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Orissa Temple Towns - Bhubaneswar, Puri Jagannath Temple and Konark

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Sakshi Jain persuaded her parents to take her to Bhubaneshwar since she had learned Odissi dance for years in Delhi, and wanted to see the sculptures depicting dance poses on the temple walls.


Temple Towns

The capital of Orissa was once called the City of Temples. It was known to have 7000 temples, out of which now a mere 400 remain. A distinct style of temple architecture evolved in this region, and after the decline of Buddhism, a surge of Hindu temple-building took place from the 7th to the 13th centuries.


  • Lingaraj Temple - This is the best example of the grand temples of Bhubaneswar built in the 11th century. It has a 55-metre high spire, and is adorned with rich sculptures. There are 100 smaller temples dotting its large courtyard. The sacred Bindusagar tank is nearby for ritual bathing of worshippers.
  • Vaital Deul temple - this is a small temple that was supposedly used for tantric worship. It is dedicated to the eight-armed goddess Chamundi who wears a garland of skulls.
  • Mukteshwar temple - this is one of the most artistic of Orissa temples. It has exquisite carvings of female figures, flowers, animals all over its exterior walls.
  • Rajarani temple is another fine example of Orissa temple architecture. It has an elaborate spire decorated with several mini replicas of the main temple.
  • Orissa State Museum - visit this museum to see a vast collection of Jain and Buddhist carvings and tribal art.

This magnificent temple dedicated to the sun god Surya, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was built in the 13th century and is in the form of an immense chariot with 12 pairs of wheels meant to carry Surya in his journey across the skies. The temple has a rich profusion of sculptures of gods and goddesses, ordinary people in their daily lives, animals, flowers and other decorative elements.


Many of the sculptures on the temple walls are of dancing poses, from the classical dance form of Odissi. There are several erotic sculptures, as well as scenes from the royal court such as the king being presented with a giraffe - showing the flourishing of maritime trade from overseas. The carved chariot wheels stand for the twelve months of the year and the seven horses that pull the chariot stand for the days of the week. The temple also has the typical Orissa style horses mounted over elephants, which can be seen in many other temples in the region.


One of the most holy pilgrimages for Hindus, this temple in the coastal town of Puri is dedicated to Krishna (Jagannath), who is flanked by his sister Subhadra on one side and Balaram on the other. The enormous deities are in a stylised art form that is typical of Puri. Once a year they are taken out on a procession in giant chariots, pulled by thousands of devout worshippers, known as the famous 'ratha yatra'. Puri is also a favourite seaside destination.

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Temple Towns
Sakshi Jain persuaded her parents to take her to Bhubaneshwar since she had learned Odissi dance for years in
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