Bhubaneswar, the 'Cathedral City' was once the capital of an ancient
kingdom. Today this hustling centre for commerce and religious activity
is Orissa's modern capital. Having merged its intriguing past so
uniquely with its modern aspirations, it forms an integral link
in the Golden Triangle that incorporates the holy city of Puri and
Konark, for the tourists that flock to pay their homage to the religious,
cultural and natural wonders that abound here.
The striking features of the city are the numerous temples and
shrines that seem to be all around you. Bhubaneswar's skyline
is dominated by some of the most spectacular engineering and artistic
feats of its ancient heritage. The imposing spire of the Lingaraj
Temple, the quiet beauty of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and the pink
transluscence of the Mahavira Jain Temple in nearby Khandagiri,
inspire feelings of wonder at their sheer beauty and their cross-cultural
permutations. These three alone offer an excellent insight into
the ancient cultural strength of Orissa and are well-worth exploring
at greater length.
Places to visit
Among the finest of its 600 temples is the Lingaraja
Temple of Shiva, built in the 11th century. It is also
the biggest in Bhubaneswar.
No less famous is the Mukteswara Temple
which was built in the 10th century. It is well known for its
stone arch at the entrance and is richly sculpted. With the tales
from the Panchatantra carved on it, the temple is a magnificent
example of Orissan architecture. The Rajarani
Temple, set in picturesque surrounding, is noted for its
intricate carvings of floral, animal and human figures. Constructed
in the 11th century, it has an unusual tower. More interestingly,
the temple has no deity.
Close to the Mukteswara Temple is the Parsurameswara
Temple, a small but richly decorated shrine of Shiva that
was built in the 7th century. It is one of the best preserved.
It has sculptures featuring amorous couples, animals and floral
motifs. The Svarnajaleswara Temple located
a little south of Parsurameswara Temple has beautiful depictions
from the epic Ramayana. Vaital Temple
is architecturally striking. It is a temple for Goddess Chamunda
(Kapali) and has a tantric influence. About 15 km from Bhubaneswar
is the Yogini Temple at Hirapur. One
of the four Yogini Temples in India, it has beautiful Yoginis
carved from black chlorite.
The Buddhist influence is spread all over Bhubaneswar. Ashokan
Rock Edict is situated at Dhauli,
8 km south of the city. The sculpted elephant atop the edict signifies
the Mauryan Emperor Ashokas conversion to Buddhism after
his Kalinga victory. This is said to be the earliest rock-cut
sculpture in India.
On the Dhauligiri Hills, where the great Kalinga war was fought,
stands a very modern monument to world peace, the Vishwa
Shanti Stupa. This magnificent Buddhist Temple was built
by Indo-Japanese collaboration. Below the Dhauligiri Hills, the
river Daya flows peacefully.
Rock-Cut Caves are also seen on the hills of Khandagiri
and Udayagiri which are about 8 km from Bhubaneswar. The
double-storeyed Rani Gumpha (Queens
Cave) is the largest cave with ornate carvings.
The Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave) has
the Chronicle of King Kharavela carved on it.
The excavated ancient township Sisupalgarh
lies a few kilometers southeast of the city towards Puri. A fortified
town surrounded by a natural moat, it was probably the capital
of Kalinga in the 2nd century B. C.
Bhubaneswar has three museums, one celebrating Orissan heritage
and the others; the handicrafts and the tribal research museum.
The Orissa State Museum in the city
has a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone
inscriptions, lithic and bronze-age tools, rare palm leaf manuscripts
and traditional folk and musical instruments. The Handicrafts
Museum has a handsome collection of stone sculptures, patta-paintings,
brass castings, horn toys and silver filigree.
While the temple and monuments and redolent with the culture
of a hoary era, the vibrance of life throbs in the sprawling Nandan
Kanan Zoological Park. Endowed with a natural lake, it
is known for the rare white tigers and migratory birds which nest
here during winter. It has also the countrys largest Lion
Safari Park and White Tiger safari with Ropeway and Toy Train.
The park is located 20 km from Bhubaneswar but it is closed on
Another attraction is the Atri Hot Sulphur
Spring. 42 km from Bhubaneswar, near the famous Hatakeswara
Temple. It has a Bathing Complex for tourists.
By Air: Bhubaneswar is connected to
the cities of Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam,
Hyderabad, and Raipur through regular flights. Biju Patnaik Airport
in Bhubaneswar is the only major airport in the state.
By Rail: Bhubaneswar is directly connected
by rail with Calcutta, Puri, Madras, Delhi, Bombay, Bhubaneswar,
Guwahati, Hyderabad, Tirupati, and Trivandrum.
By Road: Roads are linked with Bhubaneswar
and Berhampur, Chilka, Cuttack, Konark, Paradip, Puri, Rourkela,
Sambalpur and other places. Interstate bus services operate daily
between Calcutta and Puri via Bhubaneswar and Tatanagar (Jamshedpur).
Best Time to Visit: October to
Climate of Bhubaneswar:
Summer: 40 °C - 29°C
Winter: 28 °C - 16 °C.