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India
Bhubaneswar

        Indian visitor's

        Visitor's from Abroad

 

The ancient city of Bhubaneshwar is also the modern capital of Orissa. Situated at an altitude of 45 meters above sea level . Visit the ancient city of Bhubaneshwar (Bhuban being world and Iswar God) and it is a walk down centuries of temple architecture. With 600 temples still extant, temples are to this ancient city as forts are to Rajasthan. It is probably the only city in the world that enables an authentic over-view of the stages of development of Hindu religious architecture.

In the fast moving world of today these temples are a gentle remingder of the splendour, the heritage that was once India . It is not hard to imagine what a temple would have been at the time of its patron ruler. Regular dances by the ‘Devadasis’ or divine servant girls, rituals and rites, recital of hymns were all an integral part of temple culture.

Temples in Bhubaneshwar are built on a common plan as prescribed by Hindu norms. The structure is divided into four distinct parts connected to each other. The external part or the outer chmber is the ‘Jagamohana’. The Garbhagriha is the inner sanctum sanctorum of the presiding deity. There is also a conical beehive shaped tower which forms the third part – the Nata Mandap and the fourth is the Bhoga Mandap. All visible parts of a temple are sculpted with motifs of priests, kings, courtiers, pilgrims, celestial dancers, couples in embrace, birds, animals or sense from religious epics and legends.

In Bhubaneshwar the orientalist is in for a delightful break. The temples of Laxmaneswar, Satrughaneshwar and Bharateswara built in the 6th Century AD are relices of early religious shrines in Orissa.

Parasurameswara Temple built in 650 AD is one of the few earliest temples of Bhubaneshwar. This temple built in the Kalinga style of temple architecture was dedicated to Lord Siva but there are images of Lord Vishnu, Yama, Surya and seven Mother Godesses. In typical fashion, it is liberally sculpted with amourous couples, animals and floral motifs.

Just south of Parasurameswara temple is the Swaranajaleswara temple. Built in a similar style, the motifs on the walls however differ, depicting scenes from the Ramayana.  

Places of Tourist Interest

Rajarani Temple (C11 AD)

The Rajarani temple, is an essay in grace and poise and is particularly interesting in that it has no presiding deity. The name of this temple is supposed to be derived from the red- gold sand stone used – Rajarani being the local name for the stone. The deul is intricately carved with figurines in various stages of daily chores. The lower portion of the deul has the ‘Guardians of the eight directions’ guarding the eight cardinal points of the temple.

Vaital Deul (C800 AD)

Vaital Deul is the Shrine of Chamunda (a tantric form of the Goddess Kali) or Shakti.Seated on a corpse in a dark inner sanctum is the Goddess Chamunda, garland of skulls round her neck and flanked by a jackal and an owl. The niches on the inner wall depict equally startling images along with scenes of tantric rituals. It is the first of the temples to depict erotic  Sculptures, it is also unique in that the outer surface of the vault is plain while profusely embellished on the inside.

Mukteswara (C950 AD)

Often referred to as the “Gem of Orissan Architecture” this temple has been built on the lines of the Kalinga School of temple architecture.This temple too is a deviation in that the architects have blended old and new techniques of planning and execution. Many new innovations in later temples are from here. A ‘Torana’, an arched gateway is a unique feature of this temple.

The temple dedicated Lord Shiva mukteswara, is carved with figures of ascetics in various poses of meditation and scenes from the store house of Indian fables, the ‘Panchatantra’. A dip in a sacred well to the east of the temple is supposedly a cure for infertility.

Brahmeswara Temple (C1050 AD)

Brahmeswara temple depicts the mature Orissan style of temple architecture. The deul and the Jagmohana are both intricately carved and for the first time in temple architectural history musicians and dancers appear on the outer walls and iron beams find their first use. In the western section Chamunda, Siva and other deities are depicted.

Lingarafa (11th Centuary AD)

The Lingaraja temple dominates the skyline of Bhubaneshwar from as far away as 15 kms and exhibits the skill of the Orissan temple architects at its completely mature and developed stage. This temple was constructed in the 11th Century AD at the site of an old Seventh Century Shrine. Alongwith the deul and the Jagmohana the Lingaraja temple has two new structures, the ‘nata mandira’ (dance hall) and the ‘bhoga mandapa’ (offering hall). Dedicated to Lord Siva the ‘Lingam’ here is unique in that it is a ‘hari hara’ lingam – half Siva and half Vishnu. There are around 150 subsidiary shrines within this giant temple.

The Orissa State Museum

A visit to the museum provides an instant overview of Orissa as it was and still is. It has a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and bronze age tools, rare manuscripts written on palm leaves, traditional and folk musical instruments.

The Handicrafts Museum ( Secretariat Road )

This museum has a splendid collection of stone sculptures, patta paintings, brass castings horn toys and Orissa’s famous silver filigree work.

Tribal Museum

This museum provides an insight into the tribal culture of Orissa.

Udaygiri Khandagiri

7 kms from Bhubaneshwar are the twin hills of Udaygiri and Khandagiri. Built by Kharavela around 1st – 2nd Century BC for Jain monks, they are excellent examples of Jain Cave art. The famous caves of Hathigumpha (elephant cave) in Udaygiri, Rani Gumpha (Queen’s cave) also in Udaygiri, with upper and lower stories, spacious courtyards and extremely delicately designed friezes bear witness to the sophistication the architectural styles had attained as early as the first Century BC.

Dhauli

Driving down the Puri-Konark Highway from Bhubaneshwar one cones across Dhauli hill on the banks of the River Daya. Surrounded by the soothing greenery of paddy fields, lies the 3rd Century BC Ashokan Rock Edict, a memory of the gruesome war that transformed Ashoka, the great Warrior into a Buddhist missionary.The peace Pagoda built in collaboration with the Kalinga- Japanese Buddhist Sangha, on the opposite hill, is completely modern and is an excellent foil.   

Excursion 

Atri

42 kms from Bhubaneshwar Atri is a holy place famous for its sculptures and hot water springs. An excursion and a dip can be an enjoyable experience.

Bhittarkanika

Bhittarkanika : slightly more distant from Bhubaneshwar, although as easy to reach, is an adventurists paradise and breeding ground for Olive Ridley turtles. A remote seashore area, it was declared to be a sanctuary in 1975 for protecting the estuarine crocodile and Olive Ridley turtles in their rare mangrove habitat.  

Lalitagiri – Ratnagiri – Udaygiri

110 kms from Bhubaneshwar, these three hills combinedly present the rich Buddhist heritage of Orissa. Once the seat of a flourishing Buddhist university called ‘Pushpagiri Mahavihara’, these hills still have extensive ruins of brick monasteries, sculpted stone portals and Buddhist images. The museums at Ratnagiri and Lalitagiri are worth visiting. More treasures come to light as excavations are carried out.

Climate its temperatures range between 15.7d.c in winter to maximum of 30d.c -40d.c in summer. It enjoys a rainfall of 152.4 cm. Winter wear is light woolens and in summer it is light cottons only.

The best time to visit :-  The best time to visit is between October to March

How To Get There Bhubaneswar is located in Orissa
By Air  
Bhubneshwar is well linked by air to Delhi , Chennai, Varanasi , Nagpur , Calcutta , and Vishakhapatnam
By Train 
Superfast trains connect it to New Delhi , Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad
By Road 
Bhubaneswar is on the National Highway linking Calcutta (480 kms) to Chennai (1225 kms).

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