Temples of Orissa
Orissa is a land of temples. The entire landscape of the state is interspersed with temples which ricochet about its great ancient past and a culture that is unmatched by any other civilization of the past. If you take Orissa’s history into account, you can easily see that how the civilization of Orissa evolved around the temples of the state and how religion was blended in the thought actions and mind of the people here.
Trekking Orissa’s tryst with temples, you can start from the times of Ashoka, who had after his win over the mighty kalinga empire, proclaimed Buddhism from the inscription of Dhauli (5 miles from Bhubaneswar) and issued edicts for the just governance of the State from the rock edict of Jaugada in Ganjam District.
Following close on heels and pronouncing the advent of Jainism in Orissa, the mighty King Kharavela (Circa 450 B.C.) who had his capital at Sisupalgarh near Bhuvaneswar, constructed the famous caves on the hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, also near Bhubaneswar, for the Jain monks. The hills are honeycombed with caves or cells, of which 44 have been found so far in Udayagiri and 21 in Khandagiri. Many of them appear to have been excavated in the 4th or 5th century B. C. and are noted for their minute architectural details.
The Hindu revival began from the 7th to 13th century A. D. with the performance of a yagna by Jajati Kesari who requisitioned the help of 10,000 Brahmins from Kanyakubja and performed the sacred rite at the modern Jajpur, formerly known as Yagnapur, on the banks of the Baitarini. This great and powerful monarch gave a death blow to Buddhism by constructing innumerable Saivite temples at Jajpur which was the capital of Kalinga. Next his attention centered round Bhubaneswar, the then stronghold of Jainism, and he constructed 9999 Saivite temples there. The first temples to raise their heads in Bhubaneswar were perhaps the temples of Parasurameswara and Mukteswara at Bhubaneswar. The architecture of these two temples is more than enough to prove that the Kesari architecture was by far the best of the contemporary architectural styles of India. The temple of Mukteswar, worked in red sandstone is one of the finest examples of Hindu architecture. “The grandeur of this temple, the fine needle-work on stone, and its attractive imposition, all prove eloquently what a masterly hand the Hindu architects of Kalinga possessed in those days.
The good work started by King Jajti Keshari continued by his predecessors and many temples came up later. Notable among them are the Lingraja Temple and the Jagannath temple of Puri. The Kalinga style of architecture, being patronized by the kings flourished and grew to unassailable heights during the later parts of 12 th Century. The greatest and most vivid expression of the temple architecture of Orissa was the Sun temple of Konark which is aptly often referred to as the “Poetry on Stone”. Coupled with a unique theme and intricacy of design, the temple took Orissa’ architecture to the greatest height possible.
Today Orissa’s landscape is interspersed with temples which ricochet its great ancient past and a culture that is unmatched by any other civilization of the past.
What is great about the temples of orissa is that most of these ancient architecture are still in good condition and offer immense delight to the tourist on Orissa Tourism. Apart from famous temples like the Jagannath Temple,Konark Temple,Lingaraj Temple,Mukteswar Temple which attract most visitors there are hordes of other temple which form a part of the itinerary menu of a tourist on temple tour to Orissa.
Presented in this section in detail is facts related to the temples of Orissa. Click in the links below to browse through the pages and know more about temples of Orissa.