Bhubaneswar (ORISSA)

Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Orissa, is also known as 'Temple City of India'. The city can easily be demarcated into new city, having all modern infrastructure facilities and amenities, and old city, having all the elements of past well preserved. Being the capital city of Orissa and traditionally a religious city and thus having stark streaks of ancient architecture, rituals and traditions make Bhubaneswar a hotbed of tourism. The most famous monument of Bhubaneswar is the Lingraj Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Another major and historical tourist attraction of Bhubaneswar is the Udaigiri Cave, earlier abode of Jain ascetics.

Bhubaneswar is a sprawling city growing rapidly.The railway line runs through the middle of the city. Due to its many temples in extravagant Oriyan architectural style, this is also known as the temple town. This being the capital city of Orissa is a sprawling tower divided into old and new parts. At one time, the Bindusagar tank had over 7000 temples around it and today there are only about 500 and most of these are in a decadent states. The famous among these is the Lingaraj temple, which is one of the most important temples in India. Entry into this temple is restricted to only Hindus. On the northern side of the wall is a viewing platform, originally erected for Lord Curzon when the British ruled India. To get a good view of the temple from this platform, one needs binoculars.

The temple is dedicated to Tribhuvaneswar or the Lord of the three worlds. Parts of this temple are over 1400 years old, but in its present form, it dates back from 1090 to 1104 A.D. The granite block which represents Tribhuveneswar is bathed daily with water, milk and bhang (hashish). The 150 square meter temple compound is dominated by the 40 meter high temple tower which is ornately carved and intricately sculptured.

Bindusagar, the Ocean Drop tank north of the temple is said to contain water from every holy stream, pool and tank in India. A dip in this tank is said to wash off all sins. At the centre of the tank is a water pavilion where, once a year, the Lingaraj temple's deity is brought to be bathed ritually. An ancient British traveller to India, by name Fergusson, has described this temple as an example of sanctity and purity of Hindu temples. The nearby Mukteshwar temple built around the 10th century is about 10.5 metre tall. The carvings here are impressive and the gateway clearly indicates Buddhist influence.

Another important temple of Bhubhaneswar is the Raj Rani temple which stands alone in a green field. This was built around the 11th century. Status of nymphs, couples in embrace, elephants and lions fill the niches and decorate the pillars. Another Km away from the main roads is the Brahmeswar temple which is notable for very finely detailed sculptures which erotic and sometimes amusing stances like the young lady with the surprised look on her face, no doubt due to her lover's hands in her pants! This temple dates back to the ninth century.

The other temples are the Bhaskareswar and the Megheswar. Close to the Bindusagar tank is the vaital, and the Lakshmaneswar which date back to the 7th Century and one of the earliest specimens of Oriyan architecture and acts as a gateway to the city.

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