RajaRani Temple

RajaRani Temple –  Embodiment of Love

RajaRani temple is one of the most famous and renowned temple which is located in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa. This temple was built between the 10th and 11th century from the wonderful red and gold sandstone, which is locally known as Rajarani and this is what gives the temple its name of ‘Raja Rani’. This temple is also known as the ‘love temple’ due to the carvings of women and couples in the temple. The temple is an embodiment of architectural stylishness and beauty. The sculptural imagery of the temple is stylish and dynamic. Various postures in the temple portray fascinating images of mundane life like a woman carrying child in the arms, and women appreciating their reflection in the mirrors.

The Raja Rani temple is surrounded by a beautiful garden and is located on open paddy field area. The accentuating miniature replicas of itself decorate the spire, reminiscent of the temples of Khajuraho. It has a square sanctuary and its interior and exterior surfaces are so recessed that it appears circular. The initial duel temples were without the jagamohana as seen in some of the older temples in Bhubaneswar while the later temples had two additional structures namely nata-mandapa which is the festival hall and bhoga-mandapa which is the hall of the offerings.

RajaRani Temple

RajaRani Temple History

  • Bhubaneswar is also known as ‘Temple City’ (as many temples are present in this city). Rajarani Temple was very old temple present since 11th-century. It is also contended that the temple was initially known as Indreswara Temple devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva.
  • Fergusson believed that construction of the temple was begun by around 1105. George Michell believed that the temple was built during the same time as Lingaraja Temple.Rajarani Temple roughly belongs to the same period as the Jagannath Temple at Puri.
  • The architecture of Rajarani Temple is very impressive, it was built on a raised platform with two structures, both structures are equally important. A central shrine called the vimana with a bada over its roof rising to a height of 18 m, and a viewing hall called jagamohana with a pyramidal roof present in this temple.
  • The Raja Rani temple has sculptures of ‘Guardians of the Eight Directions’ which project from the base of the temple to eight different directions. Beginning from the left of the entrance to the ‘Deul’ and proceeding in a clockwise direction, they are:
  1. Indra – East, chief of the 33 Vedic nature deities
  2. Agni – Southeast, Vedic God of fire
  3. Yama – South, God of death
  4. Nirriti – Southwest, deity related to suffering
  5. Varuna – West, a Vedic deity of the ocean
  6. Vayu – Northwest, wind God
  7. Kubera – North, lord of wealth, shown here with a wish-fulfilling tree
  8. Ishana – Northeast, a form of Shiva.

Significance of the RajaRani Temple

  • It is adorned from all sides by spires and fine clusters of turrets. The sculpture of the temple is beyond compare and is quite energetic and alive. The colossal spires are of the most innovative ones and incorporated in building this temple. Its spire is decorated with clusters of turrets emerging form the rib of the spire and attracts the attention of the visitors. Porch of the temple is known as Jagamohana. The porch is constructed in the pyramidal structure and it is very plain.
  • There are certain features of the temple which indicates a Saivite origin such as the presence of Saiva doorkeepers: Prachanda and Chanda, Dvarapla with jatamukha, and a garland of skulls reaching up to and a snake. There are three panels on the facade of the main temple showing images of Shiva dancing with his consort Parvathi in the company of attendants playing musical instruments.
  • The temple no longer has an image of the deity in the sanctuary but its strong Saiva associations are testified from the figures of Shiva and his consort Parvati on the platform and Saiva doorkeepers.

RajaRani Temple Timings

This temple remains open all days of the week from 6 AM to 6 PM. The best time to visit the temple is October and March. There is also an entry fee for this temple, Rs. 5 for Indians and Rs. 100 for Foreigners.

Festivals celebrated at the RajaRani Temple 

RajaRani Music Festival: The Rajarani Music Festival held in the beautiful courtyard of the Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar is one such occasion to celebrate the richness and originality of Indian classical music. Evening concerts by great maestros of Indian Classical music fill the air with enchanting chimes. The city has a large assemblage of celebrated temples of which the Rajarani Temple is one of the most conspicuous. It’s remarkable for the absence any presiding deity in it. To showcase the glorious tradition of Indian classical music, the Rajarani Music Festival was conceived to be organized by the Department of Tourism in association with organizations like Orissa Sangeet Natak. Musicians from different parts of the country perform during the three-day festival. This festival is held during the month of January. Devotees from different places visit the temple during this period.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

By Air: Biju Patnaik Airport around 6 km from the temple. There are different flights moving to Hyderabad, Nagpur, Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Varanasi.

By Train: The nearest railhead is Bhubaneswar railway station 6 Km from the temple. The Rajdhani express departs from Delhi one day a week on Friday to Bhubaneswar. The Puri-New Delhi Express is a good train to Delhi. The Coromandel Express is also a good train that is going to Chennai. There are also direct trains to Delhi, Agra, Remuna and Varanasi. The city of Bhubaneswar is on the main Kolkata to Chennai line so all the important train stop here.

By Road:  Bermunda Bus stand in Bhubaneswar is the nearest bus stand. One can also travel from Puri buses to Pipli and then get another bus to Konark.

Hotels in Bhubaneswar: Where to stay

  • Hotel Grand Central: Old Station Road , Bhubaneshwar
  • Hotel Arvind Inn: Plot No-9, Janpath, Bapuji Nagar, Bhubaneswar – 751009
  • Ginger Bhubaneswar: Opp Nalco Headquarters, Jaidev Vihar Nayapalli, Bhubaneshwar
  • Hotel Sandys Tower: Plot No. : P-1 & P-1/A, Jaydev Vihar, Bhubaneswar – 751013
  • The Crown: A-1 IRC Village, Nayapalli, Bhubaneshwar
  • Hotel Sishmo: 86/A-1, Gautam Nagar, Bhubaneswar – 751014
  • The New Marrion: 6, Janpath, Bhubaneshwar
  • Hotel Seetal: NH-5, Vani Vihar Square, Bhubaneswar – 751022
  • Hotel Park Resort: 2271 Cuttack Road, Cuttack Puri Road, Bhubaneswar – 751006
  • Pal Heights: Plot No J/7, Jayadev Vihar, Bhubaneswar

Where to eat

Tourists should try the authentic Oriya cuisine. There are varieties of food present for vegetarians as well as non vegetarians.The local specialties that one must relish are Machha Jholo (a fish curry), Gupchup, Cuttack Chaat, Aloo Dum, Dahi Pakhal, Badi Choora, Dalma, Santula and more. The sweets that are offered are Pithas, Kora-Khhaii, Rasabali, Chenna Gaja, Chenna Poda and Rasagola. Abadha or the vegetarian food served in temples is also delicious.

  • Zaika: Ratna Plaza, Lewis Road, Opposite Allahabad Bank, Bhubaneswar
  • Janak Restaurant: Hotel Janapatha, 29 Janpath, Bapujinagar
  • Nandan: Hotel Sishmo, 86/A 1 Gautam Nagar
  • Marrion Hotel: Janpath, Bhubaneswar
  • Chill Ummm: 516/1763/4177 KIIT Road, Patia
  • Sangam: Hotel Sishmo, 86/A 1 Gautam Nagar
  • Golden Bird: Near Federal Bank, 68, Hotel Pushpak, Kalpana Square
  • Hare Krishna Restaurant: Lalchand Market Complex, Janpath, Kharabela Nagar, Bhubaneshwar
  • Vkss Restaurant: VITS Hotel Bhubaneswar, A/19, Cuttack-Puri Road, Near Jatri Niwas
  • Tangerine 9: Master Canteen Area, Kharabela Nagar, Bhubaneswar

Nearby Temples

Bhubaneswar is also known as the city of temples where there are many famous temples around. Bhubaneswar holds the history of 2000 years.

Lingaraj Temple: The Lingaraja temple is said to have been built first by the ruler Yayati Kesari in the 7th century who shifted his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneshwar. Its spire is around 180 feet tall. There are more than 64 smaller shrines in the sprawling temple complex as well. They are magnificently decorated with sculptures of gods and goddesses, kings and queens, dancing girls, hunters, and musicians. Legend has it that Shiva revealed to Parvati that Bhubaneshwar or Ekamra thirtha was a resort favoured by him over Benares. Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple complex.  A total of 22 worship services are offered each day. Once a year, an image of Lingaraja is taken to the Jalamandir in the center of the Bindu Sagar lake.

Mukteshwar Temple: Mukteshwar Mandir is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The term ‘Mukteswara’ suggests “Lord who gives freedom through Yoga” and this is a fact. The splendid Torana of the temple, an ornamental arched gateway, is very much reminiscent of the influence of Buddhism in Orissa. Established in the year 950 AD. You will  find ascetics in various mediation poses on the temple, along with figures from Hindu mythology, folk tales from the Panchatantra (five books of animal fables), as well as Jain munis (monks/nuns). The temple stands within an octagonal compound wall that is based on the lines of structures built in the bygone times.

Brahmeshwar Temple: This temple was Constructed in the 9th century, the temple boasts intricate inside both in the interiors as well as exteriors of the temple. The temple was built by King Udyotakesari’s mother Kolavati Devi during the Somavamsi king’s 18th ruling year. The Brahmeswara Temple is highly applauded for its artistic sculptures that can be seen on the temple’s tower and porch. There are quite a number of tantric related images on the western facade. Shiva and other deities are also pictured in their frightening aspects.

Yogini Temple: Hindu mythology says there are 64 yoginis. A  yogini is an attendant of the Great Goddess. The cult is more or less linked to Tamtrik practises. There is a temple in Orissa dedicated to the 64 yoginis. It is made of black chlorite stone, Yogini Temple also known as Chausati Yogini temple (Chausati – 64) or Mahamaya Temple, is one among the four Yogini temples of India and second of its kind in Orissa. Large number of devotees gathered here to worship the Goddesses on a belief of attaining supernatural powers.

Kedar Gouri Temple: Kedargauri Mandir alias Kedar Gauri Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva (Kedareswar) and Goddess Gouri (Kedar Gouri) is one of the ancient temples at Bhubaneswar. Kedargauri Mandir alias Kedar Gauri Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva (Kedareswar) and Goddess Gouri (Kedar Gouri) is one of the ancient temples at Bhubaneswar. Every year during Shital Sasthi festival, Lord Lingaraj (Shiva) is taken from Lingaraj temple in a grand procession to Kedar Gouri temple, where he marries Devi Parvati.

Vaital Deul Temple: Vaital Deul Temple, built during the 8th century, is a Tantric shrine, located near Bindu Sarovara.  The main deity worshipped in the temple is Goddess Chamunda, who is also known as the Tantric form of Goddess Durga. Chamunda Devi is depicted with a dazzling red tongue protruding out and wearing a garland of skulls. Image of Arjuna driving his chariot is also located at the temple. The best time to visit Vaital Deul Temple is during winters from October till March.

Rameshwar Deula: The Rameshwar temple is an ancient temple dating back to the 12th century A.D. Legend goes as when Rama was returning from Lanka after victory over Ravana,Goddess Sita asked to worship Shiva here.So Ramachandra built a Linga for that purpose. Historically the temple dates back to 9th century. There is also an image of the Durga that is worshipped within the sanctum. The vimana or the top portion of the temple is facing east while the detached jagamohana faces west.

Yameshwar Temple: This is a small temple built of soft sandstone. Yameshwar or Jameshwar Temple is a very old temple dedicated to Shiva being worshiped by Yama.It is situated in Bhubaneswar near Bharati Math,in Jameshwar Patna. There is a spacious courtyard with an imposing compound wall surrounding the temple premises. The recessed niches were once built to house the lingas.Different deities guide all the different part of the dhama. In the eight directions eight forms of Durga are installed: Maricika (east), Vimala (west), Ardhasini (north), Kalaratri (south), Bata mangala (southeast), Lambha (northeast), Candarupa (southwest), Sarva mangala (northwest).

Konark Temple

Konark Temple

Konark Temple

Konark Temple, a World Heritage site as recognised by UNESCO is considered a jewel in the crown of Indian architecture and is the finest example of temple architecture in Orissa. Konark is a Sanskrit term, formed with the combination of “kon” which means “angle” and “Ark” which means “the sun”. Situated on the banks of Bay of Bengal, the temple is dedicated to Sun god “Surya” symbolising warmth, energy and illumination. Konark Temple is in the shape of the gigantic chariot in which the Sun God rides across the heaven. The temple is also believed to be a healer of diseases and bestower of wishes.

Konark Temple was referred to as “Black Pagoda” by European travellers sailing the shores of the Arabian sea. It was so called may be because of its dark colour due to continuous plastering and subsequent blackening of the surface over many centuries as mentioned by S.P Gupta in his book “Temples in India”. It may also be that some European scholars believed that the exceptionally frank eroticism of many of the Konark sculptures has given it the name “Black Pagoda”.

Konark town that developed around this temple is in Puri District of Orissa not far from Bhuvaneshwar. Puri and Bhubaneshwar are the two major tourist destinations in Orissa.

Konark Temple_2

Konark Temple History

  • Built in 13th CE by king Narsimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty, Konark Temples history is concealed in myths and legends that give us reasons for the construction and destruction of the temple.
  • It is believed that Narsimdeva wanted to build this temple to commemorate his victory over Tughan Khan, a governor of Bengal appointed by Nasiruddin Mahmud ( A Delhi sultan) in the year 1243 AD.
  • According to an interesting legend, Samba, son of Lord Krishna was incurred a curse by Narad and became a lepor. Samba practised austere penance for 12 years to please Lord Surya. Once while bathing in the river Chandrabhag he found an image of surya on lotus pedestal holding fully bloomed lotuses in both hands. This image was consecrated in the temple. With the blessing of Sun God, he was cured of his leprosy.
  • Another famous legend that describes the construction of Konark Temple is that of Dharmpad a 12 yr old boy who sacrificed his life to save twelve thousand craftsmen.
  • Dharmpad grew up with his mother in a small unknown village in Orissa in the 12th century. Right from his childhood, he was interested in architecture and crafts and being the son of a great temple architect, Bisu Maharana who was away from home much before his birth. Dharmpad had access to all the manuscripts describing the details of temple construction. By the time he turned 12, he had mastered the art of Odiya temple architecture.
  • But he was eager to see his father and therefore in search of his father after a long and arduous journey he reached a lonely beach where a magnificent but incomplete construction was going on. He realised that this was the place where his father was building the Sun temple. He rushed on to meet his father, wept and kissed him, but immediately knew that something was troubling his father.
  • Although Konark Temple had already taken 12 years to be built, it was still incomplete. The final stone or the kalash was yet to be installed at the top most part of Konark Temple. All the efforts of the crew were in vain. They tried again and again but each time the top rolled off. They were not able to point the problem.
  • King Narsingdeva had already announced that if Konark Temple was not ready till the next morning all the craftsmen would be beheaded. Bisu maharana felt responsible for the upcoming deaths.
  • Dharmpad who had studied temple architecture immediately perceived where the fault lay and knew how to surmount the problem. By midnight, as the moon shone bright, the kalash was finally put in the place and lives of the 12000 craftsmen were saved. But Dharmpad had to sacrifice his life, for if the king got to know of the failure of the craftsmen and their defeat at the hands of a mere 12-year-old, he would surely kill them all. He made his way up to Konark Temple top which has had completed and jumped into the sea as the first ray of light shone.

There are many theories that explain the reasons of its distruction. Before embarking upon those we must first understand the significance of its architecture.

Significance of Konark Temple

The significance of Konark Temple lies in its architecture, ornamental decoration and sculptural elements. These are concentrated on the exterior wall. The interior is generally plain and featureless.

  • One marvels at the mind of engineers, craftsmen and sculptors of who produced works of the great standard. Konark Temple is the pride of Orissan style of architecture. It is in the shape of the gigantic chariot in which the Sun God rides across the heaven. The chariot has twelve pairs of wheels, each about 10 ft in diameter with a set of spokes elaborately carved. Seven prancing horses are shown on either side of the steps to reach the entrance of Konark Temple. The horses are conceived in a way to give the appearance of the Sun God himself driving the chariot while being in the garbgrih{the sanctum sanctorum}.
  • The wheels of Konark Temple are sun dials. The shadows of the spokes can be used to calculate the time of the day and night accurately.
  • The alignment of Konark Temple is east -west. It consists of sanctum sanctorum (garbgraha).The tower of which is called rekha -deul( curvilinear shikhar or tower) rising to a height of 229ft. This tower was struck by lightening, hence, it is now in dilapidated condition. In front of sanctum sanctorum is Jagmohan(frontal porch, mahamandap) with the pyramidal roof (pidha-deul). The height of pidha-deul is 128ft. The top of rekha-deul and pidha-deul were crowned by amalak and stupi(a ribbed disc-shaped stone). Located in front of Jagmohan was Natyamandap. Bhog Mandap detached from the main complex must have been aligned with the main temple. Konark Temple proper stands on huge platforms depicting richly embellished stone chariot.
  • Konark Temple was originally built of khondalite stone since it was a locally available pink coloured stone with yellow streaks. The individual stones were carved and finished smoothly. These stones were placed on each other firmly, supported by their own weight and supplemented by the use of iron dowels to hold them properly in their place.
  • Another unique feature of Konark Temple is the use of iron plates in between every two stones. Massive iron beams have beams used to construct higher floors of Konark Temple. A 52-ton magnet was used to create the peak of the main temple. It is said that the entire structure has tolerated the harsh conditions especially of the sea because of this magnet. It is believed that due to the attraction of the magnet the main idol of the temple remained suspended in the air. The magnet and idol do not exist any more. There are various theories about the removal of the magnet and about the missing idol.
  • The architecture of Konark Temple was such that the early rays or morning sun illuminated the image of Sun god in the sanctum sanctorum.
  • The entrance of Konark Temple is gaurded by two lions crushing elephants, each elephant, in turn, lies on top of a human body. The lion symbolises pride and elephants symbolise wealth. Symbolically this represents that the human being is crushed by pride and wealth.
  • Thousands of images adorn the temple’s exterior wall. These images include deities, celestial figures and human musicians, dancers and lovers. Scenes of courtly life and pleasure of the worldly life are also depicted. The base of Konark Temple wall and the roof also depicts human, divine and semi-divine figures, often in sensuous poses and postures. There are also images of animals, birds, foliage, warriors on horseback as well as geometrical patterns depicted in relief and also in image-in-the-round.

Fall of the Konark Temple

There are various theories and speculations that give reasons for the fall of this magnificent monument. Some believe that due to the early death of King Narasimhadeva, the builder of the Konark Temple, the construction was left half done. As a result, it remained incomplete. As a result, of this, the structure collapsed in the due course of time. Others opine that Konark Temple had lost its sanctity because Dharmpad, son of the chief architect, committed suicide just after placing the crowing stone on the top of temple tower. Earthquake and thunderstruck may also be the reason for the fall of this magnificent structure.

Another theory relates to removal of load stone. It is opined that due to the magnetic effects of the magnet in the temple the compass of the ships was showing deflected directions to the vessels passing through the Konark sea. This resulted in heavy damage to the ships. So to make the shipping safe the Muslim voyagers removed the load stone from Konark Temple. This stone worked as the central stone keeping all other stones of the temple wall in balance. Subsequent to the displacement of the load-stone, the structure weakened and the temple walls fell down in due course of time.

Invasion by Kalapahad, a Muslim ruler in 1508 is also given as the reason for the destruction of Konark temple. Kalapahad managed to displace Dadhinauti (arch stone) and hence the temple collapsed.

Konark Temple Timings

Konark Temple is open from sunrise to sunset for visitors. ( 6:00AM-8:00PM)
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) – Rs. 10 per head.
Others: US $ 5 or Rs. 250/- per head
(children up to 15 years free)
Archaeological Museum:
Opening Hours: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Closed on – Friday

Entrance Fee: Rs. 5/- per head
(Children up to 15 years free)

The Best time to visit is from November to February.

Festivals Celebrated in Konark Temple

Chandrabhag mela celebrated on MaghSaptami in February is the most popular festival of Konarl temple. This festival celebrates the Birth of Sun God. Though Konark Temple is in ruins, thousands of people flock on this day to see the rising sun and pay their venerations to the Sun God.
Some of these people come by walking from a distant place and eventually spend a whole month on the road before reaching their destination. This shows how much they value ancient traditions.

Konark Dance Festival

The festival of Indian classical dance – The Konark dance festival is held between 1st -5th December every year. This festival has helped revive the unique dance tradition of Orissa. the sole aim is to bring many artists into its cultural community and creating of international cultural brotherhood.
Reputed artists participate and perform Odissi, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Mohiniattam and other classical, folk & tribal dances/music of our country on the enchanting stage of the Natyashala in the monumental Sun Temple, Konark.

How to reach by Road, Rail, Air

Konark Temple is situated 35 km away from Puri and 64 km from Bhuvaneshwar and can be reached by bus or taxi.
The nearest railhead is Puri, 31 km away. There are two trains {Puri express and Purushottam express } that can take you to Konark.
Konark is well-connected by Odisha State Public Transport buses plying on National and State highways linking it to Puri, Bhuvaneswar and other cities. Comfortable Volvo buses can be boarded from Puri as well as from Bhuvaneshvar.

Where to Stay

A wide range of hotels is available in and around Konark for all pockets.

Lotus Resort Konark,
Rating * * *
Lotus Eco Village

Nature Camp Konark Retreat
Rating * *
Village Khatakata Patan,
Marine Drive Road,

Surya Inn
Rating *
Near Cannara Bank

Sun Temple Hotel
Near Bus Stand

Yatri Niwas
SH 13 at Post Konark

Marwadi Hotel and Lodge
Ring Road
Near Bus Stand

Where to Eat

Restaurants catering to different tastes are found in Konark main market area. Local dhabas and small restaurants near beach serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. Marwari bhojnalayas are there for non-vegetarians. Traveller lodges also have in-house restaurants. Visit Panthnivas Yatrinivas run by Govt. of Orissa.

Geetanjali Restaurant
Kamat Restaurant
Santoshi Restaurant

Nearby Temples

  • Ramachandi Temple: This temple is located on the banks of the Kusabhadra River, about 5 km from Konark. While some say that the presiding deity is Goddess Ramachandi, others thought it to be the temple of Mayadevi, wife of Surya (Sun god). The graceful goddess is seated on a lotus and among the Sakti Pithas of Puri.
  • Vishnu Temple: A broken brick temple said to be the temple of Lord Vishnu, is located behind the Ramachandi temple. The pillar in front of this temple is said to be the seat of Garuda, the cosmic charioteer of Lord Vishnu. Figures of Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati are found on the temple walls.
  • Konark Matha: This Math (monastery) is situated to the south of the Sun temple. Nirakar Brahma (or void) is worshipped here. It is called as “Samba Ashram” by the local people. Dhuni Kund (fire place) is where the fire has been reserved continuously since the beginning of the Matha.
  • Kuruma Temple: A relatively unknown Buddhist site, Kuruma is located 8 kilometres from the famous Sun Temple. Kuruma is one of the major archaeological excavation sites in Orrisa and is mentioned in several Buddhist texts from Asoka and Ceylon and also appears in the writings of the Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang. The origin of the site is dated to be between 8th-9th century AD and is a must visit for everyone who likes to explore the history of India.
  • Astranga (Picnic spot): Located at a distance of 19 kilometres from Konark, and is a famous picnic spot and fishing village near Konark. The best time to visit the place is during the sunset when one can experience the panoramic and multi-hued horizon. The place is great for photographers and is a major centre for fishing and salt production in Konark.

Lingaraj Temple

Lingaraj Temple: Combining Spirituality with Architectural Brilliance

A visit to Bhubaneswar is incomplete without paying a trip to the famous Lingaraj Temple. This temple was built by the King Jajati Keshari in the 11th century and is believed to be the oldest temple in Bhubaneswar. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations for people around the world. The ancient capital of the Kalinga Empire, the Lingaraj Temple is one of the most well-known temples that have been ever built in Odisha. In fact, the term ‘Lingaraja’ refers to the ‘king of Lingas’, also known as Lord Shiva. It is believed that when King Jajati shifted his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneswar, he started the construction of this architectural beauty.

Lingaraj Temple is preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) along with the Temple Trust Board. Apart from spiritual relevance, its architecture displays the intricate craftsmanship of the artists during that era. The presence of many small shrines inside its premises declares the message of a single God that is present in various forms in the eyes of the devotees.

While Lord Shiva’s Trishul and Lord Vishnu’s Chakra are present on each side at the entrance of Lingaraj Temple, the Simhadwara’ or the ‘Lions Gate’ is present on the eastern side of the shrine.

Lingaraj Temple

Lingaraj Temple History

  • According to legends, Lord Shiva said to Parvati that he favored Bhubaneswar or Ekamra thirtha over Benares. Parvati decided to disguise herself as a cowherd woman to have a look at the city herself when she met two demons, Kritti and Vasa who desired to marry her. Parvati asked them to carry her on their shoulders and then crushed them under her weight. It is then that Lord Shiva created the Bindu Saras lake to quench Parvati’s thirst and decided to dwell here as Krittivasas or Lingaraja.
  • Lingaraj Temple has been mentioned in the Hindu scripture, Brahma Purana. The present structure of the holy shrine was built during the 11th century; however, some parts also date back to the 6th century as well. It is said that when the structure of the temple was about to complete, the Jagannath sect started to flourish. This belief is furnished with both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu being worshipped in the temple.
  • Lingaraj Temple is built of solid red sandstones which lend it as a look of the fortress when viewed from outside.

Significance of Lingaraj Temple

  • This Hindu temple worshipping Lord Shiva is one of the oldest temples to have been ever built in Bhubaneshwar. Aptly stated as the ‘Temple city of India’, it is a famous pilgrimage center in Odisha.
  • Lingaraj Temple is a testimony to the fact that it holds a supreme place for every visitor and ardent follower of Lord Shiva in the eastern India.
  • Lord Shiva is worshipped in this temple as Harihara, which is a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. This is a tribute to the harmony of the two sects.
  • The granite statue is 54.8 meters high, 8 feet in diameter and is worshipped on a platform that is 8 inches above the ground. In fact, the deity is daily worshipped with water, milk and bhang (marijuana).
  • The temple has an average of 6000 devotees visiting the auspicious shrine on a daily basis.
  • Lingaraj Temple represents the Kalinga style of architecture. The temple constitutes four parts, namely, the Garbh Griha, the Yajna Shala, the Bhoga Mandap and the Natya Shala.
  • It has 150 smaller shrines inside its huge courtyard and Lord Vishnu is also worshipped here in the form of Saligramam idol. This reflects the presence of harmony that is present in the religion.
  • There is a vast Bindu Sagar lake which is the center and surrounded by which are located a large number of temples of Bhubaneswar.
  • Lingaraj Temple is also believed to store some vital Sanskrit scripts that belong to the 6th and 7th
  • The best time to pay a visit to this temple is between January and March, as it is during this time the Shivaratri festival is celebrated.
  • Aside from Garbh Griha, the ‘Natya Mandir’ gives an indication of its connection with the devadasi connection. Other than the Lingam, the parsva devta reveres the site, where Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikay and Goddess Parvati are put in various paths. Every one of the pictures is enormous and presents an incredible workmanship of the experts. The idols are decorated with rich draperies and jeweler.
  • Non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the temple premises. However, there is an elevated platform to see the temple located to one side of the boundary walls. An individual, in order to reach to this platform, should face the temple’s main entrance and continue to walk in the right direction. There is a path connecting to the back of the temple with this platform.
  • Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple premises.

Lingaraj Temple Timings

  • Lingaraj Temple opens at 6am and closes at 9pm. The temple is closed from 12 noon to 3.30pm.
  • Visitors are again allowed to visit the shrine from 4 P.M. to 5 P.M. and 7 P.M. to 8 P.m. when the sandhya arati is performed.

Lingaraj Temple Food Timings

It is after the Bhanda Dhupa’ at 3:30 p.m, the food of the deity is served to the pilgrims free of cost. The Bhogamandapa offering consists of cooked rice, curries, and sweet-meats which are used to invoke the divinity. Coconuts, ripe plantains, and kora-khai are the general offerings made to the Lingaraj Temple by the travelers. And on special occasions like, Pana Sankranti, bhanga is also served.

Festivals celebrated at the Temple

  • Shivaratri is the most famous festival that is observed on a yearly basis in the temple. Thousands of visitors assemble here and they pray throughout the night. It represents the celebration when Lord Shiva had killed a demon.
  • The sunian day is another occasion that has been in practice since the ancient times. In the Bhadra month, all the temple servants, farmers and other owners of temple lands offer devotion and tribute to Lingaraja.
  • Candan Yatra marks a 22-day celebration in the temple when the deities and servants of the temple are smeared with sandalwood paste and they disport themselves into specifically made Bindusagar tank.
  • The Ratha Yatra or the chariot festival takes place every year on Ashokaashtami. The idol is taken in a chariot to the Rameshwar Deula temple and innumerable devotees pull the well-decorated chariots of Lingaraja and his sister Rukmani.

Poojas and Rituals

  • A total of 22 worship services is offered on a daily basis.
  • The idol of Lingaraja once in a year is taken to the Jalamadir that is built at the centre of the Bindu Sagar Lake.
  • At 6:30 A.M. the temple door is opened and a servant named Akhanda lights the lamp to awaken the Lord from his sleep. This is followed by the ablution and the arati. The priest announces that this is done in the name of the Raja of Puri.
  • The ritual of ‘Mahasnana’ or bathing the deity with water is completed which is followed by the pouring of ‘Panchamrita’.
  • Between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m, the food offering or ‘Ballabha Bhoga’ is offered to the deity that is then presented to Parvati.
  • At 2 p.m, the ‘Sakala Dhupa’ or morning’s offering of food takes place and which is followed by another food offering called as ‘Bhanda Dhupa’ at 3:30 p.m. The food is later served to the pilgrims.
  • The ‘Palia Badu’ offering is made at 7 p.m. and the ‘Sahana Dhupa’ is offered at around 8:30 p.m. The arati is then performed.
  • The last offering is made at 9:30 p.m in the form of ‘Bada Singara’ or the great decoration which is succeeded with a light food offering.
  • A wooden palanquin is laid in the room, incense lit, drinking water is served, and betel is served too. The Panchabaktra Mahadeva comes to the palanquin and comes back to his own particular house where the arati is performed. This is a bronze picture of Mahadeva having five appearances and Parvati in his lap. The daily service of the temple closes with this service. At this point, the main door of the holy place is shut for the night.

How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air

  • By Air- The Biju Patnaik Airport is situated in the heart of the Bhubaneswar city and all domestic carriers operate here. There many flights that connect it with different metros in the nation, for example, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore.
  • By Train- Bhubaneswar Railway Station is well connected with every major city in India. There are many express and super-fast trains that run on a daily basis.
  • By Road- The city has good public and private bus services to offer to its visitors. Bhubaneswar is situated on the National Highway no 5 that runs between Kolkata and Chennai.

Hotels in Bhubaneswar: Where to stay

There are many budget hotels in Bhubaneswar which offers world class services at attractive rates. Moreover, you can also opt for luxury hotels that are equipped with every modern amenity to meet the growing needs of visitors.

There are also a large number of hotels that provide online booking services to its visitors as well.

Where to eat

The Bhog Mandir of Lingaraj Temple offers food to the deity on a timely basis. This is then distributed among the visitors. The Prasad is considered divine and sacred which is cherished by pilgrims for its unique flavor.

There are many budget friendly and good restaurants that promise to offer a variety of cuisine to suit the taste of every traveler. From North Indian to South Indian, there are plenty of options to choose from. Also, do not forget to taste some unique Odisha sweets.

Nearby Temples

  • Puri TempleIt is one of the most sacred destinations in the eastern India. Being one of the four Dham’s, it is the abode of Lord Jagannath. It is 65km from Bhubaneswar which draws plenty of people during the Rath Yatra festival. In addition to it, this temple is one of the most popular and holy destination in the Eastern part of India.
  • Konark Temple – It is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is 45km from Bhubaneswar. This temple is dedicated to the Sun God and the architecture is bound to leave every visitor speechless. During the month of December, Orissa Tourism organizes the Konark Festival where artists from across the world perform their arts.
  • Biraja Temple – This temple comprises of 51 Shakti peeths, out of which 18 are Maha Shakti peeths. It is the place where Goddess Navel fell and visitors who cannot travel to Gaya can visit this place. It is situated at a distance of 115 km from the city of Bhubaneswar.
  • Tarini Temple – This is a famous temple that is located in the Keojhar district and is 140km from Bhubaneswar. It is one of the Shakti peeth of the Goddess Durga.
  • Mahavinayaka Temple – Lord Ganesha is worshipped in this temple on a hill. The five deities, namely, Lord Shiva, Maa Shakti, Lord Ganesh, Lord Vishnu and Sun God are worshipped in a single idol at a single platform. It is 65km distant from Bhubaneswar.
  • Rajarani Temple – Being dedicated to Lord Brahma, this temple constitutes of a particular form of limestone that makes it unique and mesmerizing. It is just 5km away from the capital city of Odisha.
Puri Jagannath Temple

Puri Jagannath Temple

Puri Jagannath Temple

Puri Jagannath Temple Video 

Planning to travel to Puri? Check our Bhubaneswar Puri Konark Temple Tour.

The Puri Jagannath Temple is one of the most famous and revered temples in Hindu culture. It is located at Puri in Odisha. It is part of the sacred Char Dham Yatra that a Hindu must make during his or her lifetime.  It is one of the most sacred Vaishnavite Pilgrimage sites. The temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra.

The Puri Jagannath Temple is built on a raised platform in the center of the city. There are four gates of the temple facing the four directions. The gates are suitably named as The North gate (Elephant Gate), South gate (Horse Gate), West gate (Tiger Gate) and the East gate (Lion gate). The public is allowed to enter from the Lion or the East gate. At the entrance, a 10 feet high Aruna Stambha greets everyone.  A flight of 22 steps takes us to the main sanctum of Lord Jagannath.

The Puri Jagannath Temple can be divided into four areas – The Vimana (Sanctum), The Jagamohan (the Porch), Natamandir (Audience hall) and the Bhogamandap. The Vimana was once known as the tallest structure in ancient India. On the walls, several murals depict the life of Lord Krishna.

The first thing that comes to our mind when we talk about the Puri Jagannath Temple is the world famous Jagannath Rath Yatra. The festival has propelled the temple into worldwide fame.

Puri Jagannath Temple History

  • As per the copper plates discovered belonging to the Ganga Dynasty, the ruler of Kalinga Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev initiated the construction of the Puri Jagannath Temple.
  • In 1174E, the King Ananga Bhima Dev built the puri jagannath temple in its present form.
  • Worshiping at the Puri Jagannath temple was discontinued in 1558 when Odisha was attacked by the Afghan General Kalapahad.
  • Deities were re-installed and rituals began again after the establishment of the Khurda kingdom under Ramachandra Deb.
  • According to historical evidence, the puri jagannath temple was looted 18 times.
  • It is believed that Lord Jagannath was originally worshipped as Nila Madhava by the tribals residing in a dense forest. A king named Indradyumna of the Malwa plateau had a dream that Lord Vishnu could be viewed in his true form in Utkala (ancient name of Odisha). He appointed a person named Vidyapati to search for this form. Vidyapati came upon the tribal community and found out about the worshiping of the Nila Madhava. Vidyapati married the daughter of the chief of the tribal and was shown the way to the place housing the Nila Madhava. Vidyapati informed the king about the place of worship but when the King went there by himself, the Nila Madhava had disappeared. The King was deeply dejected. Lord Vishnu, taking pity, issued a divine message to him that he should go to the shores of Puri and create the image of Lord Jagannath from a log of wood that will be floating on the waves. Lord Vishnu appeared as a carpenter and asked to leave him undisturbed for 21 days in a room so that he could prepare the image. However, on the insistence of the Queen, the room was opened early and only the unfinished images of the three gods and the Sudarsana Chakra were present.
  • According to historians, the puri jagannath temple was initially dedicated to only Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra. The third idol of Subhadra was placed later when Adi Shankaracharya visited Puri.

Significance of Puri Jagannath temple

  • Unlike idols located in other parts of the country, which are usually made of stone or metal, the idol of Lord Jagannath is made of Wood.
  • The puri jagannath temple’s kitchen is the biggest kitchen in the World. It can cook for lakhs of people at a time. The tradition says that the cooking of the food is supervised by Goddess Mahalakshmi herself. If she is displeased, a shadow of a dog appears near the kitchen. The food is then buried and a new batch is prepared. The food is purely vegetarian without using onions and garlic. It is made in earthen pots with wood as fuel. It is believed that by consuming the Mahaprasad at the Temple Kitchen, one can redeem himself in front of Lord Jagannath. The Mahaprasad consists of Rice, Dal, Vegetable Curry and a sweet dish. Dry Mahaprasad is also available for pilgrims who want to carry it to home with them.
  • A ritual unique to the Puri Jagannath temple is the Nabakalebara process. The idols of the deities have to be replaced after 12 yrs since they are made of wood which decays as time passes by. The elaborate procedure in which the deities are all replaced is collectively called as Nabakalebara. In short, the selected Neem tree is fell, cut to size and an exact replica of the original idols are made out of it. The old idols are buried under a place called Koili Vaikuntha.
  • Lord Jagannath is worshiped as “Daru Brahma”, Daru meaning Wood and Brahma meaning the soul. It is believed that inside the wooden idol of Lord Jagannath, an unknown substance is present known as Brahma. There are several theories on what the substance could be, but according to the poems dating back 500 years ago, it is a piece of bone from Lord Krishna’s body when he left Earth.
  • In ancient times, the puri jagannath temple was iconic in the way that it gave equal importance to Vaisnavism (devotees of Vishnu), Saktism (devotees of Bhadra / Kali) and Saivism (devotees of Shiva). Lord Jagannath represents Lord Vishnu, Balabhadra is Lord Shiva and Subhadra represents Durga.
  • On the top floor of the Shikhar of the Jagannath shrine, a Neel Chakra is placed. The disc is an eight-spiked chakra. This is the only physical object considered sacred in the worshiping of Lord Jagannath. It symbolises protection by Lord Jagannath.

Puri Jagannath Temple Timings

  • Puri Jagannath Temple opens at 5 am and closes at 12 midnight. The afternoon break is from 1 pm to 4 pm.
  • Mangala Aarti takes place between 5 AM to 6 AM.
  • Non-Hindus or Hindus but not Indians are not allowed inside the temple premises.
  • Smoking and drinking are prohibited inside the puri jagannath temple complex.

Dress Code

It is advised to wear a conservative form of dress in accordance with the local culture of the place.

Poojas and Rituals at Puri Jagannath Temple

  • Mailama is performed after the Mangal Aarti in the morning. In this ritual, the clothes worn by the God are taken off along with the jewels to prepare them for their ritualistic bath.
  • Abakash or the Purificatory rituals like bathing of the idol takes place between 6:00 AM to 6:30 AM.
  • Sahanamela – Pilgrims are allowed to enter the inner sanctum to have a darshan. This takes place between 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM.
  • Surya Puja and Dwarapal Puja are performed at 8:00 AM.
  • Gopala Ballava Pooja – Breakfast is offered to the deities. Sweet popcorn (Khai), Coconut sweets, Ripe banana, Curd, and chipped coconuts are offered as Bhog. Puja is performed in a brief manner with pancha upachar only.
  • Sakala Dhupa – Three pundits sit in front of the three deities and worships each one of them. Bhog is offered. The cost of the Poojas is borne by the Puri Jagannath Temple Administration.
  • Sandhya Dhupa – Aarti is performed between 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
  • Pahuda at 12 midnight. The deities are taken to Ratnasimhasana where they retire to bed.

Festivals celebrated at Puri Jagannath Temple

  • Chandan Yatra – On Akshaya Tritiya, in the month of Vaisakha, the representative images of the God are taken to a famous tank called Narendra Pokhari with much pomp and fare. The day commemorated the beginning of the construction of the Chariots used for the Rath Yatra.
  • Snana Yatra – This is the first time in a year when the deities are taken out of the sanctum and are placed on the Snana Vedi. Jagannath and Balabhadra are dressed like Lord Ganesha with an elephant head on top. The idols are bathed with 108 buckets of water. The deities are eventually removed from the sanctum and are worshiped secretly till the second day of the Asadha (June-July) month.
  • Rath Yatra – The Rath Yatra is also known as The Gundicha Yatra. Gundicha was the queen of King Indradyumna. She initiated the first ever Rath Yatra conducted. The Rath Yatra has been taking place since time immemorial. The earliest references to the Yatra have been made in the Brahma Purana and the Skanda Purana. The Rath Yatra takes place in June-July every year. The three deities are taken to the Gundicha temple located 3 km away on three individual huge and magnificent Rathas. After 9 days, the deities are brought back to the temple in the same way. The return journey is called Bahuda Yatra. The three chariots are named as  Nandighosa for Jagannath,  Taladhvaja for Balabhadra and Devadalana for Subhadra. The order in which the chariots are pulled from the Puri Jagannath Temple gate towards the Gundicha temple is Balabhadra, Subhadra and then Jagannatha.
  • Makara Sankranthi – This festival occurs in the Hindu month of Pausa. The day signifies the rich harvest of the agricultural produce. Prayers are given and varieties of food are kept in front of the deities for them to bless it.

Some of the other important celebrations are Jhulana yatra, Ram Navami, Radha Ashtami, Krishna Lila, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dasara and Deepavali.

How to reach Puri Jagannath Temple

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar which is 53 km away from puri jagannath temple. Regular flights are available from all major cities in India.
  • By Train – Puri is well connected by rail. Direct trains are operated from major cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.
  • By Road – The State buses are available in plenty from stations like Bhubaneshvwar, Vizag, Konark and Chilka.

Where to stay

The Puri Jagannath Temple Administration maintains two guest houses by the names of Shri Gundicha Bhakta Nivas and The Nilachal Bhakta and Yatri Nivas. Rooms can be booked online by visiting the site.

Private 3-star and 5-star hotels are available in plenty for the pilgrims throughout the city of Puri.

Where to eat

The Mahaprasad offered by the puri jagannath temple is a meal in itself and a must have. Apart from that, a large number of Vegetarian restaurants are available outside the temple complex. The cuisine ranges from local to Punjabi and Chinese.

Nearby Temples

  • Sakshi Gopal Temple – The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha. Amla Navami is the main festival celebrated here. The temple is located 17 km away from the Puri Highway.
  • Vimala Temple – It is located inside the temple complex. Goddess Vimala is considered to be the consort of Jagannath and a guardian of the temple complex. Devotees pay respect to Vimala before worshipping Jagannath in the main temple. Food offered to Jagannath does not get sanctified as Mahaprasad until it is also offered to Vimala.
  • Gundicha Temple –It is located 3 km away from the Jagannath Temple. It is the destination of the chariots during the Rath Yatra. The three deities are kept here for 7 days during the Rath Yatra.