Bhubaneswar - Temple City of India.
Bhubaneswar is the capital city of the state of Orissa which is located on the eastern coast of India. It was once the capital of ancient Kalinga before it grew into the modern city it is today and it became state capital in 1948 after India gained independence from Britain. I came here for a couple of days by train from Kolkata before heading on to Puri in order to visit the Sun Temple at Konark.
It is said that there were about 7,000 temples in Bhubaneswar which earned it the coveted title of the 'Temple City of India' although only a few hundred of these remain today. The temples are all located 2-3km south of the modern city centre and are fairly spread out so it's a good idea to hire an auto-rickshaw in order to tour around them. They date from the 7th to the 13th centuries, a period which saw the waning of Buddhism and a revival of Hinduism under the successive dynasties that ruled Orissa. The main temples include the large Lingaraj Temple which is a complex that contains the main temple as well as some 150 smaller temples and shrines but is, unfortunately out of bounds to non-Hindu's. Most of the other temples worth visiting are located to the east of the Lingaraj Temple. These include the Parasurameswar Temple, (the oldest), the Mukteswar Temple with a wonderful arched torana (gateway), the Raja Rani Mandir which is very ornate and the Brahmeswar Mandir. There are also some 1st century BC caves worth visiting that are located 8km west of the city centre.