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Lingaraja Temple, Orissa

Lingaraj Temple OrissaSurrounded by high walls on four sides, the Lingaraja temple is one of the most famous temples in Orissa. It is one of the best and splended examples of the architectural exellence which the artists had attained during 11th century. This temple is also known as the Bhubaneswar temple. The outer walls of the temple exhibit exemplary carvings. The beautifully sculpted images of various God and Goddess are unmatched. The temple tower can be seen from a long distance. The temple complex has three parts and each part has one temple each. Towards south of the entrance to main temple is image of Lord Ganesha, at the back is the image of Goddess Parvati and to north is Lord Kartikya. There are about 600 temples in Orrisa, the biggest and finest being the Lingaraj Temple. Lingaraj temple was built in 617-657 A.D and its height is about 54 meters. It was Jajati Keshari who laid the foundation of the Lingaraj temple and his great grandson completed the work. This temple was constructed in the 11th AD at the site of an old seventh century shrine. The 'nata mandapa' (dance hall) and 'bhoga mandapa' (offerings hall), were later added to the temple, that has evolved over different historical periods.

By the time, the Lingaraja temple was built, the Jagannath cult had become widespread, throughout Orissa. The temple is dedicated to Lord Siva the ‘Lingam’ here is unique in that it is a ‘hari hara’ lingam-half Siva and half Vishnu. there are 150 shrines within the immense Lingaraja complex ,many of them extremely interesting in their own right. This is exemplified by the fact, that the presiding deity, here, is the Svayambhu Linga - half Shiva, half Vishnu, a unique feature of the temple. Almost all the Hindu gods and goddesses are represented in this temple, mirroring the inherent element of harmony within the religion.

HISTORY
Lingaraj temple was built in 617-657 A.D and its height is about 54 meters.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. Bhubaneshwar remained as the Kesari capital, till Nripati Kesari founded Cuttck in the 10th century. Inscriptions from the period of the Kalinga King Anangabhima III from the 13th century are seen here.Structurally, the Parasurameswara temple at Bhubaneshwar is the oldest, dating back to the middle of the 8th century, and the Lingaraja is temple is assigned to the 10th century. The nata mandir and the bhog mandir of the Lingaraja temple are of later originTemple of Lingaraja Orissa


ARCHITECTURE

The outer walls of the temple exhibit unparalled carvings. The beautifully carved and sculpted images of various God and Goddess are unrivalled. The temple complex has three compartments and each one has a temple each. Towards south of the entrance to main temple is image of Lord Ganesha, at the back is the image of Goddess Parvati and to north is Lord Kartikya. The Lingaraja temple has got various pillars and halls which add to its beauty. The Lingaraja temple has got various pillars and halls which add to its beauty. At the main gate is the temple of Lord Ganesha followed by Nandi pillar. Its towering spire-like beauty dominates the Bhubaneswar skyline.It represents the the peak of Kalinga style of architecture spanning over 25 centuries of progressive history.This 11th century temple is the culmination of architectural beauty and sculpted elegance. The temple is dedicated to "Tri Bhubaneshwar", or Lord of the three worlds also known as Bhubaneshwar. The granite block representing "Tri Bhubaneshwar" is bathed daily with water, milk and Bhang (Marijuana). It is enclosed and has four features - a sanctuary, a dancing hall, an assembly hall and a hall of offerings. There are many smaller shrines around the temple in the enclosed area.

THE LEGENDS
Legend has it that Shiva revealed to Parvati that Bhubaneshwar - or Ekamra thirtha was a resort favoured by him over Benares. Parvati in the guise of a cowherd woman, decided to look at the city herself. Two demons Kritti and Vasa desired to marry her. She requested them to carry her upon their shoulders, and crushed them under her weight. Shiva, then created the Bindu Saras lake to quench her thirt, and took abode here as Krittivasas or Lingaraja.

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