Hindu Pilgrimage
Bhubaneswar, the 'Cathedral City' was once the capital of an ancient kingdom. Today this hustling centre for commerce and religious activity is Orissa's modern capital. Having merged its intriguing past so uniquely with its modern aspirations, it forms an integral link in the Golden Triangle that incorporates the holy city of Puri and Konark, for the tourists that flock to pay their homage to the religious, cultural and natural wonders that abound here.

The striking features of the city are the numerous temples and shrines that seem to be all around you. Bhubaneswar's skyline is dominated by some of the most spectacular engineering and artistic feats of its ancient heritage. The imposing spire of the Lingaraj Temple, the quiet beauty of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and the pink transluscence of the Mahavira Jain Temple in nearby Khandagiri, inspire feelings of wonder at their sheer beauty and their cross-cultural permutations. These three alone offer an excellent insight into the ancient cultural strength of Orissa and are well-worth exploring at greater length.

How to Reach

Bhubaneswar is connected to the cities of Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad, and Raipur through regular flights. Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar is the only major airport in the state.
Bhubaneswar is directly connected by rail with Calcutta, Puri, Madras, Delhi, Bombay, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Tirupati, and Trivandrum.
Roads are linked with Bhubaneswar and Berhampur, Chilka, Cuttack, Konark, Paradip, Puri, Rourkela, Sambalpur and other places. Interstate bus services operate daily between Calcutta and Puri via Bhubaneswar and Tatanagar (Jamshedpur).

Sights to Visit

Among the finest of its 600 temples is the Lingaraja Temple of Shiva, built in the 11th century. It is also the biggest in Bhubaneswar.

No less famous is the Mukteswara Temple which was built in the 10th century. It is well known for its stone arch at the entrance and is richly sculpted. With the tales from the Panchatantra carved on it, the temple is a magnificent example of Orissan architecture. The Rajarani Temple, set in picturesque surrounding, is noted for its intricate carvings of floral, animal and human figures. Constructed in the 11th century, it has an unusual tower. More interestingly, the temple has no deity.

Close to the Mukteswara Temple is the Parsurameswara Temple, a small but richly decorated shrine of Shiva that was built in the 7th century. It is one of the best preserved. It has sculptures featuring amorous couples, animals and floral motifs. The Svarnajaleswara Temple located a little south of Parsurameswara Temple has beautiful depictions from the epic Ramayana. Vaital Temple is architecturally striking. It is a temple for Goddess Chamunda (Kapali) and has a tantric influence. About 15 km from Bhubaneswar is the Yogini Temple at Hirapur. One of the four Yogini Temples in India, it has beautiful Yoginis carved from black chlorite.

The Buddhist influence is spread all over Bhubaneswar. Ashokan Rock Edict is situated at Dhauli, 8 km south of the city. The sculpted elephant atop the edict signifies the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism after his Kalinga victory. This is said to be the earliest rock-cut sculpture in India.

On the Dhauligiri Hills, where the great Kalinga war was fought, stands a very modern monument to world peace, the Vishwa Shanti Stupa. This magnificent Buddhist Temple was built by Indo-Japanese collaboration. Below the Dhauligiri Hills, the river Daya flows peacefully.

Rock-Cut Caves are also seen on the hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri which are about 8 km from Bhubaneswar. The double-storeyed Rani Gumpha (Queen’s Cave) is the largest cave with ornate carvings.

The Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave) has the Chronicle of King Kharavela carved on it.

The excavated ancient township Sisupalgarh lies a few kilometers southeast of the city towards Puri. A fortified town surrounded by a natural moat, it was probably the capital of Kalinga in the 2nd century B. C.

Bhubaneswar has three museums, one celebrating Orissan heritage and the others; the handicrafts and the tribal research museum. The Orissa State Museum in the city has a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and bronze-age tools, rare palm leaf manuscripts and traditional folk and musical instruments. The Handicrafts Museum has a handsome collection of stone sculptures, patta-paintings, brass castings, horn toys and silver filigree.

While the temple and monuments and redolent with the culture of a hoary era, the vibrance of life throbs in the sprawling Nandan Kanan Zoological Park. Endowed with a natural lake, it is known for the rare white tigers and migratory birds which nest here during winter. It has also the country’s largest Lion Safari Park and White Tiger safari with Ropeway and Toy Train. The park is located 20 km from Bhubaneswar but it is closed on Mondays.

Another attraction is the Atri Hot Sulphur Spring. 42 km from Bhubaneswar, near the famous Hatakeswara Temple. It has a Bathing Complex for tourists.

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