Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneshwar

- Aishwarya Javalgekar

Bhubaneshwar is called the city of temples. And rightly so, since it is said to be home to ten million Shiva Lingas! It is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centers in India.  

The Bramha Purana, a Hindu text refers to Bhubaneshwar as the 'Ekamra Kshetra'. A 13th century inscription by Paramardideva (the Chandela king who ruled Central India), describes Ekamra as a sacred area “...adorned with hundreds of mango-groves, wherein exists a single Devakula [temple] surrounded by numerous temples.”  

The single temple, of course, refers to the Lingaraj temple, which is the largest and most renowned amongst all of Bhubaneshwar's temples. It was first built by Yayati Kesari, a 7th century king, who shifted his capital from Jajpur to Bhubaneshwar. Bhubaneshwar remained the capital of the Kesari kingdom till 10th century CE. 

This temple has a spacious courtyard bounded by fortified walls. Its elaborately carved tower rises up to 180 feet. Built in the Kalinga style of architecture, it has four main components: the vimana (the structure which contains the sanctum), the bhoga-mandapa (the hall of offerings), the natamandira (the festival hall) and the jagamohana (the assembly hall). 
The temple displays impressive carvings of humans and animals. Inscriptions dating back to 13th century, CE of the Kalinga ruler Anangabhima III have been found here. It also houses some important Sanskrit scripts from the 6th and 7th centuries. 

No comments:

Post a Comment