The Lingaraj Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is said to be known as one of the oldest pilgrimage centers in the city. Located in the midsts of several ancient monuments in Bhubaneswar, the temple sees a large number of religious tourists throughout the year. The shrine's main deity is known as Lingaraj, which literally translates to the 'King of Lingas' in Sanskrit. Apart from the spiritual and devotional significance that this place holds, the architecture displays a work of a genius. The tall rising 'gopuram' that overlooks its surrounding scenery, accompanied with intricate craftsmanship, is said to be a common feature of the Kalinga architecture. Around the vicinity of the shrine, there are different gods and goddess of Hinduism. It is supposed to reflect on the importance of each and sends out a universal message of 'one God in different forms'. Read the article below to know more about the Lingaraj Temple.
The Lingaraj Temple is a 1000 year old structure, built in the 11th century. When King Jajati Keshari shifted his military capital from Jajpur to Bhubaneswar, he erected the shrine. But historians believe that it existed ever since the 6th century as the sacred 7th century manuscript, Brahma Purana, stressed on the importance of worship of Lord Shiva in Bhubaneswar.
But like most others, the Lingaraja Temple also has an interesting mythological tale. It goes like this: once, Lord Shiva told his consort Parvathi why he favored the city Bhubaneswar over Benares. So she disguised herself as an ordinary cattle woman and ventured out to explore the city herself. During her journey, she came upon two demons named Kritti and Vasa, who wanted to marry her. Despite her constant refusal, the demons continued to pursue Parvathi. In order to protect herself, she destroyed them. Then, Lord Shiva descended and created the Bindu Saras Lake and resided there for eternity.
The Lingaraj Temple is known to be one of the oldest structures while historians believe that this shrine sheds some light on the peaceful co-existence of the worship of Lord Vishnu and Shiva, during the ancient period.
The main attractions of worship are the architecture of the temple itself. The Lingaraj shrine is known to be an overwhelming sight as it is the largest temple, in terms of height and distance, in the city. It is surrounded by old and intricate sculptures, magnificently structured courtyards that are accompanied by 150 smaller temples and its lofty tower.
The shrine is typically divided into four main sections. The first is the main sanctum and the remaining are the Yajna Shala, Bhoga Mandap and the Natya Shala. The temple compound also has several individual establishments that are dedicated to Goddess Bhuvaneshvari, Lord Narasimha, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Vishnu. But the area for Goddess Parvathi is said to be the most popular attraction.
The best time to visit the Lingaraj Temple is between January and March, to witness the divine festivity of Shivratri.
How to Get There
To visit the Lingaraj temple, you have to make a stopover at Bhubaneswar. The city is one of the popular tourist spots for both holiday makers and pilgrims around the country.
The Bjiu Patnaik Airport is located in the heart of the city centre and mainly operates domestic airlines. There are several flights that commute back and forth to metros in the country, on a daily basis. Some of the cities connecting to Bhubaneswar by air are New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore.
Bhubaneswar is the headquarters of the East coast of the Railway Division. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this city is well connected to other major railway junctions located in the metros. There are passenger trains which travel on a regular basis.
The city has good private and public bus service that runs on the state and national highway. The OSRTC (Odisha State Road Transport Corporation) is situated just 8km away from city center.
The Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar is a fine exhibition of divinity and unique structural skills that the city continues to boast of. Every year, the shrine is flocked by ardent devotees of Lord Shiva and enthusiastic tourists.