Lingaraja Temple – The Ancient Largest Temple of Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Located in the capital city of Odisha, Bhubaneswar, Lingaraja temple is believed to be referred among the oldest and largest temple of the city that is built by Jajati Keshari. Constructed in 11th century, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and highly adored by Hindu followers. The location of the temple is at the centre of the city and is easily accessible from other parts. The term ‘Lingaraja’ depicts to the ‘King of Lingas’, where ‘Lingam or Linga’ symbolizes Lord Shiva.
History of the temple:
Lingaraj temple is been mentioned even in the famous Hindu scripture that is Brahma Purana. The present architecture of the temple is supposed to be built in 11th century, not less than 1000 years old. Though, there are certain parts in the temple that are well acknowledged and known to date back 6th century or so. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is the destructor of all evils and a lot of followers simply seek for the blessings of the deity and come here in large numbers. When the construction of this temple was almost in completion, the construction of Lord Jagannath temple started and it is been believed and widespread with this that both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are worshipped here.
Architecture of the temple:
The overall architecture of Lingaraj temple reflects a colour with a certain shade of Kalinga style. Made up from red sandstone of the darkest shade, the temple is spread in a huge area with a tall spire extending to the height of 55 meters reaching out to the skyline of the city. The spacious and beautiful courtyard of the temple equips over 50 small shrines dedicated to different deities of Hindu place of worship. The walls are massive carved splendidly with sculptures and visitors can enter the temple complex through the Lion’s gate or Simha Dwara, where lions ham are there on both sides, smashing elephants under their feet. An optical effect generates with the deep cut warped lines running perpendicularly on the spire and due to this, temple appears much bigger in size than the actual. Adding to this, the spire has miniature replicas in the steeples that are imbibed ideally in the entire structure.
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Main Shrine of the temple:
Lingaraja temple in general is divided into four parts covering the Yajna Shala, Garbh Griha, Bhoga Mandap and Natya Shala.
Garbh Griha – Also referred to as Sanctum Sanctorum, Lord Shiva lingam or ‘Swayambhu’ is worshipped as both Lord Shiva and Vishnu. At the main entrance, on either side of the door, people can see a trident – Lord Shiva as well as Chakra – Lord Vishnu on the other side. The deities are worshipped here as Hari Hara, where the term ‘Hari’ depicts to Lord Vishnu and ‘Hara’ depicts to Lord Shiva. The Linga huge image is made up of granite stone and it is bathed with milk, water and bhang each day.
Aside from this, in Nata Mandir, devadasi tradition is followed and in Parsva Devta site, Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Kartikey are placed in different directions. All idols are huge representing an excellent work of craftsmanship and dedication. The images are adorned with remarkable ornaments, rich draperies and more.
Best Time to Visit:
Depicting the rich legacy of Indian tradition and culture, Lingaraj temple allures attention of thousands of devotees along with pilgrims from each corner of the country and world to its doorstep throughout the year. It is indeed worth to visit and to get a feel of the spiritual ecstasy and joy. The best time to visit the temple is in between January and March that allow its visitors to seek the blessings of the divinity and Shiv Ratri celebration is also held at that time in the temple.
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How to Reach:
To reach and visit the Lingaraj temple, it is must to take a stopover at Bhubaneswar first, which is also among one of the highly visited tourist destinations of India. The temple could be reached easily by all means including rail, road and air without any problem.
• By Air – Biju Patnaik airport is located in the centre of the city and operates in a number of domestic flights moving back and forth from Bhubaneswar to other major cities.
• By Road – There are many buses, both public and private running all along the city and on highways.
• By Train – The headquartered Eastern railway division is located in Bhubaneswar, which is why it is certainly going to be well connected with other railway stations for sure. Also, a large number of passenger trains run in the city on daily basis.
Timings to visit the temple:
Lingaraj temple is open throughout the week in between 5 AM to 9 PM.
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