It is said that Lord Shiva established this tank as a place of pilgrimage by bringing water from all the holy places. Taking bath here and drinking the water of this lake is said to cure any disease of the stomach. Lord Chaitanya took bath in this lake when He first came from Bengal to Puri. It is located right next to the Lingaraja Temple . A pilgrimage to Bhubaneswar is supposed to start with a bath here. On the eastern bank is the 'Ananta Vasudeva' temple , which is dedicated to Krishna and Balarama.
The Lingaraja deity is brought to the pavilion in the middle of the tank and ritually bathed during the annual Car festival ('Ashokastami '). The best time to come here is around sunrise.
Lingaraja Temple (11th century)
The Lingaraja temple dominates the skyline of Bhubaneshwar from as far away as 15-kms and exhibits the skill of the Orissan temple architects at its completely mature and developed stage. This temple was constructed in the 11th Century AD at the site of an old 7th Century Shrine. Along with the 'deul' and the 'Jagmohana' the Lingaraja temple has two new structures, the 'Nata Mandira' (dance hall) and the ' Bhoga Mandapa' (offering hall). Dedicated to Lord Shiva the 'Lingam' here is unique in that it is a 'Hari Hara' lingam - half Siva and Half Vishnu. There are around 150 subsidiary shrines within this giant temple.
Often referred to as the 'Gem of Orissan Architecture' this temple has been built on the lines of the Kalinga School of temple architecture. This temple too is a deviation in that the architects have blended old and new techniques of planning and execution. Many new innovations in later temples are from here. A 'Torana', an arched gateway is a unique feature of this temple.
The temple dedicated Lord Shiva-Mukteswara , is carved with figures of ascetics in various poses of meditation and scenes from the storehouse of Indian fables, the 'Panchatantra'. A dip in a sacred well to the east of the temple is supposedly a cure for infertility.
Parasurameswara Temple built in 650 AD is one of the few earliest temples of Bhubaneshwar. This temple built in the 'Kalinga' style of temple architecture was dedicated to Lord Siva but there are images of Lord Vishnu, 'Yama', 'Surya' and seven Mother Goddesses. In typical fashion, it is liberally sculpted with amorous couples, animals and floral motifs.
Just south of Parasurameswara temple is the 'Swaranajaleswara' temple is the 'Swaranajaleswara' temple. Built in a similar style, the motifs on the walls however differ, depicting scenes from the 'Ramayana'.
Raj Rani Temple
The Raja Rani temple is an essay in grace and poise and is particularly interesting in that it has no presiding deity. The name of this temple is supposed to be derived from the red-gold sandstone used - Raja Rani being the local name for the stone. The 'deul' is intricately carved with figurines in various stages of daily chores. The lower portion of the deul has the 'Gurdians of the eight directions' guarding the eight cardinal points of the temple.
Brahmeswara temple depicts the mature Orissan style of temple architecture. The 'deul' and the 'Jagmohana' are both intricately carved and for the first time in temple architectural history musicians and dancers appear on the outer walls and iron beams find their first use. In the western section 'Chamunda', Shiva and other deities are depicted.
Vaital Deul Temple
Vaital Deul is the Shrine of 'Chamunda' or 'Shakti'. Seated on a corpse in a dark inner sanctum is the Goddess Chamunda, garland of skulls round her neck and flanked by a jackal and an owl. The niches on the inner wall depict equally startling images along with scenes of tantric rituals. It is the first of the temples to depict erotic sculptures, it is also unique in that the outer surface of the vault is plain while profusely embellished on the inside.
Standing to a height of about 9.45m. On the south-bank of Bindu-Sarovara, it is, in its architectural features, a close analogue to the Parasuramesvara temple . Its carvings, however, were left unfinished. The damaged jagamohana has been restored recently. All the images of Parsva-Devatas- Parvati, Kartikeya and Ganesa- are in situ.
On the body of the deul are incised a few short records. Inside the sanctum is a ten-armed dancing icon of Chamunda, terrific to behold. On the floor of the jagamohana lies a six-armed image of 'Mahishasuramardini'. Its original 'Garbha-Muda' above the present wooden ceiling is distinguished by a carved lotus on the topmost stone capping the corbels. There is at least one more chamber over the Garbha-Muda.
This temple, on the north bank of Bindu-Sarovara, consisting of the deul and jagamohana of the Parasuramesvara type, has its superstructure above the first 'Bhumi-Amla' plastered in the course of repairs and restorations. Of the images of Parsva-Devatas, Kartikeya presents an interesting variation. Noted for the plasticity of modelling, the deity stands without his mount, holding in his left hand a long spear, his right hand akimbo.
By the side of the main road, a few metres to the north of the Lingaraja temple , is the Gauri-Sankara-Ganesa shrine, half-buried under the age-long accumulation of debris, raising the road-level nearly to the height of its bada. A narrow flight of steps gives access to the temple, which consists of the deul only.
As in the case of the Mohini temple, its carvings were left incomplete. The crowning member, consisting of a cylindrical object, octagonal below and round above, over the 'Khapuri' is partially preserved, and we have here three 'Bhumi-Varandis' instead of the usual four.
Also closely affiliated with the Parasuramesvara group are the Paschimesvara temple and a half-buried shrine within the enclosure of the 'Yamesvara' temple. The first, a tiny shrine, which has been regarded by some scholars as one of the earliest, was most unfortunately demolished several years back, and only its plinth and images of Parsva-Devatas-
(i) A four-armed standing figure of Parvati holding a vase, a crooked staff, a rosary and a lotus and with her mount lion on the left.
(ii) A two-armed figure of Kartikeya remarkable for his "Sikhandaka-Kakapaksha" hairstyle, seated on his peacock and holding a spear in his left hand and a 'Matulunga' in his right.
(iii) A four-armed figure of Ganesa with his raised knee and pot-belly tied by a snake, seated on a throne supported by a dwarf and holding a bowl of 'laddukas', a hatchet, a rosary and a radish-can now be seen right on the south-west corner of Bindu-Sarovara.
Facing the south, this temple is architecturally akin to the Siddhesvara temple and, like it, has a thick - set heavy-shouldered gandi betraying an immaturity. Its Bhumi-Amlas are, however, rectangular. The recesses between the projections of the bada are occupied by female figures or erotic couples in the upper jangha and vidalas in the lower jangha. Of the images of the Parsva-Devatas, the four-armed Kartikeya, with his two left hands touching a cock, and Ganesa also four-armed, are in situ. The 'mustaka' of the jagamohana contains all the usual elements.
The right wall of the entrance of the jagamohana contains an inscription recording the donation of a perpetual lamp in front of the lord 'Kedaresvara' by Raja Pramadi, the younger brother of the Ganga king 'Anantavarman Chodaganga', in A.D. 1142, thus providing the existence of the temple before that date.
Devoid of any artistic or architectural merit, this temple has hardly any place in the development of temple-structure and is rather a negation of the principles of the rational architectural evolution at Bhubaneswar. Its peculiar form was dictated by the height of the enshrined linga, which was originally a freestanding pillar.
To enable the devotees to reach the top of the linga and to perform ritualistic worship, the bada is built in two tiers: the upper tier, approachable by a flight of steps against the northern wall of the lower tier, is pierced with a door on the west side; the lower one looks like a platform and is provided with four door-ways, one on each side, leading to the floor of the sanctum.
Both the tiers are 'Pancha-Ratha' on plan and have five-fold divisions. The low superstructure, singularly disproportionate, is made of nine 'Pidhas' and is crowned by a succession of 'Beki', 'Amla', 'Khapuri' and 'Kalasa'. The images of the 'Parsva-Devatas' in the niches of the upper bada are intact.
Orissa State Museum
This museum has a collection of religious sculptures, weapons, coins, and musical instruments. It also has a good collection of antique paintings and palm leaf manuscripts in a small room at the end of the corridor on the first floor.
It is located at the top of Gautam Nagar (Lewis Road), not far from the hotel Ashok and is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 1.30pm and 2.30 to 5pm.