Lingaraja Temple is located in the capital of Odisha i.e. Bhubaneshwar city. The holy Lingaraj Temple is one of the most prominent and oldest temples of the city. It is a highly revered shrine for Hindus all over the world. Lingaraja Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lingaraj Temple is both a major tourist attraction and a chief religious center for the Hindu devotees.
The historical temple of Lingaraja holds monumental values for the country. Hence this iconic temple is maintained jointly by the Archaeological Survey of India and Temple Trust Board. The Lingaraj Temple is an example of Kalinga architecture style. The whole structure of Lingaraja Temple is adorned with intricate carvings, designs, patterns, and images carved out on the temple.
Lingaraj temple is said to have built by Somavamsi dynasty rulers. Its reconstruction was initiated by Ganga rulers. Even though this temple is over 1000-year-old temple still looks magnificent and commands invincible aura.
All About Lingaraja Temple:
The current appearance of Lingaraja Temple comes from the construction of the 11th century. Its construction work is credited to King of Jajpur. It is said that the temple has existed since 7th century. It was consructed between the years 617-657 AD by a king called Yayati Kesari. Improvement and addition were made in the structure in the 11th century. Hence some parts of it belong to the 7th century and other from 11th.
The main deity of Lingaraj Temple is called Harihara (Harihara is a combined form of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu). The Shiva Lingam that is housed in the Lingaraja Temple is a self-originated Shiva lingam and is called Swayambhu. Ekamra Purana tells that the idol of deity Lingaraj (Shivalinga) was found under a mango tree initially. The height of the Shiva lingam situated in garbh grha is about 8 inches and diameter is 8 feet.
Faith of Devotees in the Lingaraj Temple:
Lingaraja Temple is dedicated to Shiva as well as Vishnu, hence the temple also houses Shaligram form of Vishnu. Lingaraj Temple is a very popular shrine; a lot of people visit this shrine on daily basis, about 6000 devotees visit the temple. The number increases multi folds during special occasions (number goes in lakhs).
Ancient Hindu scripture Brahma Purana mentions Lingaraj Temple and tells us that near the completion of Lingaraja Temple the Jagannath cult was rising. Due to this the idol of Lord Vishu is also housed in the shrine.
Here the deity is worshipped with Bhagda, water, and milk. The entrance of the temple is from Lion Gate or Singha/ Simha Dawara on this gate images of two lions one on each side attacking an elephant has been displayed. The architectural style and engineering work done on the Lingaraj Temple are truly remarkable. Lingaraj Temple also forms an optical illusion which makes temple appear bigger than its real size.
Lingaraja Temple complex has some inscription on it, from the time of Kalinga King Anangabhima who ruled around the 13th century.
The Lingaraj Temple only allows Hindu devotees to enter. People of other religion can only reach the platform built by Lord Curzon to see the view exteriors of the temple.
Lingraj Temple – Architecture:
Ligaraja Temple is built with the darkest shade of red sandstone. This massive shrine is built in an area of about 250000 square feet. The height of the central tower of this colossal temple is about 55 meters. Lingaraj Temple complex is dotted with over 50 other shrines dedicated to various centers.
As one enters the shrine one would see a statue of Lord Shiva between 2 statues of Lord Vishnu one on each side. The Swayambhu Shivalinga is considered a joint form of Hari as in Vishnu and Hara as in Shiva hence is called Hari-Hara.
This Deula style temple has four components an assembly hall called Jagamohana, the sanctum called Vimana, a hall of offerings called Bhoga Mandapa and festival hall called Nata Mandira.
The Legends of Lingaraja Temple:
This place has a mythological legend associated with it, which says that Lord Shiva once was telling his holy consort Parvati about why he favors city of Bhubneshwar more than the city of Banaras. After listening to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati decided to go and explore Bhubaneshwar herself.
To explore the city she took the form of a cowherd woman. While the Goddess was roaming around, two demons namely Vasa and Kritti saw the Goddess and decided to pursue her. Mesmerized by her beauty the demons wanted to marry her. Goddess refused many times but the demons were persistent. Lastly in order to get rid of these demons Goddess killed both the demons.
There is a lake called Bindu Sagar lake, this lake is said to be created by Lord Shiva to quench the thirst of his holy consort. Since then it is believed that God himself is present there in the form of Lingaraj.
If you are planning to visit Odisha then make it a point to visit this incredible Lingaraja Temple. The spiritual energy of this place is so divine that it leaves one with great vibes, the architecture of this iconic structure is truly marvellous and the charm and beauty of this city is unlike any other. A Visit to this site will give you a wholesome cultural, historical and religious experience.