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Lingaraja Temple


Lingaraja Temple

Standing majestically to a height of about 180 feet amidst scores of smaller structures inside a spacious courtyard enclosed by a massive boundary wall measuring -520 feet length-wise and 465 feet breadth-wise the Lingaraja temple (circa A.D.1050) dominates the landscape within an area of about ten miles around. It represents the quintessence of Odishan architecture with the original deula and jagamohana. It is rightly observed that so much has been said about its architectural features that very little remains to be said. In the elegance of its proportions and the richness of its surface treatment, it is one of the most finished and refined manifestations of temple architecture in India.

Having pancharatha plan it has a natamandira, a bhogamandap and three subsidiary shrines in front of the parsvadevata figures added during the Ganga rule in Odisha. Being a large edifice its different elements are made so well proportioned that it only reveals the consummate skill of its master designer. The crowning achievement of the architect is the designing of the graceful contour of its towering gandi, its soaring height and grandeur. The plastic art on the structure is so well planned that it reveals an equally effective use of space and proportion and contains some finest carvings including cult deities, secular sculptures, animal motifs, nayika and mithuna figures, which only adds to the majesty of the edifice. With all features of Kalinga architecture fully evolved, it is the culmination of the architectural development in every respect and became a standard for later temples of Odisha. The larger-than-life-size figures of parsvadevatas on the side niches are a rare combination of finest carvings with consummate artistic skill and imposing sculptures of the parivara deities of Siva. Although known at present as Lingaraja, one of the ancient names of the deity, Tribhunanesvara, is the precursor of the present name of the city Bhubaneswar.