Lingaraj Temple is a dedication in the form of a temple to Lord Shiva. It is located in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. The term ‘Lingaraja’ translates to the ‘king of Lingas’, i.e. Lord Shiva. Our guide explains the significance of Lingaraj temple, timings, history, poojas, dress code, official website and how to reach Lingaraj temple.
The temple was the captial of the Kalinga Empire in ancient times. Lingaraj Temple is the largest temple in Bhubneshwar till date. King Jajati Kedhari built this temple in the 11th century.
Moreover, it is believed to be the oldest temple in Bhubaneswar. Shiva’s Trishul and Vishnu’s Chakra are present at the entrance of the temple. However, there is ‘Simhadwara’ or ‘Lions Gate’ on the eastern side of the shrine. The temple follows Deula style of architecture. And there are 50 other shrines enclosed in a walled enclosure.
Facts about Lingaraj Temple
|Opening and Closing Timings||6:00 am – 9:00 pm (Open)|
12:30 pm – 3:30 pm (Closed)
|Entry Fee||No Entry Fee|
|Main Deity||Lingaraj ( Lord Shiva)|
|Nearest Airport||Biju Patnaik Airport|
What are the timings of Lingaraj Temple?
Devotees can visit the temple during the following timings-
|Morning||6:00 am||12:30 pm|
|Afternoon Break||12:30 pm||3.30 pm|
|Evening||3:30 pm||9:00 pm|
What are the sevas and poojas of Lingaraj Temple?
Some of the sevas and pujas of Lingaraj temple are:
|List of Rituals or Poojas|
What is the significance of the Lingaraj Temple?
The significance of the Lingaraj Temple is that it is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneshwar. In this temple, devotees worship Shiva as Harihara, which is a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. It represents the Kalinga or Deula style of architecture and has four parts- Garbh Griha, Yajna Shala, Bhoga Mandap and Natya Shala.
The granite statue is 54.8 meters high, 8 feet in diameter and is present on a platform that is 8 inches above the ground. Also, the priests worship the deity daily with water, milk and bhang (marijuana). On an average around 6000 devotees visit the auspicious shrine on a daily basis.
Aside from Garbh Griha, the ‘Natya Mandir’ hints towards its connection with the devadasi connection. Other than the Lingam, the parsva devta reveres the site, where Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikay and Goddess Parvati are put in various paths.
Each of the pictures is gigantic and showcased incredible workmanship. The devotees decorate the idols with rich draperies and jewellery.
What is the history of Lingaraj Temple?
‘Lingaraj’ translates to the King of Lingam, that is none other than Lord Shiva. In the beginning, Shiva was worshipped as Kirtivasa and then later he became popular as Harihara which is the form people worship him in now.
Moreover, he later gained popularity as Tribhuvaneshwara. Also called Bhubneshwar, the monarch of the three worlds namely earth, heaven and netherworld. His companion Goddess Parvati then came to be known as Bhuvneshwari.
Historians predict that the present form of Lingaraj temple was built in the last decade of the eleventh century. Evidence in some of the seventh century Sanskrit texts concludes that the construction of some parts of the temple took place in the sixth century CE.
According to Fergusson the initiation for the temple was done by Lalat Indu Keshari who ruled in 615-657 CE. The construction of Assembly Hall (Jagamohana), sanctum and temple tower dates back to 11th century. However, the construction of the offering hall (Bhoga-Mandapa) took place in the twelfth century.
The credits for the construction of Nata Mandira is given to the wife of Salini between 1099 and 1104 CE. The timing of the completion of the Lingaraj temple coincided with the growth of the Jagannath sect. Hence, historians believe that Harihara form that is the combination of Shiva and Vishnu co-exist in the temple.
Later, the rulers of the Ganga Dynasty who were followers of Vaishnavism built the Jagannath temple at Puri in the twelfth century.
Legends of the Lingaraj Temple
One of the legends dictates the time when Shiva preferred Bhubneshwar or Ekamra Titha over Benaras. Therefore, Goddess Parvati disguised herself as a women shepherd to look around the place.
And as she was doing so, she came across two demons namely, Kriti and Vasa who had desires to marry her. Then Parvati requested them to try and carry her on their shoulders. Nevertheless, the goddess crushed them both under her.
As a result, Lord Shiva did the creation of Bindu Sagar Lake to quench Parvati’s thirst. Since then he took the decision to dwell here as Kritivasa or Lingaraj.
What are the festivals celebrated at Lingaraj Temple?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Lingaraj Temple are:
- Shivaratri: This important festival calls for a huge celebration every year in the temple premises. Devotees flock to the temple in huge amounts and pray all night. Moreover, here this day marks the killing of a demon by Lord Shiva.
- Sunian day: This is another occasion that devotees observe since ages. This day falls in the Bhadra month of the Hindu calendar. All the temple servants, farmers and other owners of temple lands offer devotion and tribute to Lingaraja on this auspicious day.
- Candan Yatra: This is a 22-day celebration in the temple. During this time devotees smear the deities and servants of the temple with sandalwood paste. For further enjoyment, they go to the special Bindusagar tank.
- Ratha Yatra: This chariot festival takes place every year on Ashokaashtami. Devotees place the idols of Lingaraja and his sister Rukmani in a chariot. Hereafter, the devotees pull them to the Rameshwar Deula temple.
Rules to follow inside the Lingaraj temple
- Only Hindus are allowed to enter the shrine of the main deity. Foreigners are restricted and can view the temple from an outer platform.
- Devotees must wear a traditional Hindu attire while visiting the temple. One can wear clothes like saree, suit, lehenga, kurta-pajama etc.
- Temple authorities prohibit the devotees from carrying leather bags inside the temple. Also outside food, adhesives and camera strictly prohibited.
How to Reach the Lingaraj Temple?
Here’s how to reach the temple:
- Air– The Biju Patnaik Airport is the nearest airport to the temple. It is 3.5 km away from the temple.
- Train– Bhubaneswar Railway Station is well connected with every major city in India. It is 4.7 km away from the temple.
- Road– Baramunda bus stand is nearest to the temple. It is 9 km away from Lingaraj temple. Bhubaneswar is situated on the NH5.
Where to stay near Lingaraj Temple?
Although the temple authorities do not provide staying facility to its visitors, there are a number of good hotels around Lingaraj. Check out these-
- Fortune Park Sishmo– This hotel is a humble retreat for the travellers. It is packed with all the luxuries and offers top-notch hospitality. However, it is just 2.4 km away from the temple.
- Hotel Sairegent– This place is another stay which is as close as 0.7 km from Lingaraj temple. This place offers a variety of modern facilities and is quite budget-friendly too.
- Mango Hotels Prangam– This another divine stay in the city of Bhubneshwar. It is 3.1 km away from Lingaraj temple. In addition to this, the place offers the best of comfort to its guests.
What are some temples near Lingaraj Temple?
Some of the temples near Lingaraj Temple are:
- Puri Temple – It is one of the most sacred destinations in Eastern India. Being one of the four Dham’s, it is the abode of Lord Jagannath. It is 65 km from Bhubaneswar which draws plenty of people during the Rath Yatra festival.
- Konark Temple – This temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nevertheless, t is 45 km away from Bhubaneswar. This temple is a dedication to the Sun God and has remarkable architecture.
- Biraja Temple – This temple has a total of 51 Shakti peeths, out of which 18 are Maha Shakti peeths. This place is where Goddess’s navel fell. It is present at a distance of 115 km from the city of Bhubaneswar.
- Rajarani Temple – Dedicated to Lord Brahma, this temple contains an exceptional form of limestone which makes it unique and mesmerizing. It is just 5 km away from the capital city of Odisha.
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