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The Temple City: Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Known as the temple city across the globe,Bhubaneshwar has a history dating back to 1-2 BC when the Jain and Buddhist shrines came up marking the settlements in and around the city. The famous Kalinga war took place during 236-272 BC near Dhauli, on the outskirts of the modern city and on the banks of river Daya, which transformed Magadha King Ashoka from a vicious ruler into a benign emperor.

Also known for the rich monuments and Buddhist shrines which have been established during the ancient and medieval time, where the architectural glory is manifested. However Bhubaneswar came into prominence as it became the capital of the modern Odisha and was inaugurated on 13 April 1948.

The Mukteswara Temple is another temple in this great city which is a must-visit. Said to mean “Lord who gives freedom through Yoga,\" the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Every inch of this 35 feet tall monument is carved, with several figures of ascetics frozen in several poses of meditation. The decorative gateway, called ‘torana’ greets you as you enter what is often called the ‘Gem of Orissa Architecture.’ The torana is a product of Buddhist influence in Orissa and is said to be an ‘arched masterpiece.’

People say that this sculpture is the embodiment of sculpture and architecture.

To title of the oldest and largest temple however in the region goes to the auspicious Lingaraj temple. Over 55 meters in height, the temple dominates the skyline of Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.

You will enter the temple complex through the ‘Sinha Dwara’ or the Lion’s Gate. If you look to your both sides here, you will see a sculptures of lions crushing elephants under their feet! A curious trick of architecture employed in the temple creates an optical effect which makes the temple looks much larger than what actually it is.

On the main entrance, one can see a trident of Lord Shiva and Chakra of Lord Vishnu on the either side of the door.

The temple is divided into four parts. These are the Garbh Griha, the Yajna Shala, the Bhoga Mandap and the Natya Shala respectively. In the Garbh Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum), the lingam of Lord Shiva is regarded as 'Swayambhu' (self-originated). Here, the lingam is worshipped both as both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The massive image of the ‘Linga’ in the temple is said to be made of granite and is bathed with water and milk everyday as per the customs.

There are many more temples to see here. No wonder the city is called the Temple City!

German architect Otto Konigsberger gave his architectural inputs in planning the temple city while making provisions for a well planned city with wide roads, open spaces, parks among other civic infrastructural amenities. While the city over the years has been transformed into an educational, information technology (IT) and tourism hub, it is among few fast developing cities across the country. The World Bank ranked Bhubaneswar third in terms of doing business among all the Indian cities.

The climate and the ambience of the city has always been an attracted tourists. Bhubaneswar, known for its secular credentials, offers a temperate climate throughout the year and is most known for its tranquility and hospitality. The serene beauty and cleanliness have captured the hearts of many tourists.

The city, although modern in several ways, still it carries its legacy of conservative Odishan style through its cuisine, art and craft, festivals and rituals. Lingaraj temple built in 11th century AD is the sitting place of the presiding deity Harihara, a form of Lord Shiva.

Khandagiri and Udayagir caves, portraying Jainism and Dhauli monument depicting Buddhist cultures are the most sought after places of the tourists. Even few Hindi movies including Ashoka: The Great have been shot in these locations.

If you are someone who is more attuned to nature and wildlife, Bhubaneshwar has that for you too. The Nandankanan Zoo, called the ‘Garden of God,’ is the only zoo which houses the Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas), Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximus) and Open-billed Stork (Anastomus oscitans). What’s more, it is the also a major host zoo for the ethereal white tigers, one’s you have to see to believe. With both cages and open moat enclosures, the zoo ensures that you see wildlife in its natural best.

Big shopping malls, number of high rises, posh hotels, premier educational institutions including the IITs, NISER, AIIMS, XIMB, IT companies like Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra and WIPRO, have already set up here over the last decade. A large number of students, majority from north-east part of the country, choose Bhubaneswar for their higher technical studies due to affordability and quality concerns.

So what are you waiting for! Book your tickets for orissa and pack your baggage to witness beauty like never before and enjoy your stay in the capital city of Odisha. We are sure the inscriptions on the rock cut sculptures by King Ashoka to follow Dharma and march ahead in life while spreading peace will also appeal to you in the ancient caves.

How to reach Bhubaneswar:
By Air: Airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport based of Bhubaneswar and well connected to all the major cities of the country.

By Rail: Very well connected from all parts of the country, Bhubaneswar has the Railway station right in the centre of the town.

 
 

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