Bhubaneshwar,Orrissa,India

Published: 19th January 2011
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The capital city of Orissa, Bhubaneshwar literally means The Abode of the Lord of the World. Bhubaneshwar is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India", it is the seat of ''Tribhubaneshwar"�� or ''Lord Lingaraj'', the Lord of the Three Worlds "�" the God Shiva. So come to the temple city of Bhubaneshwar, where at every corner you turn you find another temple. where at every corner you turn you find another temple. Most of the temples are located in the old town and are reminiscent of the architecture during the Kalinga period. With this religious ambience, you fall asleep and wake up to the ringing of temple bells and chanting of shlokas! Old Bhubaneshwar"��s skyline has temple spires extending tall fingers into the clouds with saffron pennants announcing the all-encompassing presence of Hinduism. The New Bhubaneshwar, with its modern buildings and extensive infrastructure perfectly blends into the religious ambience.

Historically Speaking
The history of Bhubaneshwar is reflective of it''s ruling dynasties religious inclinations, whether towards Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism. The first mention of this historic city as the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kalinga dates back to the fourth century BC. The battle of Kalinga fought between

the armies of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and the Kalinga armies ended with the massacre of over one million people. The victorious Ashoka was distraught at the havoc he had wreaked and embraced Buddhism. The rock edicts at Dhauli, just outside Bhubhaneshwar testified the Emperor"��s change of heart and spread the message of the Buddha. Under Jain monarchs of the Chedi dynasty, Jain monks sculpted rock caves at Khandagiri and Udaigiri to be used by Jain munis (monks) as monasteries. Hindu dynasties transformed the city into a temple town with innumerable places of worship. It was only after the fifth century A.D that Bhubaneshwar became a force to reckon with. It became a key centre for Shaivite Hinduism that worships Shiva, the God of Destruction in the Hindu Trinity and Parvati his consort, as Shakti, the all powerful Mother Goddess The Hindu rulers kept the Mughals at bay till the 15th century, but once Bhubaneshwar fell to the Mughals, they razed all but the few remaining temples. Later, it passed from the Maratha to the British hands. After independence with Cuttack, the provincial capital bursting at the seams, the Indian Government officially declared Bhubaneshwar the new capital of Orissa.

Shopping
Silver filigree work called Tarakasi, stone and woodcarving, Patta paintings, silk and cotton fabrics, tie and dye textiles, patchwork, bamboo basketry, brass and bell metal work, horn work, and many other famous local crafts of Orissa can be bought from the local dealers. Check with your hotel

staff, driver or guide for the best shopping options. They often act as agents and can take visitors directly to the weavers/ their agents. In common with most major cities in India, Bhubaneshwar too has just one main shopping centre in the middle of the city. Of course, there are a number of smaller markets but the quality and prices cannot be guaranteed. Purchases can be made from outlets run by the government"��s Department of Handicrafts or at the many private shops. Bargaining is the done thing except at some of the larger stores and government emporia, so try your luck and see if you can walk away with the spoils.

Events
The Adivasi Mela or the Tribal Fair held in January, Shiva Ratri held in February, Khandagiri Mela held in January, Ashokastami, Ramanavami, Jhamuyatra held in April and Anla Navami in November are the singular events in Bhubaneshwar that draw crowds.

Night Out
Eating out in Bhubaneshwar runs along predictable lines like top notch restaurants with a la carte menus featuring a medley of cuisines, casual eating establishments and wayside stalls selling food on the move. The local cuisine highlights are prawn and crab curries, delicate white "pomfret" fish

served with boiled rice, fresh vegetables, yogurt and a variety of sweetmeats. Also available is the ubiquitous spicy and pungent South Indian dishes. Sold by street vendors and a favourite with locals and visitors alike is fresh coconut water - "��nariyal pani"��. The vendor takes a green coconut, slashes off the top with a fearsome looking knife, inserts a straw and there it is, refreshingly sweet and as safe as the best-bottled water.

Sights
Begin the tour of the temple city of Bhubaneshwar with a visit to the Lingaraj Temple , situated south of the Bindu Sagar Lake. Bindu Sagar means a drop of ocean. Bathing in the Bindu Sagar Lake is considered holy because it is said to contain the waters of all the sacred rivers, streams

and pools of India. Dating back over 1400 years, the temple is dedicated to Tribhubaneshwar, the Lord of the Three Worlds. The temple is closed to the non-Hindus but they can visit the outer compound and see the magnificent architecture and sculptures. The deity of the Lingaraj temple is brought here for his annual dip during the chariot festival of Ashokastami, celebrated in April. Close to the Lake is another interesting temple, the Vaital Deul Temple . It is dedicated to Goddess Chamumda, an avatar of the goddess Durga in her most destructive incarnation. The goddess is portrayed standing on a rotting corpse, wearing a garland of skulls, flanked by an owl and a jackal, awesome and terrifying in her divine rage as she wreaks havoc on evil and its manifestations. The temple emanates an aura of macabre grotesqueness symptomatic of all the sacrifices made there. This temple also has some of India"��s first erotic carvings, thereby suggesting that tantric beliefs may have been first propagated here. The gem of Orissa"�� temple architecture is the Mukhteshwara Temple, the most ornate of the temples in Bhubaneshwar. The Siddeshwara Temple is an incomplete affair that has the resident deities of Ganesha and Kartikeya, the two sons of Shiva. Nearby is Marichi Kund, a small tank whose waters are said to have power to cure infertility. Notable for detailed sculptures is the Brahmeshwara Temple with a three-meter high lingam which archaeologist"��s claim is a Mauryan column. Another Shiva temple built in 650 AD is the Parasurameswar Mandir. Under the canopy of a large banyan tree, it has lavishly decorated panels and friezes of Shiva as Nataraj, Lord of the Dance, the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, a row of seven Mother Goddesses with Chamunda to the right; an rare depiction of Ganesh, Shiva''s elephant-headed son and a dread locked rishi, or sage, counting on his rosary while strapped into an uncomfortable looking yogic pose. An intriguing lingam (phallic shaped symbol of Shiva), in the far corner of the courtyard, the Sahasralingam, is decorated with a thousand miniature versions of more lingams. Surrounded by well-maintained grounds is the Rajrani Mandir. The Guardians of the Eight Directions, called Dikpalas are the deities who protect the main shrine. The Dikpalas or prominent guardians are Yama, the god of Death, with his club and noose; Nritti, the God of Misery holding a severed head; Varuna, the serene God of Light standing on his sea monster; Kubera, God of Prosperity with a jar full of gem stones; Ishana, a form of Shiva and next to him Indra, the Storm God armed with his thunderbolt. Orissa State Museum has a fine collection of native artefacts, illuminated manuscripts and various archaeological finds like Jain and Buddhist sculptures. The Tribal Research Museum on CRP Square has the Museum of Man, a museum totally given to tribal art and culture considering that Orissa is home to 62 tribes each with its own art, handicraft, dance form and festivals

How to get there by Air
The city has the only airport in the state. It caters to domestic flights alone, and regular commercial flights from Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. There are taxis and auto rickshaws that will take you to your destination in town.

How to get there by Rail
Bhubaneshwar is one of the two railheads in the state that are connected by trains to all the other metro cities of India like Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.

How to get there by Bus
The bus station at Bhubaneshwar resembles the Mad Hatter''s party with interstate and intra state buses arriving and departing and passengers travelling laden with everything from chickens to goats. The state run roadways buses leave a lot to be desired but some of the private ones are more tolerable,

faster, less crowded and a little bit more comfortable. Scheduled buses to Calcutta and to Vishakapatnam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh arrive at regular intervals. Driving oneself can be fraught with adventure, and renting a car has the advantage of getting a chauffeur who wears the hat of a companion and guide as well!


Best time to Visit
Bhubaneshwar is a year round destination, but the ideal time to visit would be from October to March when the rains are over and the temperature is just right. One can go to Bhubaneshwar in February for Shiva Ratri, in January to check out the fair - Khandagiri Mela, in April for Ashokastami, Ramanavami

and Jhamuyatra and in November to witness Anla Navami. A word of caution about travel in summer "�" it is, extremely humid and hence an enervaing time for travellers not used to the heat and humidity.

Where to Stay
Orissa offers a choice of top end five star hotels in the capital. Government or state tourism department run hotels and guest- houses, youth hostels and relatively less expensive hotels to stay at. The Crown Plaza, Mayfair Lagoon and the Oberoi Grand are among the luxury hotels at Bhubaneshwar.

What to Pack
Stay Cool! Pack in plenty of cool clothes to combat the heat and humidity, sun shades and sunscreens, insect and mosquito repellents and a laid back attitude to help deal with the snags and glitches that are part and parcel of the travellers"�� lot in India.

Emergency Number
Govt Hospital Capital Hospital: 0674-2400688 Police Control Room: 0674-2403399

Nearby Places
Khandagiri & Udayagiri Caves The twin hills of Khandagiri & Udayagiri, situated 8 km from Bhubaneshwar are abundant with caves. Thirty-three rock caves were cut into the hill around 2nd century B.C. The caves have names like Hathi Gumpha (Elephant Caves), Parrot Caves and Ananta Gumpha

(Snake Caves). The two-storied Rani Gumpha or Queen''s caves are especially important for their art and architecture. The largest caves have ornate carvings, painstakingly and delicately done, displaying the high standards of artistic achievements in eastern India. Every year, this place plays host to a sadhus (holy men) convention in late January. Hundreds of travelling holy men, magnificent in their saffron robes and dreadlocks gather on the hillside to intone verses from the Gita "�" Hinduism"��s holy book Dhauli is 8 km from Bhubaneshwar, standing out from amidst the surrounding paddy fields. Dhauli is one of the Emperor Ashoka"��s 3rd century"��s Rock Edicts disseminating Lord Buddha"��s teachings. It has a magnificent elephant carved on the top, said to be the earliest rock cut sculpture in India. The edict and area around it evokes images of the historic ''Kalinga War'' that was fought here. The serene, pure white Shanti Stupa ("��Peace Pagoda"��) was built on the neighbouring hill in 1970 to commemorate Ashoka"��s conversion to Buddhism and his adoption of the path of peace and righteousness. The Dhabaleshwara Mandir is a newly renovated and restored Shiva temple that lies close to the Shanti Stupa. Hirapur situated some 15 km away from Bhubaneshwar is the quaint little town famous for the Hypaethral Temple of sixty four Yoginis built in the 11th century. There are only four temples like this in India, two of which are in Orissa. Atri is 42 km from Bhubaneshwar. A green town famed for its hot sulphur spring that is said to have curative powers, especially for arthritis and skin diseases. Nandankanan is the best zoo in India. Located 25 km north of Bhubaneshwar,it is charmingly carved out of the Chandaka Forest; and is a park where animals live in their natural habitat. This zoo is home to the rare white Bengal Tigers. The zoo population includes lions, clouded leopards, black panthers, European brown bears, Himalayan black bears, gharials (crocodiles), pelicans, Indian pythons, and king cobras along with the famous White Tiger. The striking Botanical Garden on the other side of the central lake conserves an assortment of native flora. Fascinating attractions here include a rare albino crocodile and the world''s only white tigers successfully bred in captivity. After animal watching, take a trip across the lake in a row boat, enjoy the toy train ride, or experience the popular lion safari by minibus around an vast fifty-acre reserve. The easiest way to get to the zoo is by the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation Tour, though one can also catch one of the state transport buses that leave every hour from the bus stand in Bhubaneshwar. If not, you can always take a 90-minute trip by bicycle, a healthy and budget friendly option.
For more information for this Destination please check india Travel Guide

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