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Lingaraja Temple Bhubaneswar

by Nita Mishra

Lingaraja Temple, a Hindu sanctuary devoted to Lord Shiva and a timeless gem nestled in the heart of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, India. Embark on a virtual journey with us as we unravel the fascinating story of this ancient temple, a beacon of spiritual and architectural brilliance.

A Glimpse into History:

Let’s step back in time to the eleventh century, where the Lingaraja Temple, in its present form, emerged as a testament to architectural grandeur. Built by the kings of the Somavamsi dynasty, with later enhancements by the Ganga rulers, this temple stands as the largest in Bhubaneswar, boasting a central tower soaring to a height of 180 feet.

The Lingaraja Temple is a masterpiece of Kalinga architecture, showcasing four key components: the vimana (sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall), and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings). The temple complex, enclosed by a vast compound wall, houses 108 other shrines, making it a captivating site for both history enthusiasts and architecture aficionados.

A Sacred Haven:

Bhubaneswar is affectionately known as the Ekamra Kshetra, a title earned from the Ekamra Purana, a 13th-century Sanskrit treatise. According to legend, the deity of Lingaraja was initially situated under a mango tree (Ekamra). Unlike many other temples in Bhubaneswar, Lingaraja Temple remains an active center of worship, welcoming an average of 6,000 visitors daily and drawing crowds in the lakhs during festivals.

The Lingaraja Temple’s religious significance extends beyond its dedication to Shiva, featuring images of Vishnu, a nod to the rising influence of the Jagannath sect from the Ganga rulers. The temple is meticulously maintained by the Temple Trust Board and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Architectural Marvel:

Marvel at the Lingaraja Temple’s architectural splendor, hailed by James Fergusson as “one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India.” The temple’s square plan, built with sandstone and laterite, showcases intricate carvings and a towering spire that reaches 45.11 meters.

Explore the temple’s various components, from the majestic vimana to the ornate bhoga-mandapa. The Lingaraja Temple is not only a visual delight but also a testament to the craftsmanship of its builders.

Religious Practices and Festivals:

Immerse yourself in the vibrant religious practices and festivals that breathe life into the Lingaraja Temple. Shivaratri, the grand celebration, witnesses thousands of devotees flocking to the temple, offering bel leaves to Lingaraja and partaking in day-long prayers.

The Lingaraja Temple follows a meticulous daily schedule of rituals, offering a glimpse into the spiritual routine that sustains its divine aura. Festivals like Rukuna Ratha yatra and Chandan Yatra add a colorful tapestry to the temple’s annual calendar.

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