With #MahaShivRatri being celebrated in Odisha today,tweeting some facts on Shiva Temples in Odisha, a place where I spent 4 yrs, a Karma Bhumi of sorts to me.Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha , is named after Shiva, one of his names being Tribhuvaneshwara-Lord of the 3 Worlds.
Bhubaneshwar is also called as the Temple City, due to the large number of Temples, and a majority of them are dedicated to Lord Shiva. One of the more popular names for Bhubaneshwar is Ekamra, due to the fact that Shiva meditated under a tree with one mango.
There are at least 30-40 Shiva Temples in Bhubaneshwar still existing, of which Lingaraja, Mukteswar, Parasurameswar are the more known.Of all the temples in Bhubaneshwar the Lingaraja Temple is the most prominent one, with it's 180 ft tall tower
Lingaraj Temple represents the best of the Kalinga style of architecture too, built in the traditional Deula manner.Temples in Kalinga architecture have 4 parts-Vimana(Sanctum Sanctorum),Jagmohana(Assembly Hall),Natamandira(Festival Hall) ,Bhoga Mandap.
Lingaraja Temple dates back to around late 11th century, mostly built by kings from the Somavamsa, with later additions by the Ganga rulers.Jajati Keshari was believed to have built the Lingaraja Temple during the 11th Century, and it is the largest in Bhubaneshwar.
The Lingaraja Temple is built mainly with sandstone, and follows the typical Kalinga style with a Vimana, Jagmohana, Nata Mandira.While essentially Shaivite, under the Ganga Rulers, certain elements of Vaishnavism were also introduced in the Lingaraj Temple.
During the reign of the Ganga rulers, the deity in Lingaraja Temple was worshipped as Harihara, representing both Shiva and Vishnu.The Bindusagar Tank near Lingaraja Temple is believed to contain drops of all major rivers in India,
The central tower of the Lingaraja Temple, that can be seen from a distance. As also it's interiors, richly carved and decorated.
Not a very well known one, but worth a visit is the Ashthashambu Siva temple in Bhubaneshwar, 8 temple complex.
The next largest Shiva Temple in Bhubaneshwar is the Mukteswara Temple, known for it's architecture. Shiva here is worshiped as the giver of Mukti. Has beautiful carvings inside the temple.
Parasurameshwar Temple in Bhubaneshwar, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the oldest dating back to 8th century. Main tower has some awesome sculpture again. It's believed that Parashuram did penace to Shiva here, also one of the earliest to show Durga in Mahishasur Mardini form.
One very unique Shiva Temple in Odisha is the Leaning Temple at Huma in Sambalpur dist. No one is sure why the main tower of the Shiva Temple at Huma, in Sambalpur dist leans, reason not found yet.
Brahmeswara Temple at Bhubaneshwar, again dating back to end of 9th century, built in a more pyramid structure.
Indralath temple at Bolangir, so called as Indra was believed to have worshiped Shiva here, built with bricks.
Kapileshwara Temple on outskirts of Bhubaneshwar, often believed to be a twin to Lingaraja Temple.
Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneshwar, dedicated to Shiva, but there are no idols of any deity inside the sanctum
Also the Raja Rani Temple like most in Odisha is famous for it's carvings of Nayikas.
One more worth visiting temple is Ajaikapada Bhairava Temple in Jagatsingpur district. Shiva is worshipped in Ajaikapada as Ekapada Bhairava, a one footed aspect of him,
Akhandalamani Temple in Bhadrak is a smaller one, located on Baitarani river, very picturesque.
Annakoteshwara Temple in Dhenkanal district, where Shiva is worshiped as Annakotisvara, surrounded by forest.
Dhabaleshwar Temple located on an island in the Mahanadi near Cuttack, nice ambience,.
One Shiva Temple that is a must visit in Odisha, is the Gupteswar Cave Temple in Koraput district, located in a very thick forest. As the name indicates, the Shiva Linga at Gupteswar is located in a cave surrounded by a forest
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