Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as
the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar
or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage
centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which
once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place
where temple building activities of Orissan style flowered from
its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period
of over one thousand years.
The new Bhubaneswar with its modern buildings and extensive infrastructure
perfectly complements its historic surroundings. With facilities
to cater to every type of visitor, Bhubaneswar makes an ideal tourist
Surrounded by paddy fields, the Dhauli hill brings back memories
of the historic 'Kalinga war' which was fought around here. It is
here that Ashoka, the terrible, was transformed into Ashoka, the
compassionate and championed the cause of Buddhism. On the foot
of the hill one can see the Rock Edicts of Ashoka and the forepart
of a skillfully sculpted elephant hewn out of a huge rock. Dhauli
has gained prominence due to the establishment of a Buddhist Peace
Pagoda, popularly known as Shanti Stupa, built in the early seventies
by the Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. An
old temple of Lord Dhavaleswar, reconstructed in 1972, also stands
on the hill-top.
Picturesquely carved out of the Chandaka forest, Nandankanan is
a Biological Park where animals are kept in their natural habitat.
A centrally located lake divides the Zoo from the Botanical Gardens.
Tigers, Lions, Clouded Leopards, Black Panthers, European Brown
Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Gharials, Rosy Pelican, Grey Pelican,
Indian Python, King Cobra, etc. are among the attractions of the
zoo, which is famous for its White Tigers. The exotic Botanical
Garden on the other side of the zoo preserves varieties of indigenous
plants. Regular bus services are available to reach the place.
It is said that Lord Shiva established this tank as a place of pilgrimage
by bringing water from all the holy places. Taking bath here and
drinking the water of this lake is said to cure any disease of the
stomach. Lord Chaitanya took bath in this lake when He first came
from Bengal to Puri. It is located right next to the Lingaraja Temple
. A pilgrimage to Bhubaneswar is supposed to start with a bath here.
On the eastern bank is the 'Ananta Vasudeva' temple , which is dedicated
to Krishna and Balarama.The Lingaraja deity is brought to the pavilion
in the middle of the tank and ritually bathed during the annual
Car festival ('Ashokastami '). The best time to come here is around
Lingaraja Temple (11th century)
The Lingaraja temple dominates the skyline of Bhubaneshwar from
as far away as 15-kms and exhibits the skill of the Orissan temple
architects at its completely mature and developed stage. This temple
was constructed in the 11th Century AD at the site of an old 7th
Century Shrine. Along with the 'deul' and the 'Jagmohana' the Lingaraja
temple has two new structures, the 'Nata Mandira' (dance hall) and
the ' Bhoga Mandapa' (offering hall). Dedicated to Lord Shiva the
'Lingam' here is unique in that it is a 'Hari Hara' lingam - half
Siva and Half Vishnu. There are around 150 subsidiary shrines within
this giant temple.
Often referred to as the 'Gem of Orissan Architecture' this temple
has been built on the
lines of the Kalinga School of temple architecture. This temple
too is a deviation in that the architects have blended old and new
techniques of planning and execution. Many new innovations in later
temples are from here. A 'Torana', an arched gateway is a unique
feature of this temple.
The temple dedicated Lord Shiva-Mukteswara , is carved with figures
of ascetics in various poses of meditation and scenes from the storehouse
of Indian fables, the 'Panchatantra'. A dip in a sacred well to
the east of the temple is supposedly a cure for infertility.
Parasurameswara Temple built in 650 AD is one of the few earliest
temples of Bhubaneshwar. This temple built in the 'Kalinga' style
of temple architecture was dedicated to Lord Siva but there are
images of Lord Vishnu, 'Yama', 'Surya' and seven Mother Goddesses.
In typical fashion, it is liberally sculpted with amorous couples,
animals and floral motifs.
Just south of Parasurameswara temple is the 'Swaranajaleswara'
temple is the 'Swaranajaleswara' temple. Built in
a similar style, the motifs on the walls however differ, depicting
scenes from the 'Ramayana'.
Raj Rani Temple
The Raja Rani temple is an essay in grace and poise and is particularly
interesting in that it has no presiding deity. The name of this
temple is supposed to be derived from the red-gold sandstone used
- Raja Rani being the local name for the stone. The 'deul' is intricately
carved with figurines in various stages of daily chores. The lower
portion of the deul has the 'Gurdians of the eight directions' guarding
the eight cardinal points of the temple.
Brahmeswara temple depicts the mature Orissan style of temple architecture.
The 'deul' and the 'Jagmohana' are both intricately carved and for
the first time in temple architectural history musicians and dancers
appear on the outer walls and iron beams find their first use. In
the western section 'Chamunda', Shiva and other deities are depicted.
Vaital Deul Temple
Vaital Deul is the Shrine of 'Chamunda' or 'Shakti'. Seated on a
corpse in a dark inner sanctum is the Goddess Chamunda, garland
of skulls round her neck and flanked by a jackal and an owl. The
niches on the inner wall depict equally startling images along with
scenes of tantric rituals. It is the first of the temples to depict
erotic sculptures, it is also unique in that the outer surface of
the vault is plain while profusely embellished on the inside.
Standing to a height of about 9.45m. On the south-bank of Bindu-Sarovara,
it is, in its architectural features, a close analogue to the Parasuramesvara
temple . Its carvings, however, were left unfinished. The damaged
jagamohana has been restored recently. All the images of Parsva-Devatas-
Parvati, Kartikeya and Ganesa- are in situ.
On the body of the deul are incised a few short records. Inside
the sanctum is a ten-armed dancing icon of Chamunda, terrific to
behold. On the floor of the jagamohana lies a six-armed image of
'Mahishasuramardini'. Its original 'Garbha-Muda' above the present
wooden ceiling is distinguished by a carved lotus on the topmost
stone capping the corbels. There is at least one more chamber over
This temple, on the north bank of Bindu-Sarovara, consisting of
the deul and jagamohana of the Parasuramesvara type, has its superstructure
above the first 'Bhumi-Amla' plastered in the course of repairs
and restorations. Of the images of Parsva-Devatas, Kartikeya presents
an interesting variation. Noted for the plasticity of modelling,
the deity stands without his mount, holding in his left hand a long
spear, his right hand akimbo.
By the side of the main road, a few metres to the north of the Lingaraja
temple , is the Gauri-Sankara-Ganesa shrine, half-buried under the
age-long accumulation of debris, raising the road-level nearly to
the height of its bada. A narrow flight of steps gives access to
the temple, which consists of the deul only.
As in the case of the Mohini temple, its carvings were left incomplete.
The crowning member, consisting of a cylindrical object, octagonal
below and round above, over the 'Khapuri' is partially
preserved, and we have here three 'Bhumi-Varandis' instead of the
Just two km from the famed Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar lie the
ruins of Sisupalgarh. Dating back to the third or fourth century
BC, these ruins show that even at that early date there was a well
fortified city here, and establish the fact that the Orissan civilization
has very ancient roots.
Hirapur has the 11th century Hypaethral temple of sixty four Yoginis.
It is second of its kind in Orissa and one of four such unique temples
Situated amidst greenery and famous for the hot sulphur water spring,
Atri, 42 km. from Bhubaneswar and 14 km. from Khurda, is also a
holy place with the shrine of Hatakeswar. A bath in the spring water
is reputed to cure skin diseases apart from being a pleasant experience.
- Baya Baba Matha
- Ram Mandir
- Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir
- ISKCON Temple
- Biju Patanaik Park
- Buddha Jayanti Park
- Ekamra Kanan / Cactus Garden
- Forest Park
- Gandhi Park
- I.G. Park
- IMFA Park
- Kharavela Park
- S.P. Mukherjee Park
- Subas Bose Park
- State Museum
- Tribal Museum
of the Region
Silver filigree, Stone and Wood carving, Patta paintings, Tie and
Dye textiles, bamboo basketry, brass and bell metal work, horn work,
and many other famous handicrafts of Orissa can be selected as souvenirs
from the local markets. Purchases can be made from Utkalika (run
by the Department of Handicrafts) or at the many privately run shops.
- Ekamra Haat
- Sambalpuri Bastralaya
Bhubaneswar is well connected by air, rail and road to the rest
of India. The modern Biju Patnaik airport is being extended to receive
wide bodied aircraft, and one may well see international charters
landing here soon.
There are regular Indian Airlines flights to Hyderabad, Nagpur,
Calcutta, Delhi, Varanasi, Bombay and Madras. The airport is very
close to town. If you have an early morning flight, it is a good
idea to have your hotel arrange a taxi the night before and pay
a little more to avoid the morning inconvenience of finding a taxi
at that time. The Indian Airline office is on Raj Path, by the bus
Bhubaneswar is on the main Calcutta to Madras line so all the main
trains stop here. The Howrah-Bangalore mail and Guwahati-Bangalore
go to Bangalore. The Coromandel Express is a good train going to
Madras. There are direct trains to Delhi, Agra, Remuna, and Varanasi.
The Rajdhani Express departs from Delhi one day a week on Friday
to Bhubaneswar. The Puri-New Delhi Express is a good train to Delhi.
The best way to get from Bhubaneswar to Puri is on one of the Canter
minibuses that leave from the old bus station in the center of town,
the new bus stand, and from the petrol station opposite the Ashok
Hotel. They take a little more than an hour to get to Puri. There
are also larger buses that go Puri, but they are slower than the
minibuses. It is best to get an Express bus to Puri, which make
only one stop en route. There is a direct bus to Konark too. If
one misses out the direct bus, one can take a Puri buses to Pipli
and from there get another bus to Konark.
Most of the long-distance buses depart from the new bus stand (Baramunda
Bus Stand), which is about 5-km from downtown on the main road to
Calcutta. There are buses to Calcutta, Cuttack (10 hr), and other
places in Orissa . Buses to Puri also leave from this station.
Temperature (deg C)
Summer - Max.38, Min.27.1
Winter - Max.28.2, Min.15.2
Mid June-September 60 inches (152 cms)
Best season : Bhubaneswar can be
visited round the year, but the ideal time, especially for visitors
from colder climes, would be from October to March.
General Information & Accomdation info on Bhubaneshwar city
of Orissa - India