Bhubaneshwar the capital of Orissa is a city of
temples, several of which are important from an architectural standpoint. The
Lingaraj temple - the largest of these is an outstanding specimen of the Orissa
style of temple building. It is about a thousand years old. Bhubaneshwar,
Konarak and Puri constitute the Golden
triangle of Orissa, visited in large numbers by pilgrims and tourists.
Bhubaneshwar is also a revered pilgrimage center,
referred to in the Bhrama Purana. The Bhrama Purana refers to
Bhubaneshwar as the Ekamra Kshetra enshrining a crore Shiva Lingas.
The Lingaraja temple is said to have
been built first by the ruler Yayati Kesari in the 7th century who shifted his capital
from Jaipur to Bhubaneshwar. Bhubaneshwar remained as the Kesari capital, till Nripati
Kesari founded Cuttck in the 10th century. Inscriptions from the period of the Kalinga
King Anangabhima III from the 13th century are seen here.
Structurally, the Parasurameswara
temple at Bhubaneshwar is the oldest, dating back to the middle of the 8th century, and
the Lingaraja is temple is assigned to the 10th century. The nata
mandir and the bhog mandir of the Lingaraja
temple are of later origin.
Legend has it that Shiva revealed to
Parvati that Bhubaneshwar - or Ekamra thirtha was a resort favoured by
him over Benares. Parvati in the guise of a cowherd woman, decided to look at the city
herself. Two demons Kritti and Vasa desired to marry
her. She requested them to carry her upon their shoulders, and crushed them under her
weight. Shiva, then created the Bindu Saras lake to quench her thirt, and
took abode here as Krittivasas or Lingaraja.
The Temple: The vast Bindu Sagar lake
is the center around which are located the multitude of temples of Bhubaneshwar. The
Lingaraja temple is located in a spacious courtyard covering over 250000 sq feet and
is bounded by fortified walls. Its tower rises up to 180 feet and is elaborately
The Shivalingam in the sanctum of the Lingaraja temple
rises to a height of 8 inches above the floor level, and is 8 feet in diameter. The
Bhagawati temple is located in the northwest corner of the courtyard. There are several
other shrines and temples in this vast courtyard.
Worship: A total of 22 worship
services are offered each day. Once a year, an image of Lingaraja is taken to the
Jalamandir in the center of the Bindu Sagar lake.
Other temples in Bhubaneshwar are the
Ananta Vasudeva, RajaRani, Mukteswara, Kedareswara, Siddheswara, Parasurameswara.