Odisha – A Citadel Of Temples

City Lights: Culture

Temples of Odisha are famous all over the world for their rich cultural heritage, art & architecture. Most of the Odishan kings in order to show their devotion towards their respective gods & goddesses built innumerable temples. These temples display the rich culture and tradition of the then kings.


Belonging to the 11th century & enjoying the honour of being one of the char dhams, the pilgrimage that every Hindu intends to visit; Jagannath Temple is the honour of Puri & Odisha. The holy sight of Lord Jagannath, accompanied by Subhadra and Balabhadra raises loads of joy among the devotees.  The structural design of the temple can be found in pyramid shape. Jagannath Temple in Odisha consists of 4 entrance gates named as Singhadwara, Ashwadwara, Hathidwara & Vyaghradwara and these names refer to lion, horse, elephant and tiger respectively.




Sun Temple, Konark is one of the best specimens of Kalinga architecture. The Sun Temple at Konark was built by Raja Narasingh Deva-I (Ganga Dynasty). It is known for its gigantic sculptures & minute patterns in bas-relief. The Sun Temple of Odisha was constructed in the 13th century as a chariot of the Sun God. The temple possesses 12 pairs of beautifully ornamented wheels and about 7 pairs of well-sculpted horses. The wheels of the temple signify the 12 months of the year & the horses signify the 7 days of the week.




Lingaraj Temple is a temple of the Hindu god Shiva and is one of the oldest temples of the Temple City. The temple of Lingaraj is the biggest of all in Bhubaneswar. Lord Lingaraj is half Shiva and half Vishnu. He is offered both bel and tulsi leaves for puja. There is one bow (dhanush) on top of the temple unlike other Shiva temples where trishul is placed on top. The temple is more than 1000 years old, dating back in its present form to the last decade of the eleventh century.




Rajarani temple was constructed between the 10th and 11th century. The Rajarani temple is one of the architectural splendours in Odisha and is made up of reddish gold sandstone, known as Rajarani. Legends believe that the temple had been the shrine of Lord Shiva, which was called Indreswara Temple. The Rajarani temple, situated in old Bhubaneswar, is one of the best specimens of Kalinga architecture.


Pic Courtesy: trekearth.com



Bharateswar Temple situated in Bhubaneswar was constructed along with two other temples, namely the Laxmaneswar & Satrughaneshwar temple in the 6th century AD. The Bharateswar Temple is dedicated to the three brothers of Lord Rama, viz. Bharat, Satrughan and Laxman. Bharateswar Temple is one of the ancient temples of Odisha and is one of the most popular tourist sites where the tourists can get a glimpse of the cultural heritage of Odisha.


Pic Courtesy: cityseeker.com



One of the oldest temples (late 8th century), Vaital Deul Temple’s striking feature is the shape of its sanctuary tower. The semi-cylindrical shape of its roof bears an affinity to the Dravidian gopuram of the South India temples. Another striking feature is the temple’s tantric associations, marked by eerie carvings in the sanctum and the image enshrined in the central niche, eight armed Chamunda, locally known as Kapalini, is the terrifying form of Goddess Durga. The presiding deity, Chamunda or Mahishasuramardini sits on a corpse flanked by a jackal, an owl and decorated with a garland of skulls.

Pic Courtesy: nbg90455



Built in the 7th century, the temple is small but lavishly decorated. Enclosed within a compound wall,the Deul, facing the West is a square towered, while the jagamohana, instead of being a stepped pyramid, is a rectangular structure with a terraced roof, sloping in two stages. The Deul about 13 m high has no platform and is triratha on plan, a dominant style of the early periods. The temple typifies the stage of Saiva Pasupata sect, illustrated by the frequent representation of Lakulisa. He is sculpted in Buddha- like form, with 4 disciples at his feet as shown on the last side of the tower, while on the West, he looks like the meditating Buddha.

Pic Courtesy: vmis.in



An important landmark to the architectural development in Odisha, the Mukteswar Temple is often described as one of jewels of the state for its exquisite sculptures and elegant looks. It is a full-fledged five sectioned form, pancharatha and the platform or the pabhaga consists of five mouldings, as in latter temples.




It is a temple of Hindu Goddess Kali located in Khiching, which was the ancient capital of the Bhanja rulers, located in the Mayurbhanj district of North Odisha. The largest temple of the town is dedicated to Goddess Kichakeswari, the family goddess of the ruling chiefs of Mayurbhanj. Goddess Kiscakeshwari was not only the ishtadevata of Bhanj dynasty but also the state deity. The original temple dates back to 7th or 8th Century, with repairs done over the centuries.


Pic Courtesy: mayurbhanj.org


These temples are the marvels of Odisha exhibiting intricate art and attracting tourists round the year !