Lingaraj Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in the temple city of Odisha according to the architectural standpoint. Being known as the Temple city, there are many other famous temples like the Ananta Vasudeva, RajaRani, Mukteswara, Kedareswara, Siddheswara, Parasurameswara, Ram Mandir.
The largest of these is the Lingaraj Temple, an outstanding specimen of the Odisha/Orissa style of temple building. It is about a thousand years old temple. Three holy cities Bhubaneshwar, Konarak, and Puri constitute the Golden triangle of Odisha/Orissa, visited in large numbers by pilgrims and tourists.
What is the History of Lingaraj Temple?
Bhubaneshwar is also a revered pilgrimage center, referred to in the Bhrama Purana. The Bhrama Purana refers to Bhubaneshwar as the Ekamra Kshetra enshrining a crore Shiva Lingas.
The Lingaraja temple is said to have been built first by the ruler Yayati Kesari in the 7th century who shifted his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneshwar. Bhubaneshwar remained as the Kesari capital, till Nripati Kesari founded Cuttack in the 10th century. Inscriptions from the period of the Kalinga King Anangabhima III from the 13th century are seen here.
Structurally, the Parasurameswara temple at Bhubaneshwar is the oldest, dating back to the middle of the 8th century, and the Lingaraja is temple is assigned to the 10th century. The nata mandir and the bhog mandir of the Lingaraja temple are of later origin.
Legend has it that Shiva revealed to Parvati that Bhubaneshwar – or Ekamra thirtha was a resort favored by him over Benares. Parvati in the guise of a cowherd woman decided to look at the city herself. Two demons Kritti and Vasa desired to marry her. She requested them to carry her upon their shoulders and crushed them under her weight. Shiva, then created the Bindu Saras lake to quench her thirst and took abode here as Krittivasas or Lingaraja.
The vast Bindu Sagar lake is the center around which are located in the multitude of temples of Bhubaneshwar. The Lingaraja temple is located in a spacious courtyard covering over 250000 sq feet and is bounded by fortified walls. Its tower rises up to 180 feet and is elaborately carved.
The Shivling in the sanctum of the Lingaraj temple rises to a height of 8 inches above the floor level and is 8 feet in diameter. The Bhagawati temple is located in the northwest corner of the courtyard. There are several other shrines and temples in this vast courtyard.
A total of 22 worship services are offered each day. Once a year, an image of Lingaraja is taken to the Jalamandir in the center of the Bindu Sagar lake.
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