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Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Odisha is a very popular tourist destination of the state and is also known as the City of Temples. It has over 700 temples and most of them dedicated to Lord Shiva.
According to mythology, Bhubaneshwar is also the Sanskrit name for Lord Shiva, and the place has a deep connect with him, as this was one of his favorite places to spend time in. apart from this, many of the temples were built in and around 8th to 12th century AD, this was the time when the worship of Lord Shiva was at its peak.
Starting with the Lingraj Temple, there are five temples not to be missed when here. The Lingraj Temple, built in 11th century AD, is a perfect example of the temple architecture used at that time. It is a splendid sight to behold. The Lingraj, or the king of Lingas, represents the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. There are 64, more smaller shrines dotting the temple complex. The important thing to remember for a tourist is that only the Hindus are allowed inside the temple complex, other people can view the inside from a raised platform.
Mukteshwar Temple was built in 10th century AD and is one of the smallest and most compact temples in the city. It stands at merely 34 feet in height. The temple is also special as its dedicated to the “Lord who gives freedom through yoga”, hence a visitor will find many people performing various yoga postures and doing meditation in the temple complex. The temple is also known for its exquisite stone archway and the ceiling with its eight petal lotus inside the porch.
Brahmeshwar Temple, is near to the Lingraj temple, and is said to be built in 11th century AD. The temple is a fist of its kind to employ iron beams in its construction, it is also amongst the first temples to use images of musicians and dancers in its temple walls. The temple stands tall at about 60 feet in height and it’s decorated with images of several gods and goddesses, various religious scenes and animals and birds.
The Rajarani Temple is quite unique, in the sense that it’s not dedicated to any particular deity. Built in 10th century AD, it was a pleasure spot for the king and queen of the time. The carvings on the exterior remind one of the Khajuraho Temple.
The Yogini Temple, is some 15 km away from Bhubaneshwar, and yet is an experience not to be missed out on. The temple is only one of the four temples in the country representing the cult of tantra. People are fearful of visiting the place and still it holds a fascination for all. The temple has carved figures of 64 yogini goddesses, representing the 64 forms of the Divine Mother created to drink blood of demons.