On the shores of the Bay of Bengal is this very pretty temple of Lord Jagannath built in the 13th century made of sand stone. It is one of the 4 most sacreed piligrimages for Hindus. Jagannath Dharma is believed to transcend religions and 'cultism', it is the etrnal concept of spirituality. The Triad that Jagannath represents the creation, maintenace and destruction of this world. You will find people of all caste, creed and religion offering their prayers at this temple.
The prashadh of the puri temple is so famous that you will see serpentine queues waitng to collect the same. And there are so many varieties of sweets that are being sold as prashadham, we just collected the sweet given inside the holy abode as part of the pooja we offered to the God. Steer clear of phony priests who offer to help as these are just guides dressed like priests and they get violent and abusive if you refuse to tip them!
We made this journey of 2 hours to Konark from Bhubaneshwar. This was before the era of digital Cameras, however I shall attach some pics for the readers benefit. One stops breathing the first time they see this temple. I really thought Belur, Halebid and Hampi were the best, but the Sun Temple is equally remarkable in its architectural intricacies. It makes sense to ask for a guide as they show you so much more than what you are able to comprehend on your own.
Konark is derived from Kona-corner and arka-sun; built in 1278 it is one of the grandest temples in India. The entire temple is conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter.7 horses drag the temple and 2 lions guard the temple. The area is some 1000 acres and is sure to leave ann impression upon the visitors! It was built such that the first rays of the sun passed thru three doors to fall on the deity inside exactly!
It is described that in the part there was a load stone on the top of the Sun temple and due to its magnetic effects it was drawing vessels passing through the Konark sea resulting in heavy damage, so the temple was partially brought down by subsequent monarchs!
All in all, Konark is an architectural wonder and a must see for any body visiting India.
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. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Though managed by the Archaeological Survey of India, this thousand-year-old temple is an active place of Hindu worship. I saw several people make offerings and lie nearly prone in prayer. Admission is Rs 100, though there's no charge for still cameras.
Non-Hindus are not allowed onto the grounds of this complex, which includes a 180-foot high main temple -- dedicated to Tribhubaneswar, 'God of the Three Worlds' -- and dozens of smaller temples and shrines. My photos were taken from a platform, adjacent to the grounds, that offers a view of most of the structures. It's free, though a donation is expected: I gave the 'custodian' Rs 50 (about US$ 1.30).
Parts of the complex date back to the 8th century c.e., though the main temple is a work of the 11th century.
The Nandankanan Zoo, just outside Bhubaneswar, has the world's largest "collection" of white tigers, a mutation almost always the result of close relatives breeding, now mostly in captivity.
They're not albinos, as their black (or chocolate brown) stripes indicate. Among the other effects of the recessive gene that gives them white rather than orange fur are: 1) They're always cross-eyed. 2) They're larger than their "normal" (i.e., orange) tigers.
The zoo is better laid out than others I've seen in developing countries.
Unfortunately, "rich" tourists are treated specially. A six-year-old elephant was rousted from whatever it was doing to pose with me, rub my head with its trunk, and allow me to run my hand over that appendage. Cost: Rs 50 (about US$ 1.32).
The history of the Orissa State Museum dates back to 1932 when two historians in Cuttack started a collection of archaeological treasures from various places which they housed within the premises of Ravenshaw College in Cuttack. The state capital was then shifted to Bhubaneswar in 1948 and the current building was built to house the growing collection in 1960.
The 55,000 or so exhibits here are divided into sections that include archaeology, mining and geology, natural history, art and craft, contemporary art and anthropology. The collection includes musical instruments, coins, bronze age tools, armoury, Orissan tribal artefacts, costumes, manuscripts, inscriptions and stone carvings and is well worth a visit. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Open: Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays. Admission: Rs50 for foreigners.
This cave (cave 1) is a two-storey cave and is also known as "Queen's Palace Cave". It is the largest and most interesting of the caves as it has been carved with Jain symbols and battle scenes. Other carvings include woman dancing and playing music, kings and queens in courtly splendour, elephants, monkeys and foliage.
Located about 8km west of the city centre, these Jain caves date back to the 1st century BC. They are located in the twin hills of Udayagiri (Sunrise Hill) and Khandagiri (Broken Hill) which were made for monks to retreat to. As you approach them from the main highway, Udayagiri is on the right and contains the best caves. These include some 18 caves such as the Chhota Hathi Gumpha Cave or "Small Elephant Cave", Ganesh Gumpha Cave and Bagh Gumpha which is shaped like the open mouth of a tiger. On the other side of the small road lie 15 caves in Khandagiri which are less impressive than the ones on Udayagiri. At the top of this hill lies an 18th century Jain temple and the views over the flat plains with Bhubaneswar in the distance are best viewed at sunset. I took an auto-rickshaw from Bhubaneswar railway station (where I had just reserved a train) to here and back to my hotel near the station for Rs150 which wasn't bad considering I spent more than an hour here. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.
Open: Sunrise-sunset. Admission: Rs100 for foreigners.
This temple is located further east along Tankapani Road from the Raja Rani Mandir. It also stands in well kept parkland and is surrounded by a wall which houses four smaller temples at the corners inside. This temple was built around 1050 A.D. and is a smaller version of the Lingaraj Mandir. It shows mature workmanship and advanced architectural features. Here the canons of Orissan architecture is found to have been fully applied. Among the dated temples it is the earliest one where iron beams have been used, and where porch or the Jagamohana consists of the full-fledged Pidha-Deula with the usual crowning members.
This is the only temple that you have to pay an entrance fee in order to visit as it is an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) monument. It was built around 1100 A.D. and is surrounded by well groomed gardens which must've been maintained by the rather hefty admission fee.
The name of the temple has been the subject of much debate. The most likely explanation is that the name is related to the lovely red and gold sandstone used in its construction, a stone which is known locally as rajarani. The debate is complicated by the fact that the names of all the Hindu temples in Bhubaneswar dedicated to the God Shiva end in the suffix eswar (for example Parasurameswara, Mukteswara, etc), while those of the non-Shaivite temples are derived from their presiding deities (e.g. Parvati temple). The jagmohana (porch) is extremely plain, and was evidently repaired in 1903 after having fallen down in ruins. The deul (tower), on the other hand, is spectacularly ornate, and is famous for the aesthetic concept of miniature temple spires clustered around the main tower. The sculptural images of the temple are elegant and lively, especially the beautiful female figures which can be seen in amorous dalliance, as well as engaged in such activities as holding children, looking in mirrors, and playing with pet birds. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Open: Sunrise-sunset. Admission: Rs100 for foreigners.
This beautiful 8th century temple closely resembles the Parasurameswar Temple in architectural form and is the abode of Lord Shiva, known by the name Sisireshwara here. Sub shrines for the deities of Lord Ganesh, Lord Muruga and Mahishasuramardini are seen in the temple complex. This shrine is decorated with attractive carvings, floral motifs and murals. A relief of Kamadeva in the company of two females is the major attraction among the figures.
The Kedargauri Temple Complex is located just over the road from the Mukteshwar Temple and is one of the older temples in the city. The temple closely resembles the Siddheshwara Temple and boasts a pancha-ratha sanctum. The jagamohana (a rectangular hall with a sloping terrace) has a three-divisional wall with crowning ornaments, which are found in a developed Orissan temple.
This small but elegant temple was built around 950 A.D. and is often referred to as the "miniature gem of Orissan architecture". The frequency with which the term 'gem' is employed will be immediately appreciated with the very first glimpse of this delicate, refined little structure. The relationship with older structures can be immediately seen in the small size of the temple - 35ft (11m) high at the pinnacle of the tower. At this stage, Orissan builders had not yet attempted the later colossal structures. The latticed windows of the 'Jagmohana' (porch) were probably modelled on those of the Parsurameswara temple, which is located nearby, and the octagonal compound wall seems to have been patterned on an earlier structure which now exists only in fragmentary form. A 'torana' (arched gateway) which was excavated in a field near Bhubaneswar in fragments is now in the Orissa State Museum. It would seem that Mukteswara's own stunningly beautiful gateway was strongly based on this earlier example. The 'torana' is an extraordinarily beautiful sculpture that includes elaborate scrolls, graceful female figures, monkeys, peacocks, and a wealth of delicate and lovely decorative detail. On the eastern side of the temple compound is a sacred tank, and in the south west corner is a well which is said to cure fertility problems.
This temple is located in a compound that is also home to the Siddhesvara Temple.
The Siddhesvara Temple dates from the 10th century and is located a few meters away from the Mukteswar Temple. The temple is said to be at the height of the emergence of the typical Orissan form of temple architecture. A very graceful figure of the standing Lord Ganesh is the attraction of the temple.