The temples in Odisha are exemplary of brilliant architecture that stood the testimony of time and some age-old traditions that flourished to date. Replete with rich temple heritage, there are hundreds of temples dotted in different parts of the state.
However, there are a few famous temples in Odisha that should be on the bucket list of all travelers because these temples are imposing, revering, and fascinating. The significance of these temples lies in mythological references and can be seen in the massive congregation and unshaken faith of a large number of devotees. Take a look!
Every year, people from all over the country visit the state during the most revered Jagannath Rath Yatra and other famous festivals in Odisha. Here is the list of some of the famous temples in Odisha that fascinate devotees and tourists alike.
One of the significant Char Dham pilgrimage spots, Jagannath Puri is very popular amongst the pilgrims. Apart from its mythological significance, this most famous temple in Odisha catches the fancy of scientists and tourists due to some mind-boggling facts that defy all scientific reasoning. The temple is quite busy all around the year, however, during the famous Jagannath Rath Yatra, the temple is marked by over a million devotees of Lord Krishna who visit the temple city to take part in the chariot pulling and massive procession. The ancient temple of Jagannath Puri in Odisha was constructed in the 12th century and the annual festival of Rath Yatra dates back to over 2,000 years.
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the intricately carved Sun Temple at Konark dates back to the 13th century and is emblematic of Kalinga architecture. The 100ft high chariot of Sun God pulled by horses is an architectural marvel as the entire structure is carved out of a single stone. Designed in the form of sundials, the seven horses of the chariot represent the week, the wheels represent the months and the eight spokes in the wheels represent the day-cycle. Built of black-colored Khondalite rocks, this famous temple in Odisha was once called Black Pagoda and European traders used it for navigating their ships. The temple is believed to have magnetic properties that pull ships towards the shore. Despite the destruction, the relics of Sun Temple speak volumes of the architectural brilliance that grabs the attention of the tourists.
Located in the heart of Bhubaneshwar, Lingaraj Temple in Odisha is dedicated to Hari Hara -the incarnation of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. This famous temple of Odisha attracts thousands of visitors every day. Built by King Jajati Keshari in the 7th century, it is one of the largest and well-maintained temple complexes in the state. The temple is also known for its expansive complex that houses more than 50 shrines dedicated to different Gods and Goddesses. The Lingaraj Temple also houses the 8 feet tall self-originated Shivalinga which has great importance for the devotees. The detailed carving and beautiful sculptures representing Kalinga architecture are also an attraction for tourists.
One of the oldest Shiva temples in Bhubaneswar, Mukteswar Temple is an architectural gem
by the Somavamsi dynasty and was built somewhere in the mid-10th century. The entire temple complex is adorned with heavily carved gateways and walls depicting meditation, eroticism, and illustrations from the Panchatantra. Some people also believe that this famous temple in Odisha was once the center of Tantric initiation because of the vivid carvings on the exterior walls. The temple is also considered to be a landmark of Odisha Tourism as it hosts the most elaborate Mukteswar Dance Festival every year during the winter season.
The beautiful Kalingan style temple in Odisha, Rajarani Temple is a masterpiece of art and sculpture from the 11th century. Famous for its striking carvings depicting eroticism, the entire temple complex is built in dull red and yellow sandstone which is locally called Rajarani. One of the fascinating facts of the temple is that there is no presiding deity, it’s only because of carvings on the temple walls that the temple is associated with a specific cult of Hinduism. Another major attraction of this temple is the annual Rajarani Music festival that celebrates classical music and dance on a large scale. The three-day dance and music extravaganza is organized in the month of January every year and artists from all over the country take part in it to display the best of their artforms.
Situated in the temple town of Puri, Gundicha temple is one of the most significant temples of Odisha that is closely associated with Lord Jagannath. Known as the Garden House of Lord Jagannath, the temple looks glorious during the famous Rath Yatra as the idols from the main temple are carried to this temple. As per the age-old rituals, Lord Jagannath resides for 9 days in this temple during the Ratha Yatra. The temple is named after Lord Krishna’s aunt, Gundicha, and the entire temple is built with a single gray sandstone in distinct Kalinga architecture which is marveled by the tourists.
Considered as one of the Shakti Peethas, Maa Taratarini Temple holds immense significance for Maa Durga devotees as this place is where the breasts had fallen when Sati’s body was carried by Lord Shiva after getting dismembered with Sudarshan Chakra. Famous as a wish-fulfilling temple in Odisha, the revered shrine of Goddess Durga is perched on the hilltop and can be reached by climbing 999 steps. The prime attraction of Maa Taratarini temple is Chaitra Mela which is the most important festival celebrated every year between March and April. During this festival, a large number of devotees visit the temple to seek blessings from Maa Durga. Besides the religious significance, the temple offers the mesmerizing view of River Rushikulya and beautiful Purnagiri hills which also captivates the travelers.
Dedicated to Goddess Chamunda, Vaital Deula is an ancient Hindu temple that is situated on the banks of Bindu Sarovar in Bhubaneswar. This famous temple of Odisha is known as Tini Mundia Mandira by the locals. The temple was built in the 8th century and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar. The typical Khakhra style of the Kalinga School of architecture is one of the rare temples in India that personifies the tantric cult in India. This is proven by the fact of presiding Goddess Chamundi who is considered as the tantric incarnation of Goddess Durga. The distinct architecture of the temple has an affinity with both, the South Indian temples and Buddhist shrines. This is another gem of Odisha that represents the temple cult in India.
Seek blessings in these famous temples in Odisha where you can also marvel at the architectural brilliance of Indian heritage. Book your flight tickets, hotels, and tour packages with Adotrip and get unmatched deals.