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Information about Bhubaneshwar

Bhubaneshwar, the city of temples is the modern capital of Orissa. Bhubaneshwar literally means the Lord of the Universe. Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark form the Golden Triangle in Orissa. Bhubaneswar is known as a 20th century garden city and is alo known for its monuments and temples. The city presents a panorama of Orissan art and history from the 16th century A.D. till the third century B.C. Due to hundreds of temples, Bhubaneshwar can also be described as the Cathedral City of India. Bindu Sagar, the sacred lake in old Bhubaneswar, once claimed 7000 temples, but now only 500 survive in varied stages of preservation. The best time to visit Bhubaneshwar is throughout the year, except in the rainy season from June to September. Oriya, Hindi and English are the main languages which are spoken in Bhubaneshwar.

History of Bhubaneshwar

Bhubaneshwar was the capital of the Kalinga Empire. There are also several sites in the vicinity that testifies to the importance of the region far earlier than the 7th to 11th centuries when the Kalinga kings ruled Orissa and regions beyond. Both Jain and Buddhist shrines give clear evidence of important settlements around Bhubaneshwar in the 2nd century BC and one of the most complete edicts of the Ashoka, the Mauryan emperor belonging from 272-236 BC, remains carved in rock just 5 miles to the south-west of the modern city. The remains of a ruined city, Sisupalgarh have been excavated to show that it was occupied from the beginning of the 3rd century Bc to the middle of the 4th century AD. In 1948, the capital of Orissa was shifted from Cuttack to Bhubaneshwar.

Tourist Attractions in Bhubaneshwar

The main tourist attraction in Bhubaneshwar are the temples. In Bhubaneshwar, one can see such a wide range of temple architecture belonging to different eras – from those built in the 7th century to 11th century ones that marked the end of the temple building epoch in Indian history. Lingaraj Temple, Raja Rani Temple, Mukteshwar Temple, Vaital Temple and Parasurameshwara Temple are the main temples in Bhubaneshwar. Dhaului Edicts and Udaygiri Caves can also be visited in Bhubaneshwar.

Lingaraj Temple
The Lingaraj Temple is the largest and the most interesting temple in the city. This 11th century temple exhibits the temple art of several centuries. It is the finest representation of Kalinga art. The main deity in this temple is the Shiva but almost all Hindu gods are represented here. The Swayambhu linga is not strictly a Shiva linga, but a hari-hara linga, half-Shiva half-Vishnu. This temple is set in a huge walled-in compound with dozens of shrines. The Hindus can only visit the temple, but there is also an excellent vantage point from where others can see the entire temple. The Bindu Sagar Lake is located near the temple where it is believed that water from all the sacred rivers of India is gathered and it is considered as a very purifying experience to have a dip in the lake. The compound of the temple measures 520 by 465 feet. Its curvilinear tower (vimana) rises to a height of 127 feet. 

Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneshwar

The tower has been built without mortar and is hollow from inside and you can reach its top by an internal staircase below out of the 7-feet thick walls. The exterior side of the temple is profusely decorated with beautiful sculptures of gods and goddesses in various postures. Along the eastern side of the Lingaraj Temple, there are several small temples of a similar shape as the original Lingaraj Temple.

Raja Rani Temple, Bhubaneshwar

Raja Rani Temple
The Raja Rani Temple is one of the most delightful and harmoniously planned temple. This 11th century temple stands alone in the green rice fields. The Rajarani Temple takes its name from the red and gold sandstone called rajarani that looks stunning with miniature temple spires clasping the main tower. Its decorations are beautiful and enchanting and consists of the naked, smiling nymphs, the embracing couples, etc. The temple is known for the exquisite carvings of the feminine form. It is also believed that some pleasure-loving king of Orissa might have built this temple as his pleasure retreat than as a prayer hall.

Mukteshwar Temple 
The 10th century Mukteshwar Temple is an important transition point between the early and later phases of the Kalinga school of temple architecture. Many elements of the older order have been blended with new designs and conceptions. Various innovations made here became essential features of all the other temples. The temple is richly sculpted and offers pride of place to tales from the Panchatantra. The niches on the outer face of the compound wall include Buddhist, Jain and Hindu images, pointing to the synthesis which was a part of Orissan religious life. The temple gateway is an arched masterpiece and is excellently decorated with beautiful sculptures, elaborate scrolls and graceful female figures.

Behind the Mukteshwar Temple stands Kedareshwar where ground plan is circular. It has a 8-feet statue of Hanuman and goddess Durga standing on a lion. The Sidheshwar Temple situated northwest of Mukteswar is not very different. It has the traditional five parts.

Vaital Temple, Bhubaneshwar

Vaital Temple
The Vaital Temple represents the Khakhora order of the Kalinga style of temple architecture, devoted to tantric cults. The elements from certain sects of Hinduism and Buddhism have been combined with the female life force, Shakti. The first erotic sculptures of Orissan art were found here. In course of time, temple builders considered these images as an integral part of temple decoration and adapted them to their skills and techniques. The eight-armed Chamuda (Kali) which represents Shakti is the main deity of this temple. The elaborate sculptural decorations with the sinister sculptural manifestation of Devi has become its identifying feature. The temple deity of Chamunda is seated on a corpse and portrayed with a garland of skulls around her neck, flanked by an owl and a jackal. Her emaciated body, sunken eyes, and shrunken belly is quite a good sight.

Udaygiri is situated 7 kms. west of Bhubaneshwar, where caves cut from rocks seem to form a honeycomb. Udaigiri is considered as one of the most important Buddhist complex in Orissa. The archaeological remains of Udaigiri comprise a brick stupa, two brick monasteries, a stone stepwell and the Bodhistava and Dhayani sculpted figures from the Buddha pantheon. The 18 caves of Udayagiri includes the famous Rani Gupha or Queen’s Cave and Hathi Gupha or the Elephant's cave. Rani Gupha is a two-storeyed structure with a spacious courtyard and elaborate sculptural friezes. Popular legends, historical

Udaygiri, Bhubaneshwar

scenes, religious festivals and dancers have been carved on stone with singular grace. On a rock, the life chronicle of King Kharavela, the first known Orissan ruler, responsible for the expansion of the Kalinga empire is recorded.

Parasurameshwar Temple
Parasurameshwar Temple is lavishly decorated and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Parasurameshwar Temple is a highly ornated monument known for its four finely decorated latticed windows and grills featuring bands of animated musicians and dancers and the busts of Lord Shiva. This temple is believed to be Orissa’s earliest surviving temple and the beauty of the design and carvings is truly remarkable. This temple has friezes that depict amorous couples, animal life, human figures and floral motifs.

Dhaului Edicts 
Dhaului Edicts are situated only a few kms. from Bhubaneswar, by the Daya river. These edicts were carved by Emperor Ashoka into a five meter by three meter rock. The rock is situated at the base of the small hill. In these edicts, he related the horrors he experienced in the Kalinga wars which he won in 261 BC and his subsequent conversion to Buddhism. These inscriptions are still remarkably clear after 2000 years of exposure to weather.

Shopping in Bhubaneshwar

Silver filigree, stone carvings and statues, applique work, lacquerware, Pattachitra folk paintings, jari work, tie-and-dye cottons and silks, tussar silks, shell work, wooden inlay, brasswork of ganjam, coir mats, carpets and handloom fabrics can also be bought from Bhubaneshwar.

How to get there

By Air: 
Indian Airlines and its subsidiary Alliance Air operates daily flights from Bhubaneshwar to Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Hyderbad, Varanasi, Nagpur and Raipur. 

By Rail:
Bhubaneshwar has direct rail links with Agra, Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderbad, Gaya, Madras, Puri, Thiruvananthapuram, Varanasi and Vishakhapatnam. 

By Road:
Bhubaneshwar is connected by road to various cities in India like Calcutta, Puri and Vishakhapatnam.

To know the distances from Bhubaneshwar click here.

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