The Capital of the Indian State of Orissa, Bhubaneshwar is an ancient city which has been mentioned in the Mahabharata to be under the Chedi Kingdom under King Sisupala. The Ruins of Sisupalgarh were also excavated near Bhubaneswar which is believed to predate the Mauryan Empire and Kalinga. Bhubaneshwar was the capital of the Kalinga Dynasty with its history that goes beyond 2000 years in the past. The city was one of the 3 cities designed by the German Architect Otto Königsberger along with Chandigarh and Jamshedpur and was one of the first planned cities in Modern India. Here’s the list of the best places you can visit in Bhubaneshwar.
1. Parasurameswara Temple
One of the oldest existing temples in India, the Parasurameswara Temple was constructed between the 7th and the 8th century AD. The temple is built in the Nagara Style and is dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. The temple is exemplary of the Stone carving mastery of the artisans and is decorated with the most intricate carved sculptures of various Hindu deities.
2. Mukteshwar Temple
Also known as Mukteswara Deula, The Mukteswar Temple was built in the 10th century and is considered to be the gem of Orrisa Architecture. The famous arched gateway of the temple makes it unique amongst the other major temples in Orrisa. The temple Shikara (dome) is 10.5 meters high and is decorated with intricate stone carving.
3. Lingaraja Temple
Another ancient temple in built in the same style along with the aforementioned two, The Lingaraja Temple is the largest temple in the city of Bhubaneswar. The Temple is a marvelous example of the finesse of the Kalinga style architecture and was constructed in the 11th century AD. The primary deity of the temple is Lord Shiva who is worshipped in his Harihara form. The temple also contains several images of Vishnu and is a marvel to behold.
4. Udayagiri and Khandgiri Caves
The part natural and part artificial caves were built around the 1st century BC and the subsequent years by the Chedi Dynasty. The caves contain several Jain temples and monasteries said to have been built by King Kharavela and contains a total of 33 caves. Udayagiri and Khandgiri Caves are again exemplary of some fine stone carving by the Kalinga artisans.
5. Dhauli Hill
Located at the banks of the Daya River, the Dhauli hill is considered to be the place where the ancient Kalinga war took place. The edicts of Ashoka describing the ancient war can also be found here along with a rock-cut elephant. After the Kalinga war, King Ashoka was moved by the bloodshed and adopted the teachings of Buddhism and non-violence. A peace pagoda named the Shanti Stupa was also built here in the 1970s by the Japanese Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha.
6. Brahmeshwara Temple
Built in the 9th century AD, The Brahmeshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a marvelous example of the Kalinga Style architecture. The temple complex contains a main shrine surrounded by 4 smaller shrines. The doorways are ornate with stone carved figures and the 9 planets in Indian astrology. The towers are also decorated with armored figures and various mythical deities. The temple is must visit especially during the winters and major Hindu festivals.
7. Nandankanan Zoological Park
Spread across a massive area of 990 acres, the Nandankanan Zoological Park contains a zoo and a botanical park. It was inaugurated in 1979 and contains portions of the Chandaka Forests and Kanjia Lake. The Zoo contains several rare and endangered species such as White Tigers, Asiatic Lions, Crocodiles, Indian Pangolin and 34 aquariums that contains several species of fish. Make sure to visit the place on a winter afternoon to get the best out of the place.
8. Odisha State Museum
Odisha State Museum was established in 1938 and later moved to a new building in 1960. The museum contains over 10 galleries that contain various antiquities like manuscripts, tools, weapons and armory, scientific tools and natural history etc. make sure to visit the museum to know about the history of Orissa and Bhubaneshwar and the several dynasties and kingdoms who have ruled over Orissa since the ancient times.
With over 2000 temples, Bhubaneswar is often nicknamed the temple city of India. Containing all the temples in a single article is essentially a monolith task and the aforementioned places are an attempt of covering the best of the places the ancient city has to offer. One should not forget to try the wonder Oriya cuisines when visiting Bhubaneswar.
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