Bhubaneswar is rightly called the ‘City Of Temples’. With more than 700 temples, this capital city of Odhisha attracts devotees from not just the country, but even from the outside. The city gets it name from the Sanskrit name of Shiva, which is Tribhubaneswar, which means “Lord Of the Three Worlds”. This is also one of the reason why the most of these temples are dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. Also, it is told that Bhubaneswar was one of the favorite places of Lord Shiva. The oldest temples of this city were built between the 8 AD- 12AD, the period where Saivism gained dominance. This article explores some of the most famous temples in Bhubaneswar, which are not to be missed.
List Of Temples In Bhubaneswar:
1. Lingaraja Temple:
Lingaraja temple is one of the oldest temples in Orissa and is located in Bhubaneshwar. It is dedicated to Hindu God, Harihara, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. It represents the Kalinga architecture and is built in Eula style which has four components namely, vimana, jagamohana, natamandira, bhoga-mandapa. The temple also has images of Lord Vishnu. The water of the river filling Bindusagar tank is believed to heal spiritual and physical illness, so people take a dip during festive occasions. Shiva Ratri is the main festival here followed by Ratha Yatra.
2. Ram Mandir:
Ram Mandir is located in the heart of Bhubaneshwar is a temple complex with images of Lord Rama, Lord Lakshman and Goddess Sita. There are also shrines dedicated to Lord Hanumana, Lord Shiva and others gods and goddesses. Many Hindu festivals are celebrated within the temple complex but the most popular ones are Ram Navami, Vivaha Panchami, Janmashtami, Dussehra, Shiva Ratri and Pana Sankranti. An annual fair attracts many people on the day of Raksha Bandhan.
3. Mukteshvara Temple:
Mukteshvara temple was built in the 10th century and is located in Bhubaneswar. It’s a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Mukteshvara means ‘God of Freedom’. The compound walls’ outer face have niches of Hindu gods and goddesses such as Saraswati, Ganesha and Lakulisha. The temple organizes a three-day yearly dance festival called Mukteshvar Dance Festival within the premises.
4. Rajarani Temple:
Rajarani temple located in Bhubaneswar is known as ‘love temple’ by the locals because of its erotic carvings of women and couples in the temple. The temple is not specifically dedicated to any god or goddess but is classified as Saivite based on the niches. It is said to be built between 11th and 12th centuries. The temple organizes a three-day Rajarani Music Festival inside the complex every year and focuses on classical music, Hindustani, Carnatic and Odissi.
5. Ananta Vasudeva Temple:
Ananta Vasudeva temple constructed in the 13th century is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The presiding deities worshipped in the temple are complete idols of Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra. The temple resembles the famous Lingaraja temple but includes Vaishnavite sculptures too.
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6. Brahma Temple:
Brahma temple located on the banks of Bindusagar River is surrounded by Bindusagar tank on the west. The temple was built in the honor of Lord Brahma when he came to Bhubaneswar to attend the coronation of Lingaraj Deva. The main temple is said to be built in the 15th century but the present temple is said to be built during the rule of Gajapati rulers. The presiding idol of Brahma holds a Veda and water vessel in upper hands and rosary, abhaya mudra in the lower hands.
7. Madanesvara Shiva Temple:
Madanesvara Shiva temple is an ancient temple built around the 12th century is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has an enshrined deity with a circular yonipitha or basement. The temple’s sanctum is square shaped and is faced towards the east. Its renovated pabhaga includes five mouldings such as khura, kumbha, pata, kani and basanta.
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8. Chintamanisvara Shiva Temple:
Chintamanisvara Shiva temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated at the end of Chintamanisvara road faces towards the west. The temple’s enshrined deity is a Shiva Lingam with yonipitha or basement. It is believed to have been constructed in the 14th century by the Kesharis or Somavamsis. The temple also has a tank and an idol of Lord Ganesha. Major festivals celebrated here are Kartika Purnima and Sravana Purnima.
9. Parsurameshvara Temple:
Parsurameshvara temple is one of the most well preserved structure which dates back to the Shailodbhava period between the 7th and 8th centuries. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has been built in Nagara style architecture. The temple has a vimana, sanctum and a bada or the curvilinear spire over its roof. The temple also has other idols dedicated to Shakta deities. The temple also has depictions of Saptamtrikas. Archaeological Survey of India maintains and administers the temple.
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10. ISKCON Temple Bhubaneswar:
This beautiful temple was built in the year 1991, and is the last project by Srila Prabhupada. The temple is dedicated to the worship of Sri Krishna Balarama and was single-handedly built by Srila Gour Govinda swami Maharaja. This is also the 108th ISCKON temples in the world and attracts huge number of devotees from across the world. This temple is also the second most visited temples in Odisha after the famous Puri Jagannath temples.
11. Bhuvaneshwari Temple:
This temple is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Bhuvaneshwari, who is the incarnation of Lord Parvati. The temple was built in the year 1997 on the day of Sri Panchami, which is considered to be very auspicious. Along with Ma Bhuvaneshwari, the temple also had deities of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadhra and Subhadra, Lord Rameshwara and Baleshwara.
12. Brahmeshwar Temple:
This temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and is built in 11th Century CE. The temple is filled with intricate carvings and has four natyasalas or the dancing podiums. As per inscriptions, the temple was built by Kolavatidevi, the mother of UdyotaKesari. IT is also told that Kolavatidevi presented the temple with many beautiful women, which pioneered the devadasi tradition in temples.
Bhubaneshwar, one the capital city of the Kalinga Empire is known for its amazing architectural structures. Most of these temples are quite old and belong to a period between 8th to 12th century. These more than 1000 year old temples are still intact and passed the tests of time. Bhubaneswar is one of the top religious tourist destinations of India, owing to its rich array of temples. Most temples in this city are not open to non-Hindus and it is recommended to go through the norms online before paying a visit.