Bhubaneshwar, the temple city of India, once known for its architecture and grand temples, is presently a thriving centre for commerce and business.
Bhubaneshwar is an ancient city replete with beautiful historic temples which attract pilgrims and tourists from all over the country. The name of the city literally means Lord of the Universe, rightly reflected in the number of temples here and the religious fervor of its locals. This is now a bustling city where the history is beautifully intertwined with its modern and progressive present. Bhubaneshwar being the centre for religious tourism has a number of majestic temples built centuries ago which have still retained their originality over all these years. Among them the Lingaraj temple and the Parasurameswara temple are must-visits and attract tourists for all parts of the country.
Places to Visit
The Lingaraj Temple is an ancient temple situated in the city of Bhubaneswar and is the largest one situated in the city. Dedicated to Lord Shiva as the name suggests, the temple was built in the 7th century by the King Jajati Keshari. It is highly revered because of the fact that the Linga here, which is the phallic form of Lord Shiva, is believed to have appeared naturally. It rises to a massive height of 8 inches above the floor level and is about 8 feet in diameter as well. Lingaraj Temple is located in the old part of Bhubaneswar Town and can be easily reached using local transport.
The edifice of the temple is a great example of the Odissi style of architecture and has intricately designed stone vaults covering the main sanctum of the temple. A small temple dedicated to Goddess Bhagawati is located in the northwest corner of the courtyard as well. However, entry is restricted to the followers of the Hindu faith only. The Lingaraj Temple is especially famous for its Mahashivratri celebrations when the whole sanctum is dressed up in flowers, lanterns, and lights. The temple has as many as 6,000 visitors on a daily basis with Shivratri being a major day of celebrations when this number surges to as many as 200,000 visitors.
Built by the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) in 1991, this temple serves as an alternative to Lord Jagannath temple of Puri as that temple is restricted to Indians.
This temple is believed to offer abode to Lord Jagannath himself.
Constructed across the Mahanadi River in Sambalpur, Odisha the Hirakud Dam is hailed as the longest human-made dams in India. Astonishingly, it is over 56km long and is the top pick among the locals as well as tourists to enjoy a refreshing day out. This marvellous piece of architecture construction was built in 1956, and owing to its location is a fantastic spot to watch nature come alive in all its glory. One of the major attractions here is a drive-through road that can take you 21km over the dam, admiring its ingeniousness and expertise. Another striking feature of the dam is, of course, the wide expanse of the view that it offers from the Gandhi and Nehru Minarets that are located towards the Northern Facade of the dam. It is also a fantastic site for birdwatching as it is surrounded by abundant water and trees on all sides.
Any nature lover will enjoy the quaint atmosphere and lush greenery that is in abundance at the Hirakud Dam. The dam stretches between the Burla and Hirakud Hills. In addition to showcasing stunning natural beauty, the dam irrigates 7,500,000 hectares of land and also generates hydroelectricity. Situated near the Hirakud Dam is a hill called Budharaja hill, which is well-known for the Budharaja Temple at its peak. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple offers breathtaking views of the dam from. Another temple which is a must-visit in Hirakud is the Ghanteshwari Temple which served as a lighthouse for the incoming ships as the bells were used to warn the sailors. Visit this destination for a tranquil getaway in the lap of nature.
Constructed in 650 A.D. this temple is a unique specimen of Oriyan style of architecture. The most special feature of this temple is the presence of one thousand lingas in the north-west corner of the complex.
Besides this, it is adorned with beautiful carvings of Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The artistic splendor with which the detailing of the sculptures and carvings are done reflects the glory of the era gone by.
A popular 11th-century Hindu temple that can be found in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, in India; the Raja Rani Temple is locally known as the ‘love temple’ because it contains some sensuous carvings of women and couples. No images can be found inside the sanctum, and hence the temple is not associated with any particular sect of Hinduism. This is perhaps exactly where the charm of the temple comes from: the temple belongs to no specific sect and is open to all people irrespective of the deity that they worship and admire. However, the figures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati carved on the walls strongly indicate that the temple has certain associations with Shaivism.
According to historians, it was constructed at some time between the 11th and 12th century, but the exact period has not yet been ascertained. In fact, it is from the Rajarani Temple that the architecture of other temples in central India is believed to have been developed; the most notable examples being the Khajuraho temples and the Totesvara Mahadeo temple in Kadawa. The Rajarani Temple is currently under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India and is maintained as a ticketed monument, that is tourists need to purchase a ticket to enter the temple.
The Raja Rani Temple has an altogether different charm to offer, and this is perhaps what sets it aside and apart from the other temples that one can find scattered all across Bhubaneswar, which is now rightly known as the temple metropolis of Orissa.
The Bindu Sarovar or Bindu Sagar is a water tank which is believed to be sacred by Hindus. This tank is surrounded by a number of temples and lies in the vicinity of the Lingaraj Temple.
The water of the Bindu Sagar is believed to contain drops from all holy rivers and pools in India.
Orissa State Museum
The Orissa State museum has an exclusive collection of some unique and ancient art and craft objects.
This collection includes stone sculptures, bronze coins, musical instruments, armors, pre-historic metal plates etc. The place is a must-visit for all history enthusiasts.
The Brahmeshwara Temple is yet another relic of the brilliance of Oriyan style of architecture. Built in the 11th century, this temple is surrounded by four smaller shrines.
The main shrine in this temple is that of a Shivalingam and there are also sculptures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati alongside. Famous for its beautiful carvings, it attracts a lot of pilgrims throughout the year.
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary
The Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary spreads across 795.52 square kilometers and does not fail to enthrall its visitors with its overwhelming beauty, lush green surrounding, the ever cherished rambling of River Mahanadi besides the very famous Satkosia gorge and large variety of species of wild animals, birds and plants.
Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary is a habitat of tigers, leopards, gaurs, simbal, spotted deers, four horned antelopes, sloths, gharial and many others. The Gharial Sanctuary undertakes the process of breeding of the Gharial to increase their numbers and give them the right atmosphere and treatment.
While you are here, you get a chance to caress the untainted form of nature, the luxuriant greenery leaves your soul enchanted and the existence of the wild animals around leaves your soul enthralled. Sometimes thunderous and sometimes calm river Mahanadi renders the opportunity for fish angling, or to motor-boat or river rafting across it. You can choose to trek or camp in the sanctuary as well. This a perfect destination for the lovers of nature, wildlife and adventure.
Mukteswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is a 10th century temple and presents a quintessential example of the longevity of the Kalinga style of architecture.
This temple has stood the test of time and still stands 35 feet tall in all its glory and charm. This temple has beautiful sculptures and carvings depicting the various Panchatantra stories.
Must Try Food in Bhubaneshwar
1. Narula’s Restaurant
2. Mainland China
3. Silver Streak
4. Malva Restaurant
5. Taste Of China
6. Truptee Vegetarian Restaurant
7. Hi Bhubaneshwar Multicuisine Restaurant
8. Absolute Barbecues
9. Adda Unplugged
10. Venus Inn Restaurant
How To Get Here
Bhubaneshwar being the capital city of Orissa has its own broad gauge railway station which is 6 km away from the city centre. The nearest airport is the Biju Patnaik airport which is 5 km away from the city centre.
The Biju Patnaik International Airport is the only International airport in the state of Orissa and is located in Bhubaneshwar. It is well connected to most Indian cities as well as major international cities.
Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport (BBI)
There are Deluxe Buses, AC coaches and Government buses that are available from most major cities. You could also drive along NH 5 and NH 203.
The Bhubaneswar Railway Station is one of the important railway stations in the Eastern part of the country and is well connected to most major cities.