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Lingaraj Temple

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  • Last Updated : 27 Sep, 2022
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Lingaraja Temple was built in the eleventh century AD and is considered the biggest attraction of Bhubaneswar in Odisha. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples devoted to the form of Shiva known as Harihara and is the most well-known tourist destination in Odisha. It was constructed using Kalinga architecture which is a sub-class under the Nagara category and is thought to have been built by King Jajati Keshari in the 10th Century and completed by King Lalatendu Keshari in the 11th Century. Later, even the Ganga kings contributed to the construction of this temple. Currently, the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment Act, 1951, governs the Lingaraja Temple.

The Architecture of the Lingaraja Temple:

  • The Lingaraja Temple’s architecture is composed of four elements.
  1. Bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings)
  2. Yajna Shala (the hall for prayers)
  3. Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum)
  4. Natya Shala (hall of dance)
  • It is a well-known example of Kalinga-style architecture and is constructed of red stone. 
  • The merged form of Shiva and Vishnu is sometimes referred to as Harihara; where Hari stands for Lord Vishnu and Hara for Lord Shiva is worshipped as the deity of the Lingaraja Temple. This shows the harmony between the two Hindu sects of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. 
  • It’s a type of Hindu construction that was common in Eastern India, including the state of Odisha. 
  • The temple has Bindusagar Lake on its northern side. 
  • The garden of Ekamra Van, named after Hindu legendary writings in which Bhubaneswar was referred to as Ekamra Van or a forest of a solitary mango tree, is located on the western banks of Bindusagar.
  • In addition to being a place of prayer, the temple also serves as a hub for social and cultural gatherings, its magnificent carvings represent everyday activities.

Kalinga Architecture:

  1. A tower and a hall make up the majority of a temple in Kalinga architecture. The hall is named Jagmohan, while the tower is called Deula.
  2. Architectural themes and an abundance of figures are lavishly sculpted onto the walls of both the Deula and the Jagmohan.
  3. The horseshoe shape is used most frequently and dates back to the earliest periods, beginning with the huge windows of the Chaitya-Grihas.
  4. Kalinga architecture includes three different types of temples: Rekha Deula (sanctum sanctorum) and Pidha Deula (dancing and offering halls) are associated with Vishnu, Surya, and Shiva temples, and Khakhara Deula with Chamunda and Durga temples.

Cultural integrity of Lingaraja Temple:

Numerous ancient stone temples can be seen in this temple village, ranging in size from the enormous Lingaraja, which is 128 feet tall, to the tiny ones that are just a few feet tall and placed along the sides of roads or the banks of ancient tanks. It is said that there are 150 shrines within the large temple complex. The 10 kilometers of the area where the ruins or live monuments are dispersed are evidence of Bhubaneswar’s continuous habitation over the past. In addition to its wealth in spirituality, religion, and architecture, the property is rich in archaeological evidence, as shown by the vast Sisupalgarh ruins, Ashokan rock carvings, and evidence of an old wall at Dhauli Hillock.

Festivals Related to the Lingaraja Temple:

  • The biggest event, Shivaratri, draws tens of thousands of worshipers to the temple each year during Phalgun month.
  • On this auspicious day, bel leaves are offered to Lingaraja in addition to a full day of fasting. The greatest festivities occur at night when worshippers pray all through the night. Following the lighting of the Mahadipa on the temple spire, people break their fast. This festival honors Lingaraja’s victory over a demonic enemy.
  • Every year on Ashokastami, Lingaraja’s chariot celebration (Ratha-Yatra) is observed. The god is transported to the Rameshwar Deula shrine in a chariot. Numerous thousands of followers pull chariots with the statues of Lingaraja and his sister Rukmani.

Related Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Q1. What is Garbhagriha?

It is a womb-house. The primary icon of the temple is housed in this sanctuary, which resembles a cave. It used to be a tiny cubicle with only one entrance. It expanded into a bigger chamber at a later time.

Q2. What is Mandapa?

It leads to the temple’s entryway. It might be a colonnaded hall or a portico where worshippers stand.

Q3. What is Shikhara?

Its summit resembles a mountain with a spire. It has a curved shape and is known as Shikhara in northern India. It is known as Vimana and resembles a pyramidal tower in the south.

Q4. Which deity is worshiped in the Lingaraja temple?

The merged form of Shiva and Vishnu sometimes referred to as Harihara (Hari stands for Lord Vishnu and Hara for Lord Shiva) is worshipped as the deity of the Lingaraja Temple. This enables us to comprehend the harmony between the two Hindu sects of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. 

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