Dedicated to “Lord Shiva,” Bhubaneswar is a historic city in India’s northeast. It is referred to as the “Temple city of India” or “Ekamra Kshetra” and is well-recognized for its lavish architecture and majestic temples (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2014). Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, is picturesque, vibrant, clean, and green, and it has a thriving cultural life. The city, well-known for its temples, is a key destination for travellers from all over the world. Perhaps it is the only city which showcases the development of Hindu temple design over time. Present-day Bhubaneswar was planned and designed by german architect, Otto Königsberger, In 1949, it was founded as the capital and commercial heart of the state of Odisha (Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, (n.d.)). Today, it is a well-known IT hub and a premier location for business gatherings. Bhubaneswar represents its modernity and glorious past. 

Best time to visit: October to March, when temperatures are relatively lower.
Nearest Airport: The Biju Patnaik International Airport is located about 4 kilometres away from the city centre.
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar Station
Trip duration: You can plan a weekend visit or a short trip. On average, a 3-days and a 2-nights trip is sufficient to explore the wonders this city has to offer.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri

Located across a road, the two caves stand facing each other. The caves are believed to have been carved out as residential accommodation for Jain monks during the reign of King Kharavela. Udaygiri comprises 18 caves, while Khandagiri has 15. These caves, which date back to the first century, provide visible evidence and insight into Jain aesthetics. The caves portray religious and historical times, with many of them showcasing deities and idols. These caves also depict epic court scenes & royal processions and leisure of the era through stark & unique motifs and engravings, making them a very popular place to visit in Bhubaneswar.

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Lingaraj Temple

The interiors, stone sculptures, and architecture are all breathtaking. Lingaraja Temple, which dates back to the 11th century, is a remarkable example of Kalinga-style architecture. Although Lord Shiva is the main deity in this temple, there are many images of Vishnu as well. An eight-inch Shiva lingam can be found inside the sanatorium of the 180-foot tower. Sandstone and laterite were used to construct this temple. On the periphery lies a lush & beautiful garden filled with exotic trees and various flowers. A visit to Bhubaneswar is incomplete without a visit to this enchanting temple.

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Shanti Stupa

Located on the top of Dhauli Giri hill, this temple gives way to gratifying and ethereal views. This is a beautiful place away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Shanti Stupa, popularly called the Peace Pagoda, was built by the Japan Buddha Sangh and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangh in the early 1970s. This Buddhist temple is built using white marble. Stone panels are thought to have been used as decorations on the dome-like construction atop the stupa.

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Hirakud Dam

The longest man-made dam in India, the Hirakud Dam, is located in Sambalpur, Odisha, and spans the Mahanadi River. One of the best locations to see in Bhubaneswar is the 56-kilometre-long dam. The dam, which was constructed in 1956, is a great place to take in the beauty of nature. A drive-through road spans the dam for 21 kilometres. Additionally, it is a well-liked location for birdwatchers.

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Rajarani Temple

One of the revered and well-known temples in Bhubaneswar, Odisha’s “Temple City”, is the Rajarani Temple. This temple, which dates back to the 11th century, is known for its magnificent construction and follows the Kalinga temple architectural style. The shrine does not have a reigning god, although Lord Shiva is thought to be its intended devotee. The red and yellow-coloured sandstone used to construct the temple is known as “Rajarani” in the local tongue, the origin of the name of the temple. The temple is also known as the “Love Temple” on account of sculptures of women and couples that have been inscribed on the walls.

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Bindu Sarovara

The Hindus consider Bindu Sarovar, also known as Bindu Sagar, to be a sacred water tank. The tank is located near the Lingaraj Temple and is surrounded by numerous temples. The water in Bindu Sagar is said to contain drops of water from all of India’s major holy pools and rivers, ensuring the development of many temples around it. It is one of the best places to visit in Bhubaneswar if you want to see the city’s religious side.

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Parasurameswara Temple

The Parasurameswara Temple built in 650 A.D. is a testament to the marvellous architecture of the time. This temple’s Oriya-style architecture makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bhubaneswar. The presence of one thousand lingas is the temple’s most striking feature. Carvings of Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Parvati adorn the temple. The temple is one of Bhubaneswar’s oldest surviving temples. The Lord Shiva Lingam worshipped here is thought to be one of the oldest, dating back to the 2nd or 1st century B.C.

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Chausath Yogini Temple

One of the four Chausath Yogini Temples in the country, the temple at Hirapur is situated on the bank of the Bhargavi River. Chausath Yogini Temple was built in the 10th century during the Kalachuri kingdom and bears a striking resemblance to the temple in Khajuraho. The temple is located near the Narmada River and is one of the best places to visit in Bhubaneswar. The temple’s presiding deity is Goddess Durga. The temple is known to follow Yogini culture, and it is home to nearly 70 Yoginis. The sandstone temple is circular with a thirty feet diameter and a height of eight feet, making it the smallest Yogini temple in the country. Unlike the prevalent Oriya temple architecture with its linear layout and high-rising pyramidal roofs, the Yogini temples were round and had almost no roof.

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Mukteswara Temple

In principle, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the most popular places to visit in Bhubaneshwar. The intricate carvings around the temple and the intensity & capacity of its sculptural work are a delight to see, and it is built in the Kalinga style of architecture. The temple was built in the 10th century and is known as the “gem of Odisha.”

The temple’s massive structure is 35 feet tall and made entirely of sandstone. Traditionally, the word ‘Mukteswara’ connotes a lord who brings freedom through Yoga, as evidenced by the images that adorn the walls of this temple. The eastern part of the temple has a well built in a corner, and it is believed that a dip in the well’s water cures infertility.

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Kalinga Stadium

Built in the year 2014 by Hashi Decorative & Associates, Kalinga stadium is a multi-purpose International stadium situated in the heart of Bhubaneswar near the Nayapalli area. The Kalinga Stadium houses several facilities. Some of them include, football, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, athletics, swimming and basketball. Other features of the stadium include an 8-lane artificial athletics field, a high-performance center and India’s first Olympic-standard pink and blue water-based AstroTurf.

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Ekamra Kanan

Ekamra Kanan, which is one of Bhubaneshwar’s most gorgeous gardens, covers 500 acres of land. It is a component of the research institution known as the Regional Plant Resource Centre (RPRC), which is governed by the Government of Odisha. The park features a lake, a large flower nursery, and a rose garden. It also goes by the name Cactus Garden and contains over 1,050 different varieties of cacti and succulents.

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Brahmeswara Mandir

In honour of Lord Shiva, the Brahmeswara was constructed in the ninth century, it is  estimated. The temple was built using traditional Indian architectural design. The temple’s door frames include patterns and inscribed symbols. The temple was built in the manner of typical Orissan architecture and was shaped like a pyramid. Hieratic deities, humans, and geometric shapes are depicted on the temple’s exterior walls. The Brahmeshvara Temple is a variety of things rolled into one: a relic, a temple, a place of prayer, and a historical monument. This temple has classic Oriyan construction from the 11th century. Around the larger temple are four equally attractive temples. Brahmeshwara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The carvings on walls and ceilings are also beautiful. 

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Ratnagiri Buddhist Excavation

There are numerous stone carvings from Ashoka’s reign at the Ratnagiri Buddhist excavation site. Upon visitation, many intricately carved Stupas of all sizes and shapes can be observed. Along with this, a former monastery’s ruins can be found at the Ratnagiri Buddhist Excavation site.

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Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary

Due to its spectacular beauty and lush environment, the Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary is a well-liked tourist site in Bhubaneswar. The 795.52 sq. km sanctuary is home to a vast variety of wild animals, birds, and flora. The sanctuary is home to tigers, leopards, gaurs, four-horned antelopes, sloths, and other creatures. The Tikarpada wildlife sanctuary contains the Gharial Sanctuary, which is in charge of raising and breeding gharials. One of the top wildlife sanctuaries in Odisha is this one. The sanctuary, which is surrounded by vegetation, & is well renowned for several activities. Here, you may go fishing, boating, and river rafting, among other things. For the ultimate experience, go on a safari to see all of these exotic species. If you appreciate birdwatching, Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary will arouse your senses as it is home to numerous migratory and native species.

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Kedar Gauri Temple

The temple, one of the eight Astasambhu temples in Bhubaneshwar, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and his bride, Goddess Gauri, and is a popular tourist destination in the city. It was constructed by King Lalatendu Kesari in honour of the unfortunate pair Kedar and Gauri, who it is thought eloped against the wishes of their society. Beautiful sculptures embellish the temple’s exterior walls. A woman is said to be able to overcome infertility problems by bathing in one of the temple’s two ponds, which are thought to contain sacred energies that can heal a man from the mortal cycle of life and death. Nowadays, couples go to the temple to offer prayers for a happy marriage.

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REFERENCE LIST 

Centre, U.N.E.S.C.O.W.H. (2014) Ekamra Kshetra – the temple city, Bhubaneswar, UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5916/.

Corporation, B.M. (no date) Organization :: Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, BMC. Available at: https://www.bmc.gov.in/about/organization#:~:text=The%20modern%20city%20of%20Bhubaneswar,greenest%20cities%20of%20the%20country. 

23 incredible tourist places to visit in Bhubaneswar (no date) Bhubaneswar Tourism. Available at: https://bhubaneswartourism.in/places-to-visit-in-bhubaneswar. 

Admin, T.C. (2022) Tourist places to visit in Bhubaneswar, TripCrafters.com. TripCrafters.com. Available at: https://www.tripcrafters.com/travel/tourist-places-to-visit-in-bhubaneswar. 

Gupta, G. (2022) Visit the capital city of Odisha in 2022 and get involved in these multitude of things, TravelTriangle. Available at: https://traveltriangle.com/blog/places-to-visit-in-bhubaneswar/. 

Author

She is an Architect, currently residing in a small island nation. Her primary interests lie in sustainability and social justice. On her days off, you may find her traveling (or at least planning travels), spending time with animals or scuba diving to the depths of the ocean.

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