Modern city with glorious past and a religious center of Eastern India. Yes, it is about Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha (India). Bhubaneswar is among the very few well planned city like Chandigarh, Jaipur and Jamshedpur. German architect Otto Konigsberger had planned the city layout in 1946 with modern amenities like wide roads, parks and drainage system. Bhubaneswar also have a tag of ‘Temple city of India’ because of having more than 1000 small and big temples. From the ancient time Bhubaneswar was the culture capital for Hindus, Buddhist and Jain. It has numerous temples and heritage sites of National importance. Among all Lingaraja Temple and Udayagiri-Khandagiri caves are the major attractions around Bhubaneswar. It is also one of the three cities that make Easter Golden Triangle along with Konark and coastal city Puri.
Brief history of Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar’s rich history goes back to 3rd century BC, when this region was the part of Kalinga kingdom. The famous Kalinga war fought between Kalingan ruler and Mauryan Emperor Ashoka at Dhauli, which is only 8 km from Bhubaneswar. Ashoka repented on his deed after seeing millions of dead body, bloods, cries and pain. Then Ashoka decided to dedicate his rest life for the peace of mankind and embrace Buddhism. Ashoka made many Stupa to spread Buddhism and its lesson around the world. In Dhauli, you can see complete edicts of Ashoka on a rock. Similar kind of Stupa and Ashokan edict may be seen at Sanchi Stupa.
Read about Great Sanchi Stupa
After the fall of Mauryan, Mahameghavahana dynasty came into existence and Kharavela was the notable ruler of this dynasty. You can see Kharavela’s inscription in Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves near Bhubaneswar. This region remained under the influence of Buddhism and Jainism for several centuries.
In early 7th century, Somavamshi dynasty ruled this area and they constructed number of temples to empower Hinduism again. And from 12th century Eastern Gangas ruled over this region with their capital in Kalinganagar ( today’s Bhubaneswar).
In the British India Cuttack was the capital of Orisa province which shifted to Bhubaneswar after independence.
Heritage Site and famous temples in Bhubaneshwar
1) Lingaraja Temple- The most famous and sacred temple of Bhubaneswar in the older part of city. This temple complex has approx 50 other shrine within the compound wall. Main temple is 55 meter in height and great example of Kalinga architecture.
2) Khandagiri & Udayagiri– It is a group of 33 caves of 2nd century BC. These caves located on the two adjacent hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri. These were the temporary residence of Buddhist and Jain monks. This heritage site is just 6 km from Bhubaneswar Junction. Also read: Udayagiri caves at Madhya Pradesh
3) Muktesvara Temple- An ancient Hindu temple of Lord Shiva of 10th century which is now a heritage monument . It is one of the best temple in terms of architecture. It has a Toran or Gate which make it unique from other temple of Bhubaneswar.
4) Parashurameshvara Temple- It is the oldest Hindu temple of Bhubaneswar, it was build in 7th century in Nagara style of architecture. This temple shares the same monument complex of Muktesvara temple.
5) Brahmeswara Temple is also an important Hindu temple of 9th century belongs to Lord Shiva, people who appreciate ancient architecture love to visit this temple.
6) Rajarani Temple- This temple of 11th-century is another important landmark of the town, near Mukteshwar temple. It was originally known as Indreswara temple. Local people call it Love Temple because of many erotic sculpture it has.
7) Ananta Vasudeva Temple- It is the only ancient temple in the city belongs to Lord Krishna. This temple has idol of Krishna with Balrama and Subhadra.
8) Bindu Sarovara- or Bindu Sagar lies between Lingaraja temple and Mukteshwara temple. As per belief this Sarovara contains holy water collected from different holy sources of water of the world.
9) Ram Mandir- It is new temple in the heart of city near Kharavel Nagar, Janpath. The temple has idols of Lord Ram, Lakshman and Goddess Sita. Due to its high rise spire, one cane see it from many part of the city.
10) ISKCON Temple- This is one of the many temple made by ISKCON society for propagating and educating spiritual knowledge throughout India. These temple always famous for its architecture. There you find Bhajan and Kirtan going on regular basis.
11) Odisha State Museum- It is great museum that will tell you rich history of Kalinga kingdom and many other dynasty. This museum is lies in the heart of city.It was established in 1938 and later moved to a new building in 1960. Its galleries contain various antiquities like manuscripts, tools, weapons and armory.
12) Dhauli hill- This site belongs to famous Kalinga war, which transform Ashoka from an cruel emperor to Buddhist monk. Here you can see rock edict of Ashoka. A white Peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa) was built by Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha.
13) Nandankanan – Its a combination of Zoo and a botanical garden, about 20 km from main city. Its nice place to visit with family and see animals. You can various endangered species here.
14) 64 Yoginis Temple– It is one of the 5 famous 64 Yoginis Temples at Hirapur at a distance of 15 km from Bhubaneswar . It is an ancient temple of 9th century belongs to God Shiva and Goddess Parvati. These temples have great importance among the followers of Tantra Vidya. Here you will see 64 sculpture of Yogini placed along a circular compound wall.
15) Pipli- An artisan village situated on the junction of Konark and Puri route and 15 km from Bhubaneswar. It is known for the applique work. These artist full fill the demand raise from the temples during many festivals. People who like to explore traditional arts of India should explore this village.
How to reach Bhubaneswar
Air: Nearest Airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar and lies within the city . It has good connectivity of flights with other major Indian cities.
Rail: Bhubaneswar junction is major rail head. Numerous trains on Howrah to Puri or Howrah to South India route pass through Bhubaneswar.
Road: The city is well connected with other city of Odisha via AC/ Non-AC Buses and Baramunda Bus stand is the main bus stand of Bhubaneswar.
Local Transport: For the local transport you can book Auto rickshaw or Ola Cab service.
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