Lingaraja Temple, Odisha

Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of Orissan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years.

Lingaraja Temple
This ancient temple has also been referred in the Brahma Purana, a Hindu scripture. Not less than 1000 years old, the present structure of the temple was built in the 11th century. However, there are many parts that are acknowledged to date back the 6th century. Lingaraj Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is considered as the destroyer as per the Hindu thoughts. It is said that when the construction of Lingaraj Temple was about to complete, the Jagannath cult started growing. This belief is further empowered with the fact that Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshipped here.

History of Lingaraja Temple
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.

Architecture of Temple:
Sprawled over 25,000 sq. ft, the Lingaraja temple and its 100 subsidiary shrines are enclosed by high walls, with a main entrance on the east, and secondary gates on the North and South. Laid out on the panchratha plan with five divisions to the temple and five richly engraved mouldings, the temple is acclaimed for its ornamental carvings and fine workmanship. The 54 metre high Sri Mandir and 29m high pyramid of the "jagamohana" are richly adorned with carvings. The bhoga mandap and the natya mandir have similarly engraved shafts supporting their heavy roofs.

The "lingam", measuring 2.5 metres wide is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, and is revered as Hari-Hara, the embodiment of Vishnu and Shiva. The Parvati temple in the north-east corner carries exceptionally beautiful carvings, and continues with the 13th century tradition of serving meals to 51 priests and 51 underprivileged persons everyday.

Lingaraj Temple depicts the rich legacy of Indian culture and traditions. The colossal temple attracts thousands of devotees and pilgrims to its doorstep every year. The spiritual ecstasy offered by the temple is worth feeling for once.

Reach: One can easily reach Lingaraj Temple by taking local buses or by hiring Taxis from the city of Bhubaneshwar

Timings: All days of the week, 5:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Write your comment now