Architecture of Lingaraja Temple
The remarkable structure of the temple gives the tint of the Kalinga style of architecture. The aesthetic sculptures look at their apex in this architectural exhibition. Erected in red sandstone, Lingraj Temple has the stone of the darkest shade. The huge temple complex covers the vast lands of Bhubaneshwar in a stretch. The tall spire of the temple extends to the height of 55 meters and literally, dominates the skyline of Bhubaneshwar. The spacious courtyard comprises 50 small shrines that are dedicated to several Gods of the Hindu pantheon.
All the shrines are safe under the kind of fortification made by the massive walls that are carved beautifully with sculptures. One can enter the temple complex through 'Simha Dwara' (the Lion's Gate), where lions flank both sides, crushing elephants under their feet. An optical effect is produced with the deep cut warped lines that run perpendicularly on the spire. Due to this, the temple looks much larger than what actually is. Moreover, the spire of the temple has diminutive replicas of itself in the steeples that are incorporated perfectly in the entire structure of the temple.
Lingaraja Temple is a Temple dedicated to Shiva and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneshwar, the capital of the Indian state of Odisha.
The Lingaraja temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. The central tower of the temple is 180 ft (55 m) tall. The temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga Architecture and culminating the medieval stages of the architectural tradition at Bhubaneswar. The temple is believed to be built by the kings from the Somavamsi Dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers. The temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namely, Vimana(structure containing the sanctum), Jaganmohana (assembly hall), Nata Mandira(festival hall) and Bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor. The temple complex has 50 other shrines and is enclosed by a large compound wall.
Every year the chariot festival (Ratha-Yatra) of Lingaraja is celebrated on Ashokashtami. The deity is taken in a chariot to Rameshwar Deula temple. Thousands of devotees follow and pull brightly decorated chariots containing the idols of Lingaraja and his sister Rukmani.
Actually, the temple is divided into four parts, the Garbh Griha, the Yajna Shala, the Bhoga Mandap and the Natya Shala respectively. In the Garbh Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum), the lingam of Bhagwaan Shiva is regarded as ‘Swayambhu’ (Self-originated) and it is worshipped as both Bhagwaan Shiva and Bhagwaan Vishnu. On the main entrance, one can see a trident (Bhagwaan Shiva) and Chakra (Bhagwaan Vishnu) on either side of the door. The concord of the two sects can be seen here, where the deity is worshipped as Hari-Hara. The term ‘Hari’ refers to Bhagwaan Vishnu and ‘Hara’ refers to Bhagwaan Shiva.
This massive image of ‘Linga’ appears to be of granite stone. The ‘Lingam’ is bathed with water, milk and bhang every day. Apart from Garbh Griha, the ‘Nata Mandir’ provides a hint for its close alliance with the devadasi tradition. Besides the Lingam, the parsva devta adores the site, where Bhagwaan Ganesha, Bhagwaan Kartikay and Goddess Parvati are placed in different directions. All the images are huge and present excellent workmanship of the artists. The images are festooned with rich draperies and ornaments.
How to reach ?
By Train: The nearest railway station is Bhubaneswar railway station which is around 6 km away from the temple.
By Air: Biju Patnaik Airport is around 6 km from the temple.
By Bus: You can board a local or private bus for the Bermuda Bus stand in Bhubaneswar or Town bus stand Bhubaneswar, Ashok Nagar which is the nearest bus stand 4.5 Km from Lingaraja Temple.