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Indian Heritage & Culture

Lingaraja Temple

  • 19 Apr 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Odisha Government has restricted public entry into the Lingaraj Temple after four sevayats (priests) tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Key Points

  • Lingaraj Temple, built in 11th century AD, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered as the largest temple of the city Bhubaneswar (Odisha).
  • It is believed to have been built by the Somvanshi King Yayati I.
  • It is built in red stone and is a classic example of Kalinga style of architecture.
    • The temple is divided into four sections - Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum), Yajna Shala (the hall for prayers), Bhoga Mandap (the hall of offering) and Natya Shala (hall of dance).
  • The sprawling temple complex has one hundred and fifty subsidiary shrines.
  • Lingaraj is referred to as ‘Swayambhu' – self-originated Shivling.
  • Another important aspect of the temple is that it signifies the syncretisation of Shaivism and Vaishnavism sects in Odisha.
    • Perhaps the rising cult of Lord Jagannath (considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) which coincided with the completion of the Lingaraja Temple had a role to play.
    • The presiding deity in the Temple is known as Hari-Hara; Hari denotes Lord Vishnu and Hara meaning Lord Shiva.
  • The temple is out of bounds for non-Hindus.
  • The other attraction of the temple is the Bindusagar Lake, located in the north side of the temple.
  • On the western banks of Bindusagar, lies the garden of Ekamra Van named after the Hindu mythological texts where Bhubaneswar the capital city of Odisha was referred as Ekamra Van or a forest of a single mango tree.
  • Other Important Monuments in Odisha:

Kalinga Architecture

  • About:
    • The Indian temples are broadly divided into Nagara, Vesara, Dravida and Gadag styles of architecture.
    • However, the temple architecture of Odisha corresponds to altogether a different category for their unique representations called Kalinga style of temple architecture.
    • This style broadly comes under the Nagara style.
  • The Architecture:
    • In Kalinga Architecture, basically a temple is made in two parts, a tower and a hall. The tower is called deula and the hall is called jagmohan.
    • The walls of both the deula and the jagmohan are lavishly sculpted with architectural motifs and a profusion of figures.
    • The most repeated form is the horseshoe shape, which has come from the earliest times, starting with the large windows of the chaitya-grihas.
    • It is the deula which makes three distinct types of temples in Kalinga Architecture:
      • Rekha Deula.
      • Pidha Deula.
      • Khakhara Deula.
    • The former two are associated with Vishnu, Surya and Shiva temples while the third is mainly with Chamunda and Durga temples.
    • The Rekha Deula and Khakhara Deula houses the sanctum sanctorum while the Pidha Deula constitutes outer dancing and offering halls.


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