Lingaraj Temple: Origin, History, Darshan Timings, Architecture, and more
There is a magical illusion of pure devotion that engulfs your heart, body, and soul when you visit Lingaraj Temple, especially on Mahashivratri. The burning lamps from lakhs of devotees is a beautiful moment to gasp not to forget when the Mahadweep is taken to the top of the shrine by pandit without any fear and hesitation but with full courage and excitement. I often times fail to understand the magic of devotion but shrines like these just kind of pull me into the pool of revering worshiping and prayers.
I took my sweet time in mid-November to visit the temple and with just a step, I have got a good positive vibes party due to the illusion of the place and partly from all the fragrance that surrounds the temple perfectly from all corners.
After taking Prasad to offer to the lord, I went to the main garbhagriha where the ling is situated, a tiny one with a huge Vasuki(the snake god surrounding the lingam) surrounding the beauty of the lord.
Though the crowd was not that huge unlike the main festivals, the place is indeed the best view to behold. After done darshan, we tried lunch with some rice, Dalma, Mix veg, Saaga, and Payas.
Then after some brief rest, we wanted to take a look at Bindusagar Lake, which originally was created to quench the thirst of Shiva’s consort, Parvati. Though in recent times, it gets pretty polluted nowadays it gets cleaned and is fit to roam around the area.
I thought while looking at the lake that we are indeed so lucky to be surrounded by all the protectors, we just need to open our eyes and feel their presence with us with this Panchakshari word, Om Namah Shivay!
According to legend, the area that is now home to the city of Bhubaneswar in the Indian state of Odisha was formerly ruled by a powerful king by the name of Jajati Keshari. As a devoted devotee of Lord Shiva, King Jajati Keshari yearned to erect a magnificent temple in his honor.
King Jajati Keshari had a dream one night in which Lord Shiva arrived and told him where a naturally occurring Shiva Linga—a phallic emblem of Lord Shiva—was hidden. The Linga was to be the temple’s presiding deity and the king was directed to construct a temple there. King Jajati Keshari was motivated by this holy vision to search for the lost Linga.
The Linga, also known as Bindu Sarovara, was eventually located by the king after a protracted search in a deep jungle. At that time, which is thought to have been in the seventh century AD, he started building the temple there right away. The Lingaraj Temple has undergone a number of modifications and reconstructions over the years, giving it the grandeur and magnificence that we see today.
The Linga at Lingaraj Temple is also said to be a self-manifested (Swayambhu) form of Lord Shiva, which implies that it is thought to have developed organically without being carved or built by human hands. This increases the Lingaraj Temple’s spiritual significance and purity, elevating it to the status of one of the most respected and important Hindu pilgrimage sites in the area and beyond, especially for followers of Lord Shiva.
Lingaraja, the name for Shiva’s renowned Lingam, meaning “king of Lingam” in Sanskrit. Shiva, also known as Tribhuvaneshwara (also known as Bhubaneswar), is the ruler of the three worlds—heaven, earth, and the underworld—and was first worshiped as Krutivasa and then as Harihara. His wife is known as Bhuvaneshvari.
The temple’s current design dates to the eleventh century’s final decade. According to several seventh-century Sanskrit literature, there is proof that a portion of the temple was constructed in the sixth century CE.
The eleventh century saw the construction of the Assembly Hall (jagamohana), sanctum, and temple tower, while the twelfth century saw the construction of the Hall of Offering (bhoga-mandapa). Salini’s wife constructed the natamandira between 1099 and 1104 CE.
The Jagannath (a form of Vishnu) cult had been expanding in the area by the time the Lingaraja temple was fully built, which historians say is indicated by the coexistence of Vishnu and Shiva devotion at the temple. The Jagannath Temple in Puri was constructed by the Ganga dynasty’s devoted Vaishnavite monarchs in the 12th century.
According to some traditions, the temple was constructed in the eleventh century CE by Somavanshi monarch Yayati I (1025–1040). The ancient text known as the Brahma Purana refers to Bhubaneswar as Ekamra Kshetra and Jajati Keshari moved his capital there from Jajpur. The Brahmins associated with the temple received significant donations, and one of the Somavamsi queens gifted a village.
One of the finest examples of temple architecture in the Kalinga style is the magnificent Lingaraj Temple. A massive 22,720 square meter laterite compound wall surrounds the temple complex. The 180-foot-tall captivating Lingaraj Temple, which easily dominates the city’s skyline, is located within this complex. In addition, there are 150 little shrines in the courtyard.
The temple’s main entrance is located on its eastern side, and there are smaller entrance gates on its southern and northern sides. Sandalwood was used in the shrine’s construction of the porch gate.
The Vimana, Jagamohana, Nata Mandira, and Bhoga Mandapa are the four primary components of the sandstone and laterite temple. It contains 150 little shrines within its expansive courtyard. Singhadwara, or the “Lions’ Gate,” is the name of the main entrance gate, and it is located on the eastern side of the temple. Beautiful sculptures of animals, birds, creepers, flowers, gods, and goddesses adorn the temple’s outside walls. The main sanctuary is called Vimana, and its 180-foot-tall structure is artistically crafted from top to bottom. The assembly hall, known as Jagamohana, has two entrances: one from the north and one from the south. The assembly hall’s entrance gates have perforated windows with pictures of lions standing on their hind legs.
The four primary components of the sandstone and laterite temple are the Vimana, Jagamohana, Nata Mandira, and Bhoga Mandapa. The main sanctuary is called Vimana, and its 180-foot-tall tower features beautiful, top-to-bottom carvings. The assembly hall, known as Jagamohana, has two entrances from the north and the south, respectively. Perforated windows with illustrations of lions standing on their hind legs can be seen in the assembly hall’s entrance gates.
Because the original location of Lingaraja’s deity was beneath a mango tree (Ekamra), Bhubaneswar is also known as the Ekamra Kshetra. The governing god was not visible as a lingam (an icon of Shiva) throughout the Satya and Treta yugas; it only became visible as a lingam during the Dvapara and Kali yugas, according to the 13th-century Sanskrit work Ekamra Purana.
The temple’s lingam is a naturally unformed stone that sits on a Sakti. There are 64 locations where this kind of lingam, also known as Krutibasa or Swayambhu, may be found in India. When the Ganga dynasty first came to power in the early 12th century.
It is believed that the growing importance of the Jagannath sect predominated during the temple’s building. The flag of the temple was fixed on a Pinaka bow instead of the trident typically found in Shiva temples when the Gangas remodeled the temple and added some Vaishnavite elements including images of Vaishnava Dwarapalas named Jaya and Prachanda.
The Bindusagar Tank, which literally translates to “ocean drop,” is filled by an underground river that flows from the Lingaraja temple, and according to Hindu myth, the water in this tank may treat both physical and spiritual ailments. As a result, the water from the tank is revered, and on special occasions, pilgrims bathe in it. Lingaraja, the temple’s main deity, is revered as Shiva.
Every year, during the month of Phalgun, the temple attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims for the greatest celebration, Shivaratri. Bel leaves and a full day of fasting are both presented to Lingaraja on this auspicious day. The biggest celebrations take place at night when nighttime prayers are practiced by devotees. After the Mahadipa (a big lamp) is lit on the temple spire, the faithful typically break their fast. This festival honors Lingaraja’s victory over a demonic evil.
During the 22-day celebration known as Chandan Yatra (also known as the sandalwood ceremonial), temple staff members disembark in a specially constructed barge in the Bindusagar tank. To provide heat protection, sandalwood paste is applied to the gods and temple servants. The individuals connected to the temple organize dances, social feasts, and celebrations.
Every year on Ashokashtami, Lingaraja’s chariot celebration (Ratha-Yatra) is observed. The god is taken to the Rameshwar Deula shrine in a chariot. Numerous thousands of followers pull chariots with the statues of Lingaraja, Gopaluni, and Vasudeva in them.
How to reach Lingaraj Mandir
Since Lingaraj Temple is situated in a prominent area of Bhubaneswar, it is simple to get there from the airport, railway station, bus station, and other locations throughout the city. Auto rickshaws, municipal buses, and private taxis are easily accessible in the city, making it simple to go to the temple.
The Lingaraj Temple is roughly 4.4 km from the Biju Patnaik International Airport, and getting there by cab or auto rickshaw will take you about 10 minutes. The distance is roughly 4.8 kilometers from the Bhubaneswar train station, and it can be easily traveled in about 12 minutes by using an auto rickshaw or taxi service.
The temple is open every day of the week, from 2 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Food and Cuisine
Kora Khai(puffed paddy) is offered to Lord Lingaraj by his devotees as food. It is the Ballav Bhog, which is Lord Lingaraj’s breakfast. It has always been regarded as the primary sweet among the Lord’s offerings in Lingaraj culture.
The Lingaraj temple has 9 food stalls that cater to 1,000-2,000 devotees daily. It is a bit similar to Ananta Vasudev Bhoga which includes 5 types of rice items- Kanika (sweet rice), ghee rice, khichdi, and curd rice. Besides these, the temple also serves Dalma, Mahura, Besar, Saaga, Khatta, Potol curry, mix vegetable curry, and Payas.
Explore the best of Lingaraj Temple
The most obvious thing to do in this location, other than entering the temple to pray, is to take in the magnificent architecture. Near the Lingaraj Temple are a number of significant religious sites that must unquestionably be visited.
The Lingaraj Temple is located to the north of the Bindu Sarovar. The lake is 700 feet wide and 1300 feet long. Every year, it becomes the center of the Chandan Yatra event. On its western banks is a lovely garden called Ekamra Van, which translates to “forest of a single mango tree.” Bhubaneswar was formerly known as Ekamra Van, according to Hindu mythology. Numerous plants in this garden are known for their therapeutic effects and are connected to various Hindu gods and goddesses.
After exploring the Lingaraj Temple, you could also like to pay a visit to the well-known Mukteswara Temple, Rajarani Temple, Ananta Vasudeva Temple, Brahmeswara Temple, and Parasurameswara Temple. These temples are all revered in Hinduism and well-known for their stunning architecture.
The respected and historic Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar is a holy site with great significance in Hindu mythology and culture. For devotees, pilgrims, and visitors alike, it is a must-visit location due to its distinctive architecture, rich history, and dynamic ceremonies. Visitors are moved to awe and reverence by the temple’s spiritual aura, elaborate carvings, and tranquil atmosphere, which leaves a lasting image of its cultural and architectural beauty. For people looking for blessings and comfort in Lord Shiva’s heavenly home, Lingaraj Temple stands as a symbol of India’s rich cultural legacy.