Thursday, 5 April 2012

Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar


The Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, is devoted to the worship of Lord Lingaraja. Unison of Lord Shiva and Vishnu, the presiding Svayambhu linga makes the Lingaraja Temple a worship place for all Hindu sects. The deity (Swayambhu) is worshipped as Harihara, a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva.

Lingaraaj means ‘The king of Lingam’. Shiva is here worshipped as Tribhuvaneshwara (Master of three worlds, i.e. Heaven, Earth and Netherworld). His consort is called Bhuvaneshvari.
The temple is traditionally believed, though without historical authentication, to be built by the Somavanshi king Jajati Keshari, in 11th century. Jajati Keshari had shifted his capital from Jajpur to Bhubaneswar which was referred to as Ekamra Kshetra in the Brahma Purana, an ancient scripture. The Lingaraja Temple dates back to the 11th century but some of the remains within the complex suggest that a stone temple, dating back to the 7th century, stood on the same ground. There are nearly 150 exquisitely carved temples within the LingarajaTemple complex.

The sculpted 180 feet high main tower (deul) of the main temple in the Lingaraja Temple complex is replicated in the turrets of the temple. The Jagmohana (porch), Natya Mandira (dance hall) and Bhoga-Manda (offering hall) are other structures that have become a standard part of Orissa's temple architecture. On the tour to Lingaraja Temple, Orissa, one can see and admire these fabulous relics of Orissa's architectural style (Kalingan Pancharatha Style or Kalinga Architecture) that are famous world over for its sculptures depicting religious activities of the temple lined along the temple walls.
This temple has actually four parts: the main temple, the Yajña Shala, the Bhoga Mandap and finally the Natya Shala. This temple has images of both Shiva and Vishnu. Vishnu is actually present as Sila. The Shiva idols surround the Vishnu idol. Even the temple on the top has neither Shiva's Trishul nor Vishnu's Chakram. It has only Rama's arrow symbol, probably because Rama was a worshipper of Shiva.

This magnificent temple, dedicated to Shiva, represents the type of Hindu architecture where the deity is worshipped as Harihara, a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. The granite block image of the Linga is said to be bathed daily with water, milk and bhang (marijuana). Almost all the Hindu gods and goddesses are represented here, reflecting the innate element of harmony within the religion.

Bhuvaneshvari (भुवनेश्वरी, is the fourth of the ten Mahavidyas, goddesses and an aspect of Devi as elements of the physical cosmos in giving shape to the creation of the World". Also Bhuvaneswari is considered as the supreme goddesses who creates everything and destroys all the unnecessary evils of world. She is also considered as the Mother goddess of Kali, Laksmi and Saraswati also Gayatri. In Hindu Mythology she is considered as the most powerful goddess in the universe. Parvati is Sagun Roop of Goddess Bhuvaneswari.
Bhuvaneshwari means the Queen or ruler of the Universe. She carries all the worlds as a flowering of her own Self-nature. She is thus related to Sundari and to Rajarajeshwari, the supreme Lady of the Universe. She is also known as Adi Shakti i.e one of the earliest forms of shakti.

There are several temples dedicated to Bhuvaneshwari across India, however, the most important (Shakti Peetha) is located in Nainativu (Manipallavam) - off the shore of the Jaffna Peninsula in Northern Sri Lanka. She is regarded as the main shakti of Lord Lingaraj, in Bhubaneswar. She is worshipped as the patron goddess of Bhubaneswar and by Utkala Brahmins of Orissa. A small shrine is also dedicated to her inside Jagannath Temple, Puri and Devi Subhadra is worshipped as Bhuvaneshwari.The Samaleswari shrine and Cuttack Chandi Temple in Orissa too are dedicated to her. The Kamakhya Temple too houses Bhuvaneshwari Temple. In South India most of the Srividhya tradition upasaka worship her.In Kerala she is also popular among Shaktas. In North America, Devi Bhuvaneshwari is worshipped at Parashakthi Temple in Pontiac, Michigan.

HOW TO REACH: One can easily reach Lingaraj Temple by taking local buses or by hiring Taxis from the city of Bhubaneshwar

Bhubaneswar is well connected in all transport means. Airport known as Biju Patnaik airport located within the city limit where regular flights from Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai operate. Bhubaneswar is the head quarter of South Eastern railway. It is located at a distance of 440 KM from Kolkata in north direction and around 445 KM from Visakhapatnam towards South. Bhubaneswar railway station comes between main train lines connecting Kolkata to Chennai. All express and super fast trains stop at Bhubaneswar. There are direct trains from kolkata to Puri via Bhubaneswar and some weekly trains from south connect Puri.

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