Bhubaneshwar, the capital city of Odisha, is known for its temple architecture. There are a number of temples in this city and most of them are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
It is believed that Emperor Ashoka fought the famous Kalinga war in Bhubaneshwar. Later that he took to Buddhism because of the consequences of war.
Various temples with intricate sculptures and carvings, gave Bhubaneshwar the name as 'the city of temples'. The temples here have various architectural styles of different time periods.
Each temple has its own legend and history which is amazing to know. These ancient temples in Bhubaneshwar are some of the major tourist places in Odisha.
Parashurameshwar Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneshwar. Built around 7th - 8th centuries, this temple is believed to be the result of Parashurama's penance.
Main design of the temple belongs to the pre-Odishan style architecture. However, the Jagamohana ( hall of worshippers) is an additional feature along with Vimana ( inner Sanctum), which was not found in earlier temples.
This is a protected monument by ASI and a popular tourist place in Bhubaneshwar.
Photo Courtesy: Itikanta Mohapatra
Anantha Vasudeva Temple
Anantha Vasudeva is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna (incarnation of Vishnu). It was built in 13th century AD and the structure is almost similar to Lingaraj temple, except for the sculptures of Lord Vishnu.
In this temple, Balarama, Krishna and Subhadra are worshipped together. Anantha Vasudeva is a popular temple in Bhubaneshwar.
Photo Courtesy: Nayansatya
Mukteshvara temple is a 10th C architecture dedicated to Lord Shiva. Researchers say that, it was built after Parashurameshwar temple.
A unique feature is the torana ( arch gateway) which is not found in earlier temples. The structure shows an influence of Buddhist architecture.
Mukteshvara temple has many sculptures showing the 'Mudras' (poses) of yoga. Many researchers relate it as a centre of Tantric Shaivism.
Odisha Tourism Department organises an annual 3 day Mukteshvara Dance Festival, which celebrates the classical dance form 'Odissi'.
Photo Courtesy: Subhasisa Panigahi
Ram Mandir located in Janpath is at the heart of Bhubaneshwar. Temple spires are seen from many parts of the city.
Ram Mandir has Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshman as the main deities. It also has the idols of Shiva and Hanuman.
Photo Courtesy: ଜଗଦୀଶ ଉତ୍ତରକବାଟ
Lingaraj Temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bhubaneshwar. Dedicated to Harihara (Shiva), this temple has Kalinga architecture.
The main deity 'Harihara' is a combination of Vishnu and Shiva. Hence, Hari - Vishnu and Hara - Shiva.
It is one of the important landmarks of Bhubaneshwar and a major tourist place in the city.
Rajarani Temple is called as 'Love Temple' by locals as it has sensual carvings of couples and women.
Earlier known as Indreswara, the temple dates back to 11th - 12th centuries. There are many sculptures and carvings depicting Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati's marriage in the temple.
Today, it is an ancient temple protected under Archaeological Survey of India.
Photo Courtesy: Thamizhpparithi Maari
Vaithala Deula Shiva Temple
Vaithala Siva Temple known as 'Tini Mundia Mandira', is dedicated to Goddess Chamundi. It is built in Khakhara style of architecture, belonging to 9th C.
This a famous temple in Bhubaneshwar consisting of carvings of Chamundi or Durga , Shiva and Bhairava.
Photo Courtesy: Nayansatya
Brameswara Temple was built by Somavamsi king Udyotakesari during 9th C. It is called as Panchatanaya temple because apart from the main shrine, there are four other shrines in the corners of the temple.
The temple is said to have inscriptions about Queen Kolavati Devi and the beautiful women whom she brought indicating to the Devadasi traditon.
Devadasi tradition gained importance later in Odisha's temple architecture and temple life.
Photo Courtesy: Muk.khan
Chausathi Jogini Temple
Chausathi Jogini Temple in Hirapur was built by Queen Hiradevi of Brahma dynasty. A circular structured temple with the main deity Goddess Kali.
The wall of the temple has small compartments each housing small idols. There are 56 black granite idols of Joginis and 8 Goddess Durga idols. Together it is called as 64 Joginis temple depicting feminine power.
The legend is about Goddess Durga taking the form of 64 Joginis to defeat a demon. Now, maintained by ASI, Yogini Temple is a famous temple in Bhubaneshwar.
Photo Courtesy: Rohit Agarwal
In Jameshwara Temple Lord Shiva temple is worshipped by Yama. The temple built by sandstone is an old one and has a combination of different architectural styles.
It belongs to 14th C and the deity here has circular Yonipitha. Yameshwara temple is one of the oldest among the temples of Bhubaneshwar.
Photo Courtesy: Sujit kumar