Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar/Bhubaneshwar is one of the oldest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Check out history and legends related to Lingaraj/Lingaraja Temple, Orissa.
Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Lord Shiva, or Tribhuvaneswar represents the perfect harmony between Orissa’s architectural style and decorative motifs.
The origins of the temple date back to the 7th century, and Yayati Kesari is believed to have initiated its construction, when he re-located his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneswar. On the other hand, inscriptions on the wall of the “jagamohana” or waiting room of the temple carry the story of the grant of land for the construction of the Kirttivasas (Lingaraja) Temple during the reign of King Anantavarman Chodaganga in 1114-1115 AD. The temple is also believed to be Lord Shiva’s choice for a resort over Varanasi. Archeologists have assigned the Lingaraj temple to the 10th century, with the “jagamohana”, Sri Mandir, the “bhoga mandap” and the “natya mandir” being added at a later date.
The Temple Layout
The Lingaraja temple conforms to the building principles of the Kalinga School of Architecture, and is built along the Bindu Saras lake. Legend has it that Lord Shiva created the lake to quench the thirst of Parvati.
Sprawled over 25,000 sq. ft, the Lingaraja temple and its 100 subsidiary shrines are enclosed by high walls, with a main entrance on the east, and secondary gates on the North and South. Laid out on the panchratha plan with five divisions to the temple and five richly engraved mouldings, the temple is acclaimed for its ornamental carvings and fine workmanship. The 54 metre high Sri Mandir and 29m high pyramid of the “jagamohana” are richly adorned with carvings. The bhoga mandap and the natya mandir have similarly engraved shafts supporting their heavy roofs.
The “lingam”, measuring 2.5 metres wide is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, and is revered as Hari-Hara, the embodiment of Vishnu and Shiva. The Parvati temple in the north-east corner carries exceptionally beautiful carvings, and continues with the 13th century tradition of serving meals to 51 priests and 51 underprivileged persons everyday.