Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beautiful Bhubaneswar

Before going to Orissa, I had no idea how Bhubaneswar would be and therefore had no expectations. I did think that it would not be as advanced as other Indian cities such as Chennai or Bangalore but I was very surprised to find that the city is in fact very well maintained and the new part of Bhubaneswar is beautifully designed. I even felt that it looked better than many other Indian cities.

I was also amazed at how nicely the temples and their surrounding gardens were maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. They really were an image of peace and perfection. The first temple we visited was the Mukteswara and Sidheswara Temple. This 10th century Shiva temple is a perfect example of Orissan architecture and there are many shrines where there are different types of Shiva Lingams. As this temple is not actively used for prayers, non-Hindus are allowed to enter.

After strolling around the temple grounds, we made our way to another beautiful temple, Rajarani temple. This temple has no deity in it but there are statues and carvings of daily life activities.

The most important temple in Bhubaneswar is the Lingaraj temple. This 10th century Shiva temple is a large complex with many shrines dedicated to different Gods. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside but can take photos from a viewing point outside. We went early in the morning to pray when there were hordes of local devotees crowding the temple and eager to go in. It was almost like a stampede and drew the energy out of me. We finally made it into the main shrine where there was a large Shiva Lingam sitting low on the floor. After a quick prayer we went to the different parts of the temple and enjoyed visiting the site.

Near Bhubaneswar, there are the famous called Khandagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri which are the sites of ancient Jain and Buddhist monasteries.

Check out these cute monkeys we found there!

On the way back to Bhubaneswar, we stopped at the Mahanadi, which means Great River. It is considered a holy river and my parents offered some prayers to God.

I was more attracted to the giant demon face ad, hehe:).

We came to the end of our Orissa trip and all of us truly enjoyed visiting this beautiful region with its amazing landscapes, humble people and rich culture and traditions. Being one of the least explored places of India, Orissa gives foreigners a good insight into real Indian life and also allows them to escape the tourist traps and foreign crowds. A definite must-see when you come to India!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my Orissan adventures...Next up, back to some things European:).


Dvd said...

Thanks for sharing all this, the entire Orissa serie was very well written and very interesting!

Anonymous said...

Nice article.


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