Fondly known as ‘The City of Temples’, Bhubaneshwar is the capital of the eastern Indian state of Odisha. This city serves as a hub for economic activities in the region and is also an important religious destination with hundreds of temples dotting the city’s landscape. Being one of the first Indian cities to be modernly developed post-independence, you’ll find this city extremely well-planned. It may have turned into an IT Hub and one of the fastest developing cities in the country today, but its essence still lies in the beautiful temples and monuments that are spread out across its landscape.
1. Parashurameshvara Temple: Discover Ancient India
This temple may have a difficult name, but it is one of the most beautiful examples of ancient Indian architecture. Dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, this temple is believed to be built in 650 CE and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneshwar. You will get to see its spire rise to 40 feet and will get to see many sculpted images of Shakta deities as well. Intricate carvings can be found on nearly every wall here, and this will bring out the archaeologist in you.
Parashuramshwara Temple – CC by 3.0/Balaji
Carvings at the Temple – CC by 3.0/Bernard Gagnon
2. Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves: Natural and Artificial Wonders
Situated on two adjacent hills, these partly natural and artificial caves are of great religious significance. Dating back to 2nd century CE, these caves are ornately carved and served as residential blocks for Jain monks. You will find beautiful stone carvings of king’s victory, various people and animals in the Rani Gumpha, which is the largest cave among all. You can visit these caves for free if you hail from SAARC group of countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), or for INR 15 if you belong to BIMSTEC countries (Myanmar and Thailand) and INR 500 if you hail from any other nation.
Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves – CC by 3.0/Anupam Manur
Carvings on the walls – CC by 4.0/Michael Gunther
3. Dhauli Hills: The Venue of Kalinga War
The great Kalinga War is believed to have been fought here, after which King Ashoka chose the path of Buddhism. You can find major edicts of Ashoka on roadsides going towards the hill. It is said that many stupas and pillars were built by him in this region after the war. You can visit the bright and shining Shanti Stupa on the hilltop and experience ultimate peace there. You could also stay back post-sunset and witness the marvellous light and sound show here.
View from Hill – CC by 3.0/Debashis Pradhan
View from Hill – CC by 3.0/Debashis Pradhan
4. Nandankanan Zoological Park: Biggest Zoo in Odisha
This 400-hectare zoo literally means “The Garden of Heaven”. Home to more than 1660 animals, this park is one of the best Zoos in India. You can find the ferocious White Tigers here along with a host of other endangered animals like Asiatic Lion. Do not miss out on the Tyrannosaurus Rex that guards the Reptile House! You can also visit the aquarium and the botanical garden here.
Entrance to the Park – CC by 3.0/Abhas Kumar Kheti
Lion in the Zoo – CC by 4.0/Jitendraamishra
5. Lingaraja Temple: Largest Temple in Bhubaneshwar
This temple dates back to the 11th century and is the largest temple in the city. With a 180 feet tall central tower, this temple represents the peak of Kalinga architecture. You can find more than 50 shrines in this complex, and the beautiful stone carvings will please your eyes! Only Hindus are allowed inside this temple. However, a viewing gallery is made outside to give a complete view of the shrines. If you wish to see it in a vibrant mode, visit during the Mahashivratri!
Lingaraja Temple – CC by 4.0/Pattnaik.chandan
Lingaraja Temple – CC by 3.0/Bernard Gagnon
6. Biju Patnaik Park: Peaceful Haven in the City
Built in memory of the Chief Minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik, this park is a tranquil location away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. You could stroll along the lake or go boating too. You can see water dance to the tunes of music at the musical fountain in the lake. Beautiful lamps illuminate the park post-sundown, and this gives a different charm to this place.
CC by 4.0/Abha S Pradhan
There is more to Bhubaneshwar than meets the eye and the only way to discover it is to pack your bags and visit this beautiful city.