Liìgaräj Temple, Bhubaneswar
The Liìgaraj Temple, the largest of the temples in Bhubaneswar, is an outstanding specimen a perfect example of Odisha style of temple-architecture. It is about a thousand year old. Bhubaneswar, Konark and Puri constitute the Golden triangle of Orissa, visited in large numbers by pilgrims and tourists.
The Liìgaraj Temple was built initially by the ruler Yayati Kesari in the 7th century, who shifted his capital from Jajpur to Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar remained as the Kesari Capital until Nåpati Kesari founded Cuttack in the 10th century. Inscriptions from the period of the Kalinga King Anangabhima III from the 13th century are seen here.
Structurally, the Paraçurämeswara Temple at Bhubaneswar is the oldest, dating back to the middle of the 7th century, and the Liìgaraj is assigned 10th century. The bhogamaëòapa and naöyamaëòapa of the Lingaraj temple are of later origin. Its deula/vimäna - tower rises up to 180 ft and is elaborately carved.
From jagamohana - the viewing platform, one can see the lions crushing the elephants, which are said to be a representation of the re-emergence of Hinduism over Buddhism. The Sivalingam in the sanctum sanctorum of the Temple rises at a height of 8 inches above the ground level and is 8 feet in diameter. More than 50 smaller temples and shrines in the vast courtyard surround the main Temple. In the northeast corner, a smaller temple to Pärvati is of particular interest.
Twenty two worships are offered each day.
The vast Bindusägar Lake is the centre, around which are located a multitude of temples of Bhubaneswar. The Liìgaraj Temple is located in a spacious courtyard over 250,000 sq. ft. and is protected by 40-metre high fortified walls. Once a year, an image of Liìgaraj is taken to the Jalamandir in the centre of Bindusägar Lake.
Bhubaneswar is a revered pilgrimage centre, referred to in Brahma Puräëa. The Brahma Puräëa refers to Bhubaneswar as the Ekämra Kñetra enshrining a crore (ten million 10,000,000) of Çiva Liìgas.
Surrounded by a high wall, the great temple of Bhubaneswar is off limits to all non-Hindus. Although the British Raj respected this ruling, it did not deter them from building a viewing platform beside the northern wall. It was put up for the visit of Lord Curzon and it still used by tourists today.
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