Lingraj TempleApprox. Time: 1 hours
Activity Level: Easiest

This temple is a prime example of Indian architecture, in its most mature and fully developed state. The great Lingaraja soars above the city and dominates the landscape. It dates back to the 11th century, to the time, when the Jagannath cult was at its peak in Orissa. This magnificent temple, 147 ft. high from the plinth, was built by Lalatendu Keshari of Somavamsi dynasty in 617-657 A.D. The 'nata mandapa' (dance hall) and 'bhoga mandapa' (offerings hall), were later added to the temple. By the time the Lingaraja temple was built, the Jagannath cult had become widespread throughout Orissa. This is exemplified by the fact, that the presiding deity is the Svayambhu Linga - half Shiva, half Vishnu, a unique feature of the temple. Almost all the Hindu gods and goddesses are represented in this temple, mirroring the inherent element of harmony within the religion. One of the noticeable features of the Lingaraj temple is its architectural beauty, as one retreats from the deul (the Sanctum Sanctorum), away towards the bhogamandir (the hall of offerings). This is so because the Lingaraja temple was built by the rulers of three dynasties, over a huge span of time. The deul was built by the prosperous Kesari dyanasty. The Muslim invasion, after that, left the Ganga dynasty in a position to build the bhogamandir at the cost of its architectural beauty.

Courtesy of India Tourism Board