Lingaraja (Lord Shiva) Temple, Bhubaneswar

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Bhubaneswar- the capital of the state of Orissa (now ‘’Odissa’’) is home to many Hindu temples of exquisite beauty. Lingaraja temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most prominent and the largest among them.

Here, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Harihara- a combined form of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in Hindu mythology. The temple has idols of both Shiva and Vishnu in worship- a rare thing.

The legend tells us Lord Shiva revealed to Goddess Parvati (his consort) that Bhubaneswar is his preferred location (over Kasi). Parvati decided to see the place that charmed her husband. So, she came to Bhubaneswar in disguise as a cow-herd woman. At that place two demons named Kriti and Vasa was charmed by the beauty of the cow-herd woman; they wanted to marry her. Goddess Parvati, in disguise as a cow-herd woman, asked them to carry her on their shoulder; to test their strength.

When they carried her over their shoulders, Goddess Parvati crushed the demons under her weight. Lord Shiva appeared on the scene; he created the mighty Bindusara Lake to quench the thirst of Paravti (as she was tired after crushing the mighty demons under her weight). There after Lord Shiva said to have taken abode at this temple, known as Kriti Vassas. The shrine of Goddess Parvati is known as Bhuvaneshvari.

The temple is a specimen to Orian art and architecture. The 54 meters high Sri Mandir and 29 meters high pyramid, known as Jaganmohana are richly adorned with beautiful carvings. Moreover, the entire temple complex is a tribute to the fine work man ship of the Orian architects.

Historically, the origin of the temple dates back to the Seventh century AD. A local ruler called Jatati Kesari is believed to have started the construction of the temple; but the present structure owes much to King Anandavarman Chodaganga, who ruled the area in 11th Century AD.

The temple is on the heart of Bhubaneswar city.

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