Spiritual Places of Orissa

Orissa is a land where saints, guru and holy people in each generation have live and enjoy their spiritual life of prayer, devotion, worship and deep meditation. The temples, mantras, devotional songs, ashrams, worship, spiritual festivals many more contribute to elevate one to the dizzy heights of spiritual awareness from the border of ignominy.

Ahirabandh Jagannatha Temple

Location: Rourkela, sector-3, Puri, Orissa
Dedicated To: Lord Shiva
Built By: Ganga King Chadagangadeva
Built In: 12 century
Famous Festival: Car Festival
Get There: Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport and Puri is the nearest railway station which is connected to the all major cities.
Best Time to Visit: October to March

This temple is also known as white Pagoda. This is a much larger and somewhat later structure than the Lingaraja temple, although both these great structures are built on more or less the same principle. The temple consists of four edifices in one position from east to west, the Bhogmandir, the Natmandir, the Jaganmohan and the duel or the inner sanctuary, which is surmounted by a conical tower of huge proportions. Muktimandap, Niladari Vihar, Kalpavata are the other attraction of this place. As in the Puri Jagannath Temple, 13 festivals including a car festival are observed here in a year, with much fanfare. The complex also houses an Aiyappa Temple.

Gauri Temple

Location: Bhubaneswar, Orissa
Dedicated to: Goddess Parvati
Built In: 850AD to 885 AD
Get There: Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport and Puri is the nearest railway station which is connected to the all major cities.
Best Time to Visit: October to March

Gaurichala is another name of this temple. There are two other temples at Bhubaneswar, which may be regarded as close generation of the Mukteshwar temple. One of them is the Sureswar, a very small structure which stands near the Kotitirtheswar temple in the close neighborhood of the Swarnajaleswar temple and the other is the Gouri temple located in the compound of the Kedareswar temple. The legend goes that king Lalatendu Kesari, after a tragic episode relating to two lovers Kedar and Gouri, had built this temple in their memory. Near the temple there is a ‘Khirakunda’ and another 'Marichi Kunda’.

Konark Sun Temple

Location: Village of Konark, which is 35km north of Puri on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
Dedicated To: God Sun
Built In: 13 century (1278 CE)
Built By: Ganga King Narasimha Deva
Get There: Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport and Puri is the nearest railway station which is connected to the all major cities.
Best Time to Visit: October to March

Konark Sun Temple is one of well known tourist attraction of Orissa. The temple comprised a sanctum with a lofty (presumably over 68 m. high) sikhara, a jagamohana (30. m. square and 30. m. high) and a detached nata-mandira (hall of dance) in the same axis, besides numerous subsidiary shrines. Konark is also known as Konaditya. It is one of the grandest temples of India and was referred to as the Black Pagoda. Shaped like a giant chariot, the temple is known for the exquisite stone carvings that cover the entire structure. The surfaces of the temple are carved with exquisite stone sculptures with a wide variety of subjects, including many erotic scenes based on the Kama Sutra. Erotic sculptures are found especially in niches halfway up the porch, along the sides of the platform and around the doorways of the main building. The entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot with seven horses and twentyfour wheels, carrying the sun god, Surya, across the heavens.

Lingaraja Temple

Location: Bhubaneswar, Orissa
Dedicated To: Lord Shiva
Built In: 11 century
Built By: Yayati Keshari
Get There: The Biju Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneswar is 4 kilometers from the city centre and Bhubaneshwar is an important rail-head on the East Coast Railway.
Best Time to Visit: October to March

This is the most popular tour of the India and this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Actually, the temple is divided into four parts, the Garbh Griha, the Yajna Shala, the Bhoga Mandap and the Natya Shala respectively. In the Garbh Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum), the lingam of Lord Shiva is regarded as 'Swayambhu' (Self-originated) and it is worshipped as both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The main thing is that the lingam is self originated, thus this is the popular temple of Orissa. This temple can be easily accessed by the tourists, as Bhubaneswar is well connected to many other important places of India by air, rail and road. Every year thousands of tourists visit the city to pay their homage to the religious, cultural and natural wonders.

The Jagannath Temple

Location: Puri,Orissa
Dedicated To: Lord Jagannath (Lord Krishna)
Built In: 12 century
Famous Festival: Rath Yatra
Get There: Bhubaneswar is the nearest airport and Puri is the nearest railway station which is connected to the all major cities.
Best Time to Visit: October to March

The Jagannath temple is one of the biggest, ancient and popular pilgrims of Orissa, India. It is siuated in the Nilgiri hills. One of the most popular attractions of this Temple of Puri comprises of its Rath Yatra that is organized every year. It is basically a chariot festival, where idols of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, the main deities of Srimandir, are taken to the Gundicha temple in bejeweled chariots and are brought back to the Temple in the same way. There are the wooden statue of Balabhadra (Balarama) and Subhadra brother and sister of Krishna respectively. The basic structure of the temple has a total height of about 65 meters. It is supposed to be established in the 12th century. Jagannath Temple in Odisha (Orissa) consists of four entrance gates. They are named as Singhadwara, Ashwadwara, Hathidwara and Vyaghradwara and these names refer to lion, horse, elephant and tiger.

Udayagiri Pilgrimage

Location: At 6 km from Bhubaneswar
Dedicated To: Buddhist complex
Built In: 2 century
Get There: The domestic airport is Bhubaneswar (3 kilometers) and nearest railway station is also Bhubaneswar
Best Time to visit: September to March

There are about 18 rock- hewn apartments at Udaygiri alone, with the Hathi Gumpha or Elephant Cave, bearing the well-known inscriptions of the king. Both he and his queen appear to have been great patrons of the arts. Konark Sun Temple, Konark, Ajanta Caves Ellora Caves, Aurangabad, Elephanta Caves etc are other attractions around this temple. Most of these caves were chiseled in these sandstone hills for the Jain monks, who had renounced the world to meditate in peace and calm and to do severe reparation. The caves therefore inside one bore with no concessions to any form of comfort, other than to give basic dry shelter. They are just steeping compartments, which are cramped and low scoffed. The excavations also brought to light an extensive complex of brick monastery with a number of Buddhist sculptures. The entire area is found located at the foothills of a large hill that acts as an imposing backdrop.

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