Capital city of the modern state and the ancient kingdom of Kalinga, Bhubaneswar is known as the Temple city of India. Its busting modernity reverberates with echoes of the past.
The striking features of the city are numerous temples and the shrines that seem to be all around you. Bhubaneswar’s skyline is dominated by some of the most spectular engineering and artistic feasts of the ancient heritage. The imposing spire of the Lingaraj temples the quiet beauty of Shanti stupa at Dhauli hills and the pink translucence of the Mahavir Jain temple at Khandagiri inspire feelings of wonder at their sheer beauty and their cross cultural permutations. These three epitomize the advent and ascendancy of Hindusim, Budhism and Jainism during different periods of Orissan history.
Bhubaneswar had a thousand temples at one time of which many are still it tact and provide a complete record of the kalinga style architecture from inception to the maturity. Of these the magnificicent temples of Lord Lingaraj (11th,century A.D.) soaring up to a height of 5A meters, dominates the skyline for miles around. Mukteswar temple (10th,Century A.D.) with its famous stone arch at the entrance is known as the gem of the Orissan architecture. Parsurameswar temple (7th,century A.D.) has equally exquisites’ carvings on its wall, but is more famous for its latticed windows. Rajarani temple (11th,Century A.D.) is an architectural mode by it self. The slender wasted life size figures, languorously poised, reflect the wealth of feminine charm a sumptuous feast for the visitors’ eyes. Brahmeswar, a complete complex of temples with graceful sculptures on the temple walls is a miniature version of the grate lingaraj while Swarna Jaleswar temple has beautiful depicitious from the epic Ramayana, the vital temple is architecturally striking and has a tantric influence. Another tantric temples complex of 64 yoginis is also found at Hirapur, 15kms away from Bhubaneswar.
Rock-cut caves are also seen on the khandagiri/udairgiri hills, out of which Rani Gumpha is double storyed with ornate carvings. Similarly, Hati Gumpha has the chronicle of king kharavels carved on it. The orissa state Museum has a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and bronze age tools and palm leaf manuscripts.
While the temples and monuments are redolent with the culture of a hoary era, the vibrance at the throbs in the aprawling Nadan Kanan the zoological park. Endowed with a natural lake, it is known for the rare white tigers and largest lion safari.
The end of January is the time when the Tribal Fair comes around. February to March, Shivaratri is held at the Lingaraj Temple, Hakateswar Temple Atri and throughout Orissa. Magha Saptami is held at Khandagiri outside Bhubaneshwar.
At Ashokashtami, during April/May, the idol of Lord Lingaraja is taken out in procession, part of a chariot festival. Panashankanti (Fire-walking) takes place in various areas on the first day of Baisakh. In June/July, the impressive Rath Yatra takes place at Puri, Baripada and other parts of the state. Kali Puja, in October/November, the city is lit with lamps. Bali Yatra in October/November, a fair is held on the banks of the Mahanadi river in Cuttack.
How to Get
There On the National Highway linking Calcutta (480 km) and Madras (1225 km). Air links to Delhi, Calcutta, Hyderabad and Nagpur. Rail links to Calcutta, Madras, Delhi (1745 km), Bombay(1691 km).