Named after Tribhuvan Eshwar or the 'lord of the three worlds' is the capital of Odisha, Bhubaneswar. It is set on the Mahanadi Delta but is not restricted to only coastal areas. Caves, hills, zoological parks, museums, art galleries, temples, amusement parks – you'll find all this and more at Bhubaneswar. The 180 ft tall, majestic Lingaraja Temple is the most popular in the locality. It is a sculptural feat featuring gods, goddesses, kings, queens, hunters and musicians. Lord Harihara, a union of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu is the presiding deity. The Mukteshwar Temple is smaller in comparison to others, but is famed for its beautiful ceiling of an eight petalled lotus and a glorious archway. The other prominent temples are Brahmeswar and Rajarani. The captivating natural beauty of the Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves will compel you to lose yourself in historical wonder. However, be prepared to deal with numerous langoors jumping all over the place. The dense and tranquil forests of Nandankanan will welcome you on your way to its national park. Apart from the wildlife and the white tiger safaris, you can also spend some quiet time in the gardens and indulge in an exciting ride on the ropeway. Another wonderful site to visit is the Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa. Situated on Dhauli hills, it is a well-maintained edifice where you can visit for beautiful views and solitude. If you want to be enlightened about the tribes of Orissa make sure you visit the tribal villages, markets and the Museum of Tribal Arts & Artifacts. Among places to stay, the Mayfair Lagoon or Trident are great options, but there are also other hotels that are light on the pocket.
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Nandankanan Zoological Park
The name of this park means the garden of the heavens. This has been declared as a sanctuary and is spread over the Chandaka Forest. The Kanjia Lake is also a part of this park. This park and sanctuary is mainly known for the variety of tigers here, especially the Royal Bengal Tiger and the white tigers. wildlife safaris are the main attractions here and guides and proper security facilities are also available to take care of all the tourists.
The ancient caves of Khandgiri and Udaygiri are some of the finest examples of ancient India's rock-cut architecture. These caves served as residential blocks for Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. The Jain temples in Bhubhaneshwar are at an hour's distance from these caves, and are another excellent example to study the ancient architecture of India.
Raja Rani Temple
First place to visit in Bhubaneswar-Puri trip was Rajarani temple situated at old Bhubaneswar near Tankapani Road. Rajarani temple derives its name due to the employment of dull red and turbid yellow sandstone locally called "Rajarani".It is famous for its sculpted figures and the successive tiers of projections rising to form 18 m tower. This temple has no idols as such. Dance, Life and some very personal moments of life similar to Khajuraho mithun shilpas are depicted in the form of carvings around the temple .The best preserved sculpture of the temple are the standing astadikpalas on the central façade of kanika .
Never in your life I would have expected a cave to fascinate me! Rising abruptly amidst a wide expanse of arid lateritic soil the hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri separated from each other by a narrow row through which passes modern road between Bhubaneswar and Chandaka. The ancient names of the twin hills of Udayagiri and Khandagiri are Kumari and Kumara parvatas respectively. . There are total 33 rock cut caves on both the hills out of which 18 caves are excavated on Udayagiri hill while 15 are on the Khandagiri hill. Generally caves are single storied but a few of them are double storied also. Many of the caves have beautiful carvings that reveal a lot about its origin and past. Inscription and carvings on the walls show that they once served as Jain Monasteries. Few caves also show connection to Buddhism.
Ashokan Rock Edict
By the way- food at Panthanivas, Bhubaneshwar was awesome. After visiting the "Shanti Stupa" at Dhauligiri, we saw the Ashokan rock edicts. Though it was dark (the driver was almost in tears each time we weren't on time!) the caretaker was kind enough to open the place especially for us and show us around. We were pretty tired and wished we had reached the place sooner. But to think that the Kalinga war actually happened on that very ground where we stood- kind of felt surreal. My paatti (grandmother) had told me a story about her elder sister who had once wandered into this jungle when they were young. Turned out the jungle used to be this place where the conquerors executed their enemies. The story went on about the "tantric" rites to revive her elder sister from her "state of trance"! Fact or fiction! I have no idea! With my paatti- it was always this way. All her stories spun around the plausible. The people were real. Themes were usually "Tantric"- "Chozhi", "maandreegam", "bhagavati"- poojas . The way she said them- everything in "first person". What can I say! They are real to me!
This temple is considered to be the oldest existing temple of the city built around 650 AD. Though the Presiding God of this temple is Lord Shiva, this temple is a combination of the Shiva and Shakti. The outer wall of the temple is engraved with the idols of Lord Parsuram (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu), Lord Indra (the king of Gods), Surya and many more Gods. This temlpe adjacent to the Mukteswar temple is one of the most beautiful temples of Bhubaneswar.
Chandaka Reserve Forest
ChandakaDesignated as an Elephant reserve in 1982, Chandaka is situated in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar (the capital city of Odisha). Though the major attraction of Chandaka is giant Indian Elephants, Chandaka is inhabited by a number of wild animals including Leopards, Chital, barking deer, mouse deer, wild pig, common langur, rhesus monkey, small Indian civet, common Indian mongoose, small Indian mongoose, ruddy mongoose, pangolin, sloth bear, ratel, Indian wolf and hyena. The Deras Dam situated inside the reserve is a perfect place to spot wild animals and witness a gorgeous sunset. Wild animals can also be viewed from a number of watchtowers constructed inside the reserve.
ISKCON is the International Society for Krishna Conciousness and the temple in Bangalore is dedicated to Lord Krishna of course. The temple is situated on a hillock also known as the Hare Krishna Hill. The temple is built in a neo- classical style with typical South Indian temple Gopurams in it. There are 4 gopurams inside the temple which are joined by a glass canopy which looks spectacular. This temple was built to mark the birth anniversary of Sri Prabhupada, the founder of the whole community. The peaceful atmosphere and the continuous chanting of "Hare Rama, Hare Krishna" is extremely soothing. There is also a separate prayer hall, vedic theatre, vedic museum and lecture hall in the temple. There is an average footfall of around 8000- 10000 people everyday and this goes up to 15000 or even more on weekends. The main festival celebrated here is the Krishna Janmashtami.
Dhauligiri Shanti Stupa
Dhauli Shanthi stupa : Dhauli believed to be the battleground of Kalinga war is a hillside lying on the banks of river Daya just 8km from Bhubhaneshwar. Kalinga war that took place in 261B.C had lot of implications on Emperor Ashoka's mind ,completely transformed his thoughts and soul after which he embraced Buddhism. It is said River Daya had completely turned red due to the blood of dying soldiers from both sides of Magadha and Kalinga kingdom. This is the site of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa built by Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha. After offering our obeisance to Lord Buddha, we had an aerial view of Daya River
Brahmeswar Siva Temple
The name Bramheswar is the combination of two terms i.e. Bramha and Ishwar which means the God of Lord Bramha. Built in between 1000-1100 century AD by Somavamsi king Udyotakesari this temple houses the Lingam of Lord Shiva. This temple is built with the Kalingan style architecture of Temple building, the inner wall of the temple is engraved with various art and crafts unlike other temples where the art and crafts are being seen only on the outer walls of the temple.
This Shiva temple is the temple built for the "Ishwar of Megha" which literally means the God of the Rain. This ancient temple is built in the 12th Century AD. The outer wall of the temple is nicely engraved with a lot of art works. This is a living temple where Lord Shiva is worshiped even today.
Chausathi Yogini Temple
As per Hindu belief Shiva is incomplete without Shakti and this ruined temple is dedicated to Shakti the wife of Lord Shiva. Situated about a distance of 10 KMs from the city center near Hirapur. 56 idols of Shakti, made up of black granite stones on a circular wall are worshiped in this temple. This temple is believed to be built in the 9th Century AD by queen Hira Devi of Bramha dynasty.