Bhubaneswar ~ A Temple Town

Bhubaneswar ~ A Temple Town

~ A Compilation of Temples of Bhubaneswar ~

According to legend the city once housed a thousand temples, sadly many of these have crumbled to dust and many more have been reconstructed into modern structures, but the few have survived the test time and still stands to this day are worth a visit and can offer an interesting mix of pilgrimage and history.

Bhubaneswar (Temple Town) Map

Bhubaneswar (Temple Town) Map

The temples of Bhubaneswar are located on the Southern part, which is known as the old city and are majority of them are clustered around the Bindu Sarabor (Lake).

Rajarani Temple

~ Oriya Gem not quiet Oriya ~

Rajarani Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Rajarani Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Rajarani is one of the few temples in Bhubaneswar whose name doesn’t end with Ishwar (God), like Mukteswar, Parasurameswar, Sideshwar, etc. The name probably originated from the red sand stone named Raja – Rani which was used to build the temple. The temple is abandoned and contains no idol at the inner sanctum.

Although considered as the finest of the Odissa architecture the Rajarani Temple differs significantly from traditional Odissa Temple style. The spires of the Rajarani Temple consists of several sub – spires, which differs significantly from the horizontal projections of the Odissa Temples.

The star attraction of the Rajarani Temple is its intricately curved exterior. From floral design to geometric patterns and from figurative images to Yakshis to Gods cover the outer wall. The striking feature of the exterior curving is the presence of female figures many of which are in erotic postures, which resembles more of the Khajuraho style. Read more…

Mukteswara Temple

~ Gem of Orissan Architecture ~

Mukteshwara Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Mukteshwara Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Located at a walking distant from the Raja – Rani Temple and very close to the Bindu Sarobar is a small temple complex housing the twin temples of Mukteswara and Siddheshwara along with several other smaller temples and other religious structure.

The star attraction of the complex is the Mukteswara Temple. Architect James Furgesson, who visited the Orissa temples in 1830s said “It may be considered the gem of Orissan Architecture.”

The small Mukteswara Temple approached by an arched stone gateway, one of its kind in the whole of Orissa, and probably in the whole of the country. The gigantic decorated stone arch rests on two stumpy pillars. The arch with projected elephant heads on both sides are decorated not only with floral design but also by figurative sculptures, including female figures, monkeys and gaja – singha (a lion trampling an elephant).

Siddheshwara Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Siddheshwara Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

The Mukteswara Temple consisting of two parts namely Jagmohan (assembly area) and Biman, housing the inner sanctum. The jogmohan is crowned with a stepped pyramidical structure while the biman is crowned with a towering spire. The outer walls of the, 996 AD built, temple are covered with intricate curving, depicting various religious and social scenes, including stories from Pancharatna. The spire is covered with intricate geometrical & floral design with strange iconography, one of which shows two mustached women holding on to the mane of a lion. According to experts the symbol is called “Bho” and probably represents the seal of the builder.

Located in the same complex is the Siddheshwara Temple. Higher than the Mukteswara Temple and built at a later date, the Siddheshwara Temple is a classic example of Orissa temple architecture, although it lacks the grace of Mukteswara. The complex, maintained by the ASI, also contains several other minor temples, religious structure and a pond. The whole place is very well maintained with lawns, floor bed and trees.

Parasurameswara Temple

~ The seed of Oriya Temple Architecture ~

Parasurameshwara Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Parasurameshwara Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Just next to the Mukteswara & Siddeshwara Temple complex lies the small but elegant temple of Parasurameswara. Built in 7th century AD this is considered as the oldest temple of Bhubaneswar. Although very small is size this 44 feet high temple is the earliest example of Orissa Temple Architecture and is considered as the seed of the mighty Kalinga Temples of Lingaraj, Puri & Konark. The temple also has beautiful decoration on its outer wall. The temple consists of two parts the Biaman and the Jogmohan, the later was constructed at a later date.

The outer walls of the Parasurameswara Temple are covered with intricate curving, depicting various religious and social scenes. The entrance of the temple is marked with a giant Shiva Linga.

Ananta Basudev Temple

~ Classic Oriya Temple Architecture ~

Ananta Basudev Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Ananta Basudev Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Located on the banks of the Bindu Sarabor is the mighty Ananta Basudev Mandir, approachable from Parasurameswar Temple by a narrow winding lane.

Belong to the later Hindu period, the four stage Ananta Basudev Temple consists of the Bhog Mandap (place where Bhog is distributed), Nat Mandir (Dance Area), Jogmohan (assembly area) and the Biman, housing the Garbha Griha (inner sanctum) and is a classic example of Orissa Temple Architecture. Sadly this magnificent temple is poorly maintained as dozen of priests are busy cooking the bhog at the temple complex. The shoot ejected out of the wood fire has blackened major portion of the yellow sand stones and most of the beautiful sculpture are severely damaged.

Lingaraj Temple

~ The Pinnacle of Oriya Temple Architecture ~

Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

The area surrounding the Bindu Sarabor is dotted with numerous temples and a short walk past these temples lead to the Lingaraj Temple, Bhubaneswar’s most iconic landmark. Built it 11th century by the Somavamsi Kings, Lingaraj is the best example of Orissa temple architecture, a school of architecture which began with the modest Parsurameswar Temple.

The huge complex also houses the temple of Parvati and several other structures. Sadly photography is strictly prohibited in the complex. An elevated platform, offering grand view of the temple complex, comes to rescue. The platform was built by Lord Curzon, for the non – Hindus to view the temple. Non – Hindus are not allowed inside the complex and the custom is practiced even today.

The huge complex also houses the temple of Parvati and several other structures. Sadly photography is strictly prohibited in the complex. An elevated platform, offering grand view of the temple complex, comes to rescue. The platform was built by Lord Curzon, for the non – Hindus to view the temple. Non – Hindus are not allowed inside the complex and the custom is practiced even today.

Vaital Deul

~ Abode of Goddess Shakti ~

Durga Panel, Vaital Deul, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Durga Panel, Vaital Deul, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Located at a walking distance from the Lingaraj Temple, at a busy tri – junction is the Vaital & Sisereawar Temple complex. Vaital Deul is dedicated to the Goddess Shakti, and follows the khakhara style of architecture. The outer walls of the Vaital Deul contains intricate carvings, including an elaborate stone panel of eight – handed Durga in Mahisasur – Mardini posture. Vaital Deaul also contains an interesting panel of Ardhanarishawara (Half Female God).

Next to the Vital Deul is the small but elegant Sisireswara Temple, built in traditional Oriya style. The temple is dedicated to Shiva and contains some beautiful stone sculptures on its outer wall.

Note:

  • This is not a exhaustive coverage of Bhubaneswar Temples
  • Brahmaswara Temple, Bhaskareswara Temple, Mageswara Temple, Rameshwara Temple, Lakshmaneshwara Temple, Bharatashwara Temple, Satrugneshwara Temple and many more temples of Bhubaneswar are not covered.
  • This is a compilation article and would be updated from time to time.

Reference:

  • Karutirthe Kalinga by Narayan Sanyal
  • Barthiya Bhaskarje  Mithun by Narayan Sanyal

Related Links from my website:

List of Blog entries on Orissa

  1. September 5, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Nice compilation.

  2. October 26, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    BBW, surely one of the most beautiful town in India.

    • November 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      Thanks for your comment. Yes Bhubaneswar is indeed a beautiful town of India, an interesting mix of old and new.

  3. April 9, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    RanganDatta jee ,Nice Compilation

    This post is like a gem to me . It will help me in my tour. Is one day enough to cover Bhubaneshwar ?

    Travel India

    • October 30, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      Thanks Vishal, for your inspiring comment.

      One day will be a gross injustice to the temples of Bhubaneswar, three days is good but two is absolutely necessary.

  4. July 18, 2016 at 4:49 AM

    Great to see these again. Indeed, we had to view the Lingaraj from the platform. Thank you, Lord Curzon!

  5. Taranisen Pattnaik
    November 1, 2016 at 5:16 PM

    Thanks Rangan da for the informative article on BBSR heritage temple. Hope, Raja Rani Temple even had a name Indreswar with ishwar as suffix making it part of Shaiva kshetra.

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