed as a pleasure resort for an Oriya King and his queen. Built during the 10th century, there is no presiding deity here. The temple also got its name due to the unique selection of sandstone used for its construction. The Rajarani Music Festival, held in January, shouldn’t be missed!

Visit Spiritual Tour Packages section to know about temple tours of Orissa(Odisha)