Bhubaneswar is the capital of Orissa. It is also known as the “Temple City of India”. It is an important pilgrimage destination. It is the seat of Lord Lingaraj, also known as Tribhubaneswar. It is believed that there are over 2000 temples in this part of the state. The temples here are built in Orissan style which has been followed for a period of more than 1000 years.
Modern buildings and extensive infrastructure are now found in the newer Bhubaneswar. This is a place which is suitable for all kinds of visitors. Thus, it is an ideal tourist destination.
Places to visit:
The 64 Yogini Shrines: These shrines were built in the 9th century. They were believed to harness supernatural powers. Out of the 64 built shrines, only 4 remain. Two out of which are found in Orissa. One shrine is 15 kilometers away from Bhubaneswar at Hirapur. The other is present at the twin villages of Ranipur and Jharial. The remaining two shrines are present in Madhya Pradesh. These shrines bring out the tribal traditions and practices among medieval folklore.
Biju Patnaik Park: As the name suggests, this park is dedicated to Biju Patnaik. He was elected at the Chief Minister of Orissa many times. This park is located at Behrampur. It consists of a musical fountain, floating mountain, beautiful landscape and boating facilities for children.
Bindu Sarovara: This lake is present near Lingaraj and Ananta Vasudev temples. A drop of Holy River can be seen in the lake. Hence, it derives its name, ‘Bindu’ meaning dot and ‘Sarovara’ meaning lake.
Brahmeshwara Temple: This temple is believed to have been built in the 11th century. It is situated close to Bhubaneswar. Surrounded by 4 shrines, this temple is built in the Orissan style of architecture. It is famous for its artistic sculptures, especially in its tower and porch.
Dhauli Giri: King Ashoka, the Mauryan Emperor, waged war on Kalinga in 261 BC. He later turned to Buddhism realizing the plight of what he had done. The edicts of Dhaula Giri are a proof of this deed. The edicts are excellently preserved. A sculpted elephant is present at the top of the hill which depicts boundless powers of Lord Buddha. On the opposite hill is present a ‘Shanti Stupa’, also known as the ‘Peace Pagoda’ which was built by the Indo-Japanese collaboration.
Khandagiri and Udayagiri Caves: These caves are significant in many ways, archaeologically, historically and religiously. The caves are situated on two hills, Udayagiri and Khandagiri. They face each other across the road. The caves are finally carved. These caves were dug out during the reign of King Kharavela. The Udayagiri has 18 caves and Khandagiri has 15. These are inhabited by the Jain monks.
Mukteshwara Temple: This temple was built in the 10th century. The architecture shows a slight demarcation between the early and the later phases of Kalinga architecture. The decorative gateway of the temple is the highlight of the temple. It is an arched masterpiece which reminds us of the Buddhist influence in Orissa. The sculptures carved are very intricately done, which clearly shows the skill of the sculptor.
Nandankanan Zoo: This zoo is present 15 kilometers outside of Bhubaneswar. It has some rare species of animals. White tigers are famous here. Bus services to the zoo are available from Acharya Vihar Square. The zoo has a lake for boating as well as a ropeway. Next to the zoo is a botanical garden.
Parasurameswara Temple: It is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built in 650 AD and hence is believed to be one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar. Like other temples in Bhubaneswar, it follows Oriyan style of architecture. The sculptures in the temple depict animals, amorous couples and floral designs. The most unique feature about this temple is that a thousand Lingas placed in the North West corner of the temple.
Rajarani Temple: The temple derives its name from a red-golden sand stone which is called Rajarani by the local people. The temple has no presiding deity. The temple has various carvings which depict the daily chores. The temple was built in the 11th century. It was famous for its artistic spires which is an architectural marvel. The temple also has beautiful carvings in the form of females which are shown doing normal activities such as, looking in the mirror, holding children and playing with birds.
Sri Sri Krishna Balarama Mandir: It is one of the famous ISCON temple. It is present in NH5. The devotees are friendly. Clean and cheap vegetarian food is also found in the enclosed restaurant.
The Lingaraj Temple: It is a 55 meters high temple covered with elaborate carvings. It is described as the truest fusion of dream and reality. Permission to enter inside is not granted to the foreigners. However, there is a viewing platform beside one of the boundary walls.
The Orissa State Museum: The Orissa state museum has a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, litho and Bronze age tools, rare manuscripts written on palm leaves, traditional and folk musical instruments. The Epigraphy Gallery has the rare records of that time.
Vaital Deul Temple: The presiding deity of this temple is Chamunda, the Tantric form of goddess Durga. The temple is situated near Bindu Sarovar. It was constructed in the 8th century. The temple is particularly famous for its sculptural beautification of the walls and tower.
How to reach
By air: Bhubaneswar is well connected to other cities such as Delhi, Chennai, Varanasi, Nagpur, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam on daily basis flights. The Biju Patnaik Airport of Bhubaneswar is 4 kilometers away from the town centre.
By rail: Bhubaneswar is well connected to major cities of India via trains. The station is located in the centre of the town.
By road: Bhubaneswar is well linked to the rest of India by the national highways. The New Bus Stand in Bhubaneswar is on NH5, at Baramunda, about 6 km from town centre.