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Places to visit in Bhubaneswar

Discussion in 'East India' started by Sam Sung, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. Sam Sung

    Sam Sung New Member

    My stay in Bhubaneshwar will be for three weeks, and it would mainly be spent at a relatives house. I have seen the thread titled places to visit near Bhubaneswar, but I need to know about the places to visit in Bhubaneswar, so I can easily just make day trips.

    I would just be passing time, so whatever there is to see in Bhubaneswar, please do list.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Sam Sung! Welcome to the forum!

    Bhubaneswar is sometimes referred to as the Temple City, due to the large number of temples within it. It is the largest city and the capital of Odisha. It is also an emerging business hub of the country, where major industries like information technology, handicrafts and telecommunications are on the rise. Once you visit Bhubaneswar, you get a glimpse of the rich culture of the city along with the modern advancements it has to offer. Here are the main places that you can visit in Bhubaneswar:

    • Lingaraja Temple - The Lingaraja Temple is believed to have been built by Jajati Kesari back in the 11th century. Jajati Kesari was a Somavanshi king who ruled the region after transferring his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneswar. Some scholars believe though that the temple has been in existence since the 6th century as it finds mention in the sacred text of the Brahma Purana. The temple was made using red sandstone and laterite. Lingaraja literally means the King of Lingas, wherein Linga is a form of Shiva. The main attraction of the temple is of course, the main sanctum, also referred to as sanctum sanctorum. The granite lingam of Lord Shiva here is a swayambhu or self-originating one. There are also different halls within the main temple, namely: the festival hall with sculptures of both women and couples, the assembly hall with windows having sculptures of lions and lastly, the hall of offering which has decorative sculptures of men and beasts. At the main entrance of the temple, you would see a trident, representing Lord Shiva and a chakra, representing Lord Vishnu. Thus, this temple is dedicated to Harihara. Harihara is a combination of both Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara). The complex also houses the shrines of other Hindu gods and goddesses in its courtyard. The architectural brilliance and size of the temple can be overwhelming at first but this is what makes it stand out amongst all the other temples in Bhubaneswar.
    • Mukteswara Temple - Although this temple is smaller than the Lingaraja Temple, it still boasts of its architectural marvel. Some scholars refer to the temple as the Gem of Orissa which is quite appropriate as it became the prelude for a newer type of style for temples in the region. The construction of the temple can be traced back to the 950 AD although when exactly it is, it is not yet known. Even the builder who can be credited its building is not known. Mukteswara refers to the Lord Shiva, who gives freedom through yoga. This is quite evident with the different yogic positions that are sculpted in the temple. One of the main features of the temple is its torana or the arched doorway. This doorway has carvings of divinities, women and animals. At the back of the torana is the jagamohana, which is the first of its kind in Odisha, a pyramidal roof structure. Before this style, the conventional style for the roof was a two-tier one.
    • Ram Mandir - This is a newer temple in the city which doesn't have much to boast when it comes to its history but still serves its function as a temple. From the exterior, the temple is a bright red which makes it easily noticeable. The interiors are also brightly decorated. The main sanctum houses the idols of Lord Rama and his consort, Sita. The follower and friend of Rama, which is Hanuman, also has a shrine for him here. You can also find shrines for Lakshman and Shiva inside the temple premises.
    • Raja Rani Temple - A unique feature of this temple is that it doesn't have a presiding deity's idol in its main sanctum. However, the specific sculptures in the temple pertain to Shiva as its main deity. Believed to have been built in the 11th century, this temple gained popularity due to the Khajuraho-like sculptures within its premises. The temple was made using red and yellow sandstone, earning it the name Raja Rani. Most of the sculptures of the temple are of women, which are either dancing or doing day-to-day activities. From the torana (gateway) of the temple, there are also sculptures of the eight guardians namely: Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirriti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera and Ishana.
    • Dhauli Hill and Dhauligir Shanti Stupa - This is also known as the Peace Pagoda and is located in the Dhauli Hills in Bhubaneswar. This stupa was built by Sri Nitya Nanda Kanungo in the 1970s. The stupa was built to commemorate the bloody war which happened in the hills. This war is known as the Kalinga War. It took two years before it was finally completed in 1972. You can also find the Ashokan Edicts within the hill. It is believed that Ashoka realised the real repercussions of the war here and so he started building these pillars and stupas in the hill. The Dhauli Hills then became a major Buddhist pilgrimage site.
    • Chausath Yogini Temple - This is located outside of Bhubaneswar, about 20 kilometres away. The temple is dedicated to the 64 yogini forms of Goddess Durga. The main idol is of Goddess Kali, who stands in the centre of the temple, above a human head. Goddess Kali is revered as Mahamaya in here. It is believed that the Goddess assumed the forms of these demigoddesses to defeat a demon. All of these images are in standing position with their vahanas. All of these images are also inscribed in the walls of the temple and was made using black granite.
    • Parasurameswara Temple - This temple is one of the oldest but well-preserved temples in Bhubaneswar. It is believed that the temple was built by the Shailodbhavas, who were ardent worshippers of Lord Shiva. The date of the construction isn't clear but some scholars trace it back to the 7th century. The temple has two main parts, a sanctum tower and the assembly hall. The temple houses many sculptures most note-worthy of which is the six-armed image of Durga. The temple is mainly a Shiva shrine but has many images of Shaktas as well because the family did respect her.
    • Brahmeswara Temple - This temple was built in the 1058 CE, as stated by the inscriptions found in it, which are now lost. It was Kolavatidevi, the mother of Udyotakesari, who built the temple. The temple has two main parts, similar to the Parasurameswara Temple, a tower sanctum and the assembly hall. It also bears some resemblance to the Raja Rani Temple, due to the eight guardians also carved here. The assembly hall also has a lion head motif, similar to the Mukteswara Temple. In essence, this temple have bits and pieces of the other temples of Bhubaneswar. The doorway of the temple also displays some images of the gods holding a trident or even a human head.
    • Ananta Vasudeva Temple - This temple was built in the 13th century by Queen Chandrika. Originally though, there was an image of Lord Vishnu within the location of the temple. Queen Chandrika constructed a bigger temple, which was later improved by other rulers. Just like the Lingaraja Temple, the Ananta Vasudeva Temple also has a main sanctum, assembly hall, festival hall and hall of offering. The difference is that, instead of figures of Shiva, the temple has Vishnu images. The main sanctum has images of Lord Krishna, Subhadra and Balarama. Lord Krishna's idol holds mace, conch, lotus and chakra. The other two idols also has accessories, Subhadra holds jewel pots and Balarama is sheltered by a seven-hooded serpent. The walls of the temple are decorated with sculptures of women and of Vishnu.
    • Udayagiri Caves and Khandagiri Caves - These are natural caves which were sculpted to serve as meditation places for monks. The caves are located on two adjacent caves, Udayagiri and Khandagiri. The Udayagiri Caves are comprised of about 18 caves, while the Khandagiri Caves are comprised of about 15 caves. Most of the caves are plain but has sculptures depicting the daily lives of the monks back then. The most intricate cave in the Udayagiri Hill is the Cave No. 1, also known as Rani Gumpha. This cave has two storeys, the first floor has the entrance with pillars having animal sculptures while the arches have sculptures of women and couples. The second floor has sculptures of Jain symbols. The most intricate cave in the Khandagiri Hills is the Cave No. 3 or the Acanthi Gumpha. The sculptures in this cave are of boys chasing animals like geese and lions. There are also figures of women and other royal scenes.
    • Sisupalgarh - This is a fortification about 2,500 years old already in Khurda, near Bhubaneswar. The significance of this site is that many of the artefacts excavated here provide some insight as to how the people of that era lived. Some scholars believed that the fort was once home to about 25,000 people which is quite many comparing it to Athens, which only had 10,000 people back then. The excavations in the fort revealed many jewelries made of clay like rings, necklaces, bangles and earrings. Pottery items were also excavated in the region. The architectural beauty of the fort proves the brilliance of the Mauryan dynasty back then. It's best to visit this site now before it is destroyed as numerous encroachments are being done nearby it.
    • Biju Patnaik Park - This park was named after Shri Biju Patnaik, the former Chief Minister of Odisha. The park has musical fountains and sprawling gardens. The presence of boating facilities also encourage families to visit the park. The park is also adorned with several flower gardens which add colour to it. During night time, the park is illuminated by light which is quite a stunning sight to see.
    • Ekamra Kanan - This is the biggest park in Bhubaneswar, spread over 500 acres of land. The main attraction of the park is its Cactus Garden Glass House, which is home to over 1,000 species of cactus. The park also has many species of other plants, trees and flowers. There's also a mini-children's play area with some swings and slides within the park. For families, the park has boating facilities with several types of boats that you can rent.
    • Chandaka Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary - This wildlife sanctuary was established in 1982. The main attraction of the sanctuary are the Indian elephants, from which the life of the sanctuary depends upon. The Hanuman langurs, macaques, spotted deers, barking deers and mouse deers are the herbivores of the sanctuary. The panthers, sloth bears, hyenas and jackals are the carnivores of the sanctuary. You can also find reptile species such as pythons, cobras, mugger crocodiles and rat snakes within the premises. The sanctuary is also home to many species of birds like white wagtails, painted bush quails, crested serpent eagles and Indian cuckoos.
    • Nandankanan Zoological Park - This was opened in 1979 and is also known as the Garden of God. The park is known for its white tigers, which is about 34 in numbers at the last count. Mammals that reside in the park that are commonly spotted are Asiatic lions, lion-tailed macaques, Himalayan black bears and mouse deers. The park is also home to a number of resident birds with the occasional migratory birds. The park's fame to claim is also because they are the first to successfully breed black panthers.
    • Museum of Tribal Arts and Artefacts - This museum was established in 1953 and showcases the history and culture of the different tribes in Odisha. Some of the tribes who have their history outlined here are the Koya, Kutia Kandha, Saora, Paroja and Dongria Kandha. The first hall of the museum showcases the traditional clothing items and accessories worn by the tribes. The second hall showcases the personal items used by the tribes like smoking items and beauty items. The third hall showcases the weaponry items of the tribes like swords and knives. It also showcases the items used for hunting by the tribes like fishing nets, spears and traps. The fourth hall showcases the housewares of the tribes. The fifth hall showcases the musical and dance items of the tribes. Outside the museum, the courtyard showcases the traditional houses and places of worships of the tribes.
    • Odisha State Museum - This museum was established in 1932 but was opened to its present location only in the 1960s. The museum has many galleries, namely: archeology, epigraphy and numismatics, armoury, mining and geology, natural history, art and craft, contemporary art, anthropology gallery, palm leaf gallery, painting gallery and Gopabandhu gallery. The palm gallery is the main attraction as it displays a large number of manuscripts on palm leaves. You can also find other items such as Buddhist sculptures, weaponries, musical instruments and ancient coins.
    • Regional Museum of National History - This museum was opened to the public in 2004. Among the many exhibits here, the most intriguing ones are of the fossils of the toothed whale and the baleen whale. These fossils are maintained in a huge glass and you can definitely see the difference between the two species. The baleen whale fossil here is the largest of its kind in India. Another interesting animal here is the preserved pangolin, which can be quite fascinating to see especially if you haven't seen a real pangolin.
    I hope this helps.:)