Arthur Wellesley has very aptly said that, educating man without religion is like making clever devils. God is neither a physical nor an abstract creature. God is but manifestation of all things good in life and is realized by paying visits to temples, churches or mosques. God is omnipotent, omnipresent and universal. Universe means ‘Bhuban’ and ‘Ishwar’ means God. Bhubanshwar, the capital city of Odisha is best known for its Lingaraj Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
This land of Lord Jagannath was earlier known as Kalinga. It is here at Bhubaneshwar that the Kalinga War was fought against the mighty emperor Ashoka who was transformed into ‘Dharmashoka’or ‘religious Ashoka at the sight of a river of blood created by brave fighters. Ashoka accepted Buddhism and became the harbinger of peace and ‘Universal Brotherhood’.
Tourists come here with the objective of getting the holy bliss of Lord Shiva at the Lingaraj temple, Lord Jagannath at Puri and the Sun God at Konarka; thus traversing the golden triangle.
Tourists can make the best of their visit if they pay visit to Bhubaneshwar during the world famous ‘Ratha Yatra’ or Chariot Festival of Lord Jagannath that falls on the 2nd day of the month of Shravana, usually during July. Similarly, a weeklong cultural extravaganza could be witnessed at the beach of Konarka during the winter.
The place where the Lingaraj temple stands is now known as ‘Old Town’. The modern Bhubaneshwar is a well-planned city and has been rapidly growing over the past few decades into a hub of political, educational, cultural activities of the state of Odisha.
Devotees visiting the Lingaraj temple and the Ananta Vasudeva temple usually take a holy dip in the Bindu Sarovara, a large artificial lake. The twin hills of Khandagiri and Udayagiri, 8 km away from Bhubaneshwar have carved cave like chambers that date back to 2nd century BC. Raani Gumpha or Queen’s Cave is double storied and has ornamented carvings. The Haati Gumpha or Elephant cave exhibits inscriptions of King Kharavela. Udayagiri showcases Jain monastery.
The Shanti StupaOr the ‘Peace Pagoda’ of Dhauli Giri, located at 8 km away from Bhubaneshwar stand at the mark of remorse and repentance by emperor Ashoka. Edicts of Ashoka could be witnessed here. A sculpted elephant tops the rock edicts, symbolizing boundless power of Lord Buddha.
Mukteswara TempleWith decorative gateway and sculptures speak much about the artisan skill and architectural excellence. Rajarani temple has no presiding deity but attracts visitors’ attraction for carved figurines.
Non-Hindus and foreign visitors find the ISKCON or Shri Krishna Balaram temple, a clean and comfortable place for dining vegetarian meals and enjoying a serene environment amidst the noisy atmosphere of the city.
Nandankanan Zoo, 15 km away from Bhubaneshwar has some rare species of animals, particularly the white tigers. Other places of visitors’ interest are the State Museum, Ravindra Mandap, Samanta Singhar Planetarium and Deras Dam near Chandaka Sanctuary.
Visitors to Bhubaneshwar go back with the holy bliss of Lord Jagannath and a recharged mind to work with utmost physical and mental prowess.