Odisha is a state in India which has a really rich culture. The state has several historical temples like the Sun Temple and the Jagannath Temple. In this article, we are going to talk about one of the ancient Shiv Temple in Odisha. If you guessed the name as Lingaraja Temple then you are right. We are going to talk about Lingaraja Temple today which is located in Bhubaneswar. It is known that the temple was built in the 11th century CE by Jajati Keshari and it is also the largest temple in Bhubaneswar.
So, let us get into the more details of this amazing and enormous Shiv Temple
As mentioned above, the Lingaraja temple was built in the 11th century CE and the temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per some of the 7th century Sanskrit text, the temple was built in the 6th century CE. However, carbon dating suggests that a portion of the temple was also built in the 11th century CE. There are some contradictions about the same. Most of the scripts refer to a grant which was offered to the people of the village after the temple was completed. There are again contradictory texts about who exactly built the temple.
- Talking about the architecture of Lingaraja Temple, it is known that it is one of the best examples of pure Hindu temple in India.
- The temple is enclosed in the compound wall which is 520 feet in length and 465 feet in breadth. In addition to this, the thickness of the wall is 7.5 feet. Apart from this, it is known that the tower in the main temple is 148 feet high.
- The architecture of the temple also includes a terrace so as to protect the temple from any attack or invasion.
- There are almost 150 smaller shrines located in the courtyard of the temple and the door of the entrance is made of the sandalwood.
- The temple is east facing and most of the construction is completed with sandstone as well as laterite. The main temple consists of Vimana, Jagamohana, Natamandira and Bhoga These are located in an axial manner.
Interesting Facts about the Lingaraja Temple, Odisha
1. Lingaraja Temple is one of the largest temples in Bhubaneswar and the height of the temple is 180 feet. As mentioned earlier, there are 150 temples inside the courtyard of the temple.
2. A portion of the temple is believed to be built in the 6th century and rest of the parts are believed to be completed in the 11th century.
3. It is believed that the Bindusagar Tank which is located near the Lingaraja Temple consists of drops from all the major rivers in India and this fact makes it really unique.
4. The central tower in the temple is huge and it can be seen from a long distance. In addition to this, the tower is inscribed with the scripts.
5. There is a Vaital Temple located in the courtyard of Lingaraja Temple and this temple has a combination of elements from Buddhist, Tantric and Vedic Traditions.
6. The temple has an image of Lingaraja and there is Mahasanan that happens many times in the day. After the Mahasanan, the image is decorated with cloth, sandal paste and a lot of flowers. You must check out this ceremony.
7. One of the flowers which is usually offered in the Shiva Temples is Hemlock but you may be surprised to know that this is not allowed in the Lingaraja Temple. Instead, you can offer Bilva Leaves and Tulasi Leaves for the offering.
8. Prasad is offered daily in the temple and this usually includes rice, sweets and curries. Apart from that, Bhang is also offered to the lord in the temple. This is one of the most common sites during the Odia New Year which is also referred to as Pana Sankaranti. Once the food is offered to Lord Shiva, it is distributed to the visitors and it is known as Mahaprasada.
9. Presently, the temple is run by the Archaeological Survey of India and The Temple Trust Board. The priests perform all the ceremonies on a daily
10. Talking about the visitors, the temple has more than 6000 visitors on a daily The number increases to an over a lakh during Shivratri and other festivals.
Things to Do
- The temple is well connected via road and you can take state buses once you are in Bhubaneswar. The temple is just about 35 Kms from the airport
- There are many celebrations that are hosted in the temple every year. Some of the biggest ones remain to be the Shivratri, Rath Yatra and even the Chandan Yatra. A lot of people visit the temple during this time to enjoy the essence of the rich culture.
- If you visit Bhubaneswar then you can also visit Jagannath Temple, Puri and Sun Temple.
- Apart from the places listed above, you can visit places which are not of religious interest. This includes Puri Beach, Udayagiri Caves, Kandagiri Caves, Chilika Lake, Hirakud Dam and Wildlife centuries.
The timings of the temple are 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM but it should be noted that the temple is closed while the Prasad is offered to Lord Shiva. Apart from this, the temple also remains closed from 12:00 Noon to 3:30 PM. If you are planning to visit the temple then the best time is in the morning during the Aarti
There is no fee to visit the temple however, non-Hindu visitors are not allowed to visit Lingaraja Temple. It is known that they non-Hindu visitors can view the temple from a distant platform. Apart from this, it is also known that purification is performed if a non-Hindu visits the temple. All Prasad for the day is dumped in the well in such a case.
I hope the information about the great Lingaraja Temple will help you understand its significance and the beauty of its modern architecture blended with Indian mythology.