Temple Run in Bhubaneswar

The Mangaltorana, at the Muktesvara Temple

Those who follow this blog would know by now that I have a penchant for visiting temples. Now don't brand me as being a right wing-er or anything of that sort. I love going to temples for many reasons, and those include reasons beyond prayer. 

I prefer to visit old ones, with an element of history attached to it, to know and imagine how things might have been hundreds of years ago. You tell me about a newly constructed plush temple in marble- erm, I'd rather not visit.

On our recent visit to Bhubaneswar city, a quick internet search on 'things to do in Bhubaneswar' threw up expected search results- Puri, Konark, Puri Beach, Chilika Lake, etc. What was given in finer print was, one can also visit old carved temples located in the older part of the town... Thanks to a few friends whom I consulted, and their advice, I didn't miss these temples.

Well, after visiting a few of the many many gems, located well within the city, I can only say, if you don't visit at-least one or two of these architectural marvels, then you haven't visited Odisha!

Parasurameswar Temple

This was built in the year 650 A.D., meaning it's been standing there since more than 1,300 years! Among all the stone details, Mahishamardhini looks down at you in all her wild raw glory- this is one bit that stands out amidst everything. There is a lingam that adorns the courtyard, and behind the lingam are the Saptamatrikas that seem to keep guard!

CLICK HERE to read more about this temple.

Rajarani Temple

What differs from the other temples is the raised stone platform on which this temple is built; also naga-nagi pillars flank the main entrance. One feature that strikes you is the presence of relatively large human figures sculpted all around the temple walls. The expressions on the face is so real, you can almost imagine them smiling!

CLICK HERE to read more about this temple.

Bhaskareswar Temple

This is located very close to the Brahmeswar Temple. What sets it apart from the other temples is the conspicuous absence of the Jagamohana, typical of Odishan temples. Even the vimana (gopura) is not like the other temples, and is slightly different in shape. You can relax in the large courtyard and take in some fresh air, before continuing with your further plans for the day.

CLICK HERE to read more about this temple.

Brahmeswar Temple

One feature that sets this temple apart from the others, is the presence of four small shrines around the main shrine. One recurring feature is that of a warrior wielding a sword, atop a horse, whose both forelimbs are placed on a crouching elephant. 
There are human figurines in intimate positions as well, as seen below. But the grace and divinity in their embrace is something I cannot quite effectively describe.

CLICK HERE to read more about this temple.

Muktesvara temple 

This temple is acclaimed as a 'gem of Odishan architecture' and belongs to the 10th century AD. The piece de resistance of this temple is the great arch, the mangalatorana, which is lavishly decorated with human figures and artistic exaggerations. It stands right opposite the Siddheswar Temple. Also seen is the kritimukha motif on the southern aspect of the vimana.

CLICK HERE to read more about this temple.

Siddheswar Temple 

Situated right opposite the Muktesvara Temple, what makes this one special is the presence of four roaring lions etched onto the vimana, facing all four directions. And as seen in other temples, the vimana is beautifully done in sandstone. Right by the temple, stand five small shrine like structures, too small to qualify as even minor temples.

CLICK HERE to read more about this temple.

Lingaraj Temple 

I purposely have put this in the end, as this is the most well know of the lot. Mobiles and photography are strictly restricted. There is a platform right by the wall that surrounds the temple, and one can get a panoramic view of the temple from here. Unfortunately, I learnt about this platform later. A short walk from here is the Bindu Sagar lake, a nice place to spend a quiet evening, watching people fishing for their evening meal.


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