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BHUBANESHWAR                 General Information of Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneshwar (Bhuban being world and Iswar God) once the ancient capital of the Kalinga empire and now the capital of Orissa is a town of temples and tanks with a rich history. Temples in Bhubaneshwar are built on a common plan as prescribed by Hindu norms and it is believed that the beauty of this place inspired Rabindranath Tagore to write poetry in the praise of Bhubaneshwar

Bindusagar Lake Situated to the north of the Lingaraja temple is a lake called the Bindusagar lake adding grace to Bhubaneshwar and attracting many tourists. Once a year the Lingaraj temple deity is brought out for the ritual bath in the centre of the tank and it is believed a dip in the holy tank at Bindusagar washes away all the sins.

Dhauli Dhauli hill is on the bank of the river Daya, about 8 kms south of Bhubaneshwar. In the year 272 B.C., the Kalinga-Nippon-Buddha Sangha established a peace pagoda (Shanti Stupa) at Dhauli along with the construction of a monastery called Saddharma. "Ashoka the Great" transformed totally and changed his mind in favour of spiritual conquests.

Jagannath Temple Fifty-five kilometers from Bhubaneshwar is the beach town of Puri. The city revolves around the great Jagannath Temple known for its famous 'Rath Yatra' or 'Car Festival'. Most tourists love the place for its beaches and consider getting up before sunrise to see fishing boats leave for the sea. Even before one enters the town of Puri, the 65 metre-high Jagannath Temple makes its presence felt. The sense of devotion heightens in Puri with nearly every aspect of the place touched by the aura of the magnificent temple.

Lingaraja Temple The largest and the most interesting temple in the city is the 11th century Lingaraj Temple which exhibits the temple art of several centuries. Shiva is the presiding deity but almost all Hindu gods are represented here. It is set in a huge walled-in compound with dozens of votive shrines. Pilgrims flock to the neighbouring Bindu Sagar Lake as it is believed that water from all the sacred rivers of India is gathered and it is therefore a very purifying experience to have a dip in the lake. The compound of the temple measures 520 by 465 feet. Its curvilinear tower (vimana) rises to a height of 127 feet. The tower has been built without mortar. It is hollow inside and you can reach its top by an staircase.

Mukteswara Temple This 10th century gem of a temple is an important transition points between the early and later phases of 'The Kalinga School of Temple Architecture'. Many elements of the older order have been blended with new designs and conceptions. Many of the innovations etched here became essential features of all later temples. Richly sculpted, the temple offers pride of place to tales from the Panchatantra. The niches on the outer face of the compound wall include Buddhist, Jain as well as Hindu images, pointing to the synthesis which was so much a part of Orissan religious life. The temple gateway, an arched masterpiece, is worth a visit. Beautiful sculptures include elaborate scrolls, graceful female figures and excellent decorative details characterise the archway.

Nandankanan Nandankanan literally means the 'Garden of Pleasure' or 'Garden of Gods'. It is in Chandaka forest, 25-kms from Bhubaneswar and is famed for its white tiger population. It houses a variety of mammals, reptiles and various species of birds. The zoo enjoys an excellent reputation internationally, for successfully breeding black panthers and gharial crocodiles.

Rajarani Temple One of the most delightful temples built on a more human scale is the 11th century Raj Rani Temple - standing alone in the green rice fields. It is perhaps the most harmoniously planned temple. Its decorations are beautiful and enchanting - the naked smiling nymphs, the embracing couples etc. Here the feminine form is the subject of glorification and incredibly seductive. It has been suggested that some pleasure-loving king of Orissa may have built it more as his pleasure retreat than as a prayer hall. It is perhaps the latest in date and the most refined. About a kilometer to the east of The Lingaraj temple is the "Grove of the Perfect Being.

Getting in, Around & Away

AIR : Bhubaneswar has an airport with regular flights to Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Varanasi, Raipur and Visakhapatnam

RAIL : Bhubaneshwar is directly connected by rail with Calcutta, Puri, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Tirupati and Trivandrum.

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