Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, is an important trade centre and religious hub in India’s North East. Often called the Temple City (some of which attract the highest number of tourists in India), it forms the swarna tribhuja with two other Odisha cities, Puri and Konark. But that’s not all.
Bhubaneswar also has some iconic monuments and beautiful natural attractions. And then there’s its rich culture, which can be traced back to the third century BC. Here are the most iconic places to visit in Bhubaneswar.
Bhubaneswar is supposed to have had over one thousand temple, earning the tag of the 'Temple City of India'. Temples are made in the Kalinga architechtural style with a pine spire that curves up to a point over the sanctum housing the presiding deity and a pyramid-covered hall where people sit and pray.
Famous temples are:
Lingaraja Temple (Timing: 6am – 9pm)
This historic temple is said to have been built by Yayati Kesari. It is one of the popular temples in the city and attracts a lot of devotees from across India. The tower has a height of 180 feet and, inside the sanctorum, there is an eight-inch shiva lingam. The temple is surrounded by a beautiful garden with exotic plants and gorgeous flowers.
Mukhteshwara Temple (Timing: 7am – 7pm)
The Mukteshwar Temple is the finest example of a perfect blend between sculpting and architecture. Several shrines or lingas of Lord Shiva can be found in the temple. But what makes this temple fantastic is the plethora of sculptures, unparalleled detailed architecture of the whole premise.
Rajarani Temple (Timing: 6am – 8pm)
The Rajarani Temple was built sometime around the 11th or 12th century. It is one of the city’s most famous temples and takes its name after the red sand stone that the temple is constructed from.Built in the Pancharatha style of architecture, inside the temple you can see erotic carvings of couples and women. Further in the temple are carvings of scenes from what is believed to be the wedding of Lord Shiva, Nataraja and Parvati
Anant Vasudev Temple (Timing: 6am – 7pm)
Legend has it that the early inhabitants worshiped the original image of Vishnu at the spot where this temple is built. Hence, the Ananta Vasudeva Temple is believed to be of historic importance to local devotees.The exterior of the temple is similar to the Lingaraj temple; the difference, of course, is that it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu instead. Inside the temple lie idols of Krishna, Balaram, and Subhadra.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri (9am – 5pm)
Situated a few miles away from Bhubaneswar, the Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves are rock cut caves believed to have been carved out by Jain monks. The caves sit adjacent to each other and have inscriptions written all over its walls.Within the two caves, there are many small caves that have important stone carvings, footprints, and sculptures. On the Khandagiri hill, you can visit a beautiful Jain temple.
Brahmeshwara Mandir (Timing: 6am – 9pm)
The Brahmeswara was built sometime in the 9th century in honour of Lord Shiva. The construction of the temple follows typical Indian architecture. The door frames of the temple contain beautiful designs and symbolic inscriptions.Shaped in the form of a pyramid, the temple was constructed in the style of typical Orissan architecture. The outer walls of the temple have images of hieratic deities, human beings, and geometrical shapes on them.
Nandakanan Zoo (Timing 7:30 am – 5:30pm)
Located inside the Chandaka forest, the Nandankanan Zoo houses more than 67 species of animals. The zoo also houses a botanical garden with different varieties of plants. Animals such as crocodiles, tigers, lions, and monkeys reside at the zoo.
Indira Gandhi Park (Timing 9:00 am – 6:30pm)
This park is built at the site where former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave her last speech. Inside the park, there are many slides and rides that kids can play on. Adults can take walks on the lovely footpaths or watch the musical fountains. There is also a canteen that serves delicious local delicacies inside the park.