Monday, October 29, 2007

Orissa Tourism Guide

Orissa Tourism Guide - Orissa is a State of the Indian Union located along the eastern coast of the peninsula. Its territory formed a part of the ancient Kingdom of Kalinga of Mahabharat fame.Tourism in Orissa offers not only nature in all its glory with its beaches, rivers, waterfalls, hills, forests, wildlife and tribal life, but also a great tradition of architeeture, monuments and sculpture. Some of these monuments date back to the 3rd century B.C. and are well preserved and intact to this day.In fact, the entire length and breadth of the state is dotted with 4,000 mounments and archaeological sites. They include early Jain caves and temples, Buddhist monasteries (viharas), domed structures (chaityas), and pillars (stupas, Hindu temples, mosques, churches, ancient and medieval forts, palaces and colonial architecture. The architectu-rally incredible Sun Temple at Konark, the Jagannath Temple in Puri and its spectular Rath Yatra(Car Festival), dot its coastal plains. One of the most densely forested regions of India, it contains some most outstanding scenery and retains its remote charm.

Bounded on the west by the thickly wooded hills of the Eastern Ghats and on the east by over 480 km of coast line on the Bay of Bengal, Orissa is bountiful of nature. The beaches at Puri, Konark, Gopalpur, Chandipur, fringed by coconut groves and fishing villages; the Asia's largest lagoon, Chilila Lake; the vivid paddy fields; the wild life reserves like Similipal National Park in the unspoiled of north eastern part; the settlements of the adivasis (tribes) in the southwest, the centuries old ornate sandstone temples and the Buddhist ruins and the beautiful tradition craft, all ad up to a mesmerising and unforgettable experience in Orissa.

Location of Orissa - 17 degree 49 degree and 22 degree 34 degree- North Latitude 81 degree 29’ and 87 degree 29’East Longitude. On the eastern coast of India between Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras). The State of Orissa is like a bridge between the northern and the southern halves of India, representing multifaceted cultural synthesis.

Traveling to Orissa
Reach Orissa By Air: The Bhubaneswar Airport is linked with all metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai) by regular Indian Airlies flights. Other major cities provide convenient connecting flights through the metros.

By Rail: Indian Railways provide a network of Fast and Superfast Trains to all major cities of Orissa from different parts of India.

Orissa By Road: Orissa is criss-crossed by a network of excellent National/State Highways. Regular Bus Services are available from/to all major cities of the State and a number of cities like Kolkata, Raipur, Tata, Ranchi, Vizag etc. in the adjoining states.

Bhubaneshwar / Bhubaneswar was once the capital city of an ancient kingdom. Also known as the city of temples, on her stood 7000 temples of which only 500 now remain. Today Bhubaneshwar is the most highly commercialized city of Orissa and is better known as Bhubaneswar. She shall delight you with more and more surprises, as you discover her rich cultural heritage, her monumental wonders, arts, crafts, cuisine and more. Some of the most spectacular engineering and artistic excellence of ancient heritage speak a silent language through the stones. The imposing fa├žade of the Lingaraj Temple, the stoic beauty of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and the Mahavira Jain Temple in Khandagiri shall leave you spellbound at the beauty of the synthesis of various religion on one soil.

When in Bhubaneswar, a visit to all the temples would give you a fair idea of the dynamic artistry and the imagination of the artists of ancient times.

Bhubaneswar - The Temple City of India
Bhubaneswar is a precious relic of our rich cultural and spiritual past Bhubaneswar-the place where legendary's king underwent a complete change of heart-after witnessing the untold sufferings and miseries of Kalinga war. The place where he swore that henceforth compassion and love would be his weapons to conquer the world and not sword. The place where he realized the futility of war. Hence Bhubaneswar is the place in history where love and compassion scored over the war. A feat which is no mean achievement in itself. The ancient name of Bhubaneswar was Ekamanakhestra. Mythology has it that Bhubaneswar was the health resort of Lord Shiva. In terms of sacredness it is next to Varanasi. Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is also popularly known as the "Temple City of India". Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage center. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2000 temples. Origins of these beautiful temples date back to the reign of the local King Jajati Keshari who brought over ten thousand Brahmins from Oudh in his quest to build temples. A task which they accomplished beautifully in exquisite marvels of sandstones. Thus began Bhubaneswar's temple odyssey. Bhubaneswar is the place where temple building activities of Orissan style flowered from its very inception to its fullest culmination extending over a period of over one thousand years. This city is home to a scintillating array of ancient temples dating back to period between 7th Century A.D. to 13th century A.D. In a chronic order the temples of Bhubaneswar file past in this manner. The temples of Laxmanswar, Satrughaneswar and Bharateswar (6th century A.D.), Parsurameswar and Swarnajaleswar (7th century A.D.) Vaital (8th century A.D.), Mukteswar (10th century A.D), Brahmeswar, Rajarani and Lingaraj (11"1 century A.D.) and Ananta Vasudev (13th century A.D.).

In fact it is said that at one time over 7000 temple crowded around the holy Bindu Sagar Tank of Bhubaneswar alone. Today only 500 have survived the ravages of time. The temples of Orissa are built in an identical pattern. They have four sections namely, Biman, Jagamohan, Natmandir and Bhogmandap. Natmandir is for religious dances. Jagamohan is the entrance to the main temple and finally Biman is the innermost place where the deity is installed. Enclosed by an elaborately carved and engraved boundary wall. These temples easily house smaller shrines to numerous deities, bathing tanks, handicrafts outlets etc. the impe¬rious finger of creativity traces a familiar line linking up the common heritage that binds them together, even as the newer concepts enhances their traditional beauty.

Lingaraja Temple with its enchanting splendor dominates the Bhubaneswar skyline. King Jajati Keshari had planned to build this temple, but after his death his ambition was realized by Lalat Keshari. Narasingh Dev, the architect of Konark's Sun Temple designed Lingaraja temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lingaraja temple has Svayambhu-the image of partly Shiva partly Vishnu as its presiding seity. Lingamurti or the phallic image, present in the temple in various hues, is carved out of granite. Lingaraja temple is decorated by excellent workmanship of sandstone. Actually Lingaraja is a cluster of over hundred and fifty shrines. The temple boasts of a Natmandir, the Bhog Mandap and a splendid Jagamohan. Two storied roof at Jagamohan stands on a few pillars. There are eight dikpals-figures of guardians-in alcoves on the outer wall of the temple. On the north stands Kuber, on the east Indra. South has Yama. Agni is the sentinel of south east. South west has Nritri and West has Barun. The decorative motifs statues of gods and goddesses carved on the walls are exquisite.