What to See
Lingaraja Temple: Believed to be over 1000 years old, the 185-ft high temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Lingaraja. Built in Hindu architecture-style, almost 150 smaller shrines cover the courtyard. The temple is divided into four parts, namely the main sanctum, the Yajna Shala, the Bhoga Mandap and the Natya Shala. The main deity within the sanctum is that of black granite svayambhu lingam called Hari Hara - half Shiva and half Vishnu, a feature peculiar to this temple. Possibly this explains the absence of Shiva's trishul and Vishnu's discus on the temple top - these are, instead, visible on the main gate of the temple. The linga is bathed in milk, water and bhang everyday. The outer walls are covered in carvings of birds, animals, plants, flowers, men and women in erotic poses, and all gods and goddesses. A smaller shrine dedicated to Parvati, Shiva's consort is known for its intricate carvings.
Note - Non-Hindus are not allowed within the Lingaraja Temple complex
Parashurameshwar Temple: This is one of the oldest existing temple complexes in Bhubaneswar and is built in typical Orissa-style architecture. Also exquisitely carved with images of animals, flowers and humans, the main shrine belongs to Lord Shiva. The temple windows showcase bas-reliefs of elephants and horses processions and the outer walls are carved with images of Ganesha, Kartikeya, Shiva and Parvati. The jagmohana, where devotees pray, is square in shape, instead of the typical pyramid. Among the notable friezes that line the North wall of the jagamohana are sapta matrikas (seven mother goddesses), Chamunda (Durga in her terrifying aspect), Ganesha having a human visage face with a trunk growing from his chin, and several deities of the Brahmanical pantheon. Also, the northwestern area of the temple is carved with the famous sahasralingam or one thousand lingas.
Rajarani Temple: Built in 1100 AD, this is an isolated temple cluster, deriving its name from the red-gold sandstone used for it construction, locally called Rajaran. This temple is devoid of the usual prayer and rituals that can be visible at all other temple complexes in the city. The illustrations of Shiva and Parvati suggest that it was once a Shaivite Temple, though there is the absence of any linga or Shiva idol. Nevertheless, the temple is worth visiting for its beautiful spires and the intricate carvings of women engaged in several activities, lions, elephants and a pair of temple guardians. Also watch out for the images of the Guardians of the Eight Directions, namely Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirriti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera and Ishana.
Open from: 6.00 am-6.00 pm
Brahmeswara Temple: Located in a courtyard flanked by four smaller temples, this temple has a 3 mt high lingam in the sanctum. As you enter through a gateway, look out for a small cloth-covered image of Lakshmi. The sanctuary has a five fold vertical division that is elaborately carved. Both external and internal walls are carved with erotic structures.
Mukteswara Temple: This elaborately carved temple portrays cavalry, elephants and a variety of themes including, a preceptor delivering discourse and graceful female figures. It houses two shrines within Parsurameswara and Mukteswara. The former is relatively better preserved and the lingam inside the shrine is intricately carved. The Mukteswara shrine is worth watching for its carvings of hermits, monkeys and illustrations from the Panchatantra. Its most notable element is the arched gateway and the torana that is exquisitely carved. Within the complex is the Marichi Kund - a bath here is said to cure infertility.
Bindusagar Lake: Literally meaning Ocean Drop Tank, it is located north of the Lingaraja temple. The Lingaraja Temple deities are brought here once a year for a ritual bath during the festival of Ashokastami. A dip in the holy lake at Bindusagar is believed to wash away all the sins.
Orissa State Museum: This is one of the best places to explore the historical arts and crafts of Orissa. It houses a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions and bronze-age tools. The highlight here is the rare pal leaf manuscripts. The museum is also home to wide variety of traditional and folk musical instruments that are kept on display. Rare epigraphic records are preserved in the Epigraphy Gallery. The Handicraft Museum on the Secretariat Road has a good collection of folk paintings, horn toys, brass castings, sculptures and Orissa's famous silver filigree work. The Tribal Museum provides an insight into the tribal culture of Orissa.
Open from: 10.00 am-4.00 pm, (closed on Monday)
Dhauli: Situated 8 kms from Bhubaneswar, Dhauli is credited to be the place where Ashoka, overcome by remorse, embraced Buddhism. Visit the Shanti Stupa atop the Dhauli Hill, which contains idols of Buddha and scenes from his life and times.
Udaygiri and Khandagiri: These twin hills are located 7 kms from Bhubaneswar. The 135 ft high Udaygiri and 118 ft high Khandagiri Hills have ancient caves, which have Jain structures and sculptures. The Cave 10 in Udaygiri called Ganesh Gufa has a statue of Lord Ganesha and Cave 4 or Rani Gufa is worth visiting for its well-designed sanitation system and echo-based acoustics.
Open from: 6.00 am-6.00 pm
Nandankanan: Located almost 20 kms from Bhubaneswar, Nandankan is famed for its white tiger population and is home to a Zoo and Botanical Garden. Literally meaning Garden of Pleasure, it houses a variety of mammals, reptiles and various species of birds. The zoo is especially credited for successfully breeding black panthers and gharial crocodiles.
Hirapur: Situated 15 kms from Bhubaneswar, this tiny village is known for the best preserved, if smallest yogini temple in India, the Chausath Yogini Temple, dedicated to 64 manifestations of the Goddess Shakti. The images are carved out of the black chlorite stone. The inner enclosure of the temple is a circular enclosure with no roof overhead, resembling a Buddhist stupa. In the centre, there stands a mandapa enshrining the image of 'Ekapada Shiva', an incarnation of the Shiva.
Open from: 10.00 am-5.00 pm
Top Hotels in Bhubaneshwar
- Ginger Bhubaneshwar
- Swosti Premium Hotel
- Hotel Hindusthan International
- The Presidency
- Hotel Sandy S Tower
Top Landmarks in Bhubaneshwar
- Hotels Near Bhubaneshwar Railway Station
- Hotels Near Patia Railway Station
- Hotels Near Biju Patnaik Airport
- Hotels Near Apollo Hospital
- Hotels Near Infosys Technologies Ltd