The Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar
, an outstanding specimen of Oriyan craftsmanship, is a grand monument dating back to the 7th century.
This magnificent 147-ft-high temple, one of the most famous in Orissa
, is located in a courtyard bounded by fortified walls, with several other shrines and temples in the premises. The lofty tower of the Lingaraj Temple is elaborately carved. The construction was completed during the reign of three dynasties.
The presiding deity is the Svayambhu Linga - half
Shiva, half Vishnu, a unique feature of the temple. The temple consists of the pancha-ratha sanctum with a Shivling, a closed hall, a dancing hall and a hall of offering. A total of 22 worship services are offered everyday. Situated at the north of the temple is a tiny island, in the centre of the sacred lake of Bindu Sagar, where idol is brought for ritual ablutions annually. The yearly chariot festival, in the month of April, is very famous.
Set in an area of 7 acres with a huge walled compound, the temple complex consists of 108 temples dedicated to various deities, Natamandir (hall of dance), the Bhog Mandap (hall of offering) and the Jagamohan (the porch). The outer walls of the temple are carved with the figures of birds, beasts, creepers, flowers, men and women in erotic poses and postures, and a host of gods and goddesses. The inner walls of the shrine are plain and without any decoration and contains the phallus symbol of Shiva.
The shrines of Gopalini or Bhubaneswari, Savitri, Lakshmi-Narasimha, and Ekambatesvara are some other temples in the compound. Each of these is a classic work of art, but the majestic size, exquisite carvings and elegant construction of the main Lingaraj shrine is unparalleled.
Other famous temples in Bhubaneswar are those of
Ananta Vasudeva, Rajarani, Mukteswar, Kedareswara, Siddheswar and Parashurameswar.
The temple is located 2 km south of the city center and is south of Bindu Sagar lake.