On the heritage tours of Orissa one should visit its various temples, monuments and museums. The state of Orissa has plenty to offer to a visitor and is a home of many famous temples. The holy places of Orissa include Brahmeshwara Mandir of Bhubaneshwar, Jagannath Mandir of Puri, Gundicha Ghar of Puri, Minna Jhola of Jeypore, Papadahandi of Jeypore, Rajarani Mandir of Bhubaneshwar, Gupteshwar of Jeypore, Lingaraj Mandir of Bhubaneshwar. Mukteshwara, Siddheshwara and Kedargiri Temples, Qadam-i-Raool shrine in Cuttack, Sun Temple of Konark, Vaital Mandir of Bhubaneshwar, and Vishnu temple of Keonjhar among others. The Jagannath temple enshrines the images of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and young sister Subhadra. The temple is created in Kalinga architecture. The temple celebrates Rath Yatra, held annually on a grand scale. Besides the main temple, where the idols of Jagannath and his sibling Gods are housed, there are a number of temples dedicated to a multitude of Gods and Goddesses in this huge temple complex. All total, there are 120 temples in this temple complex, which is bound by a wall. The intricate sculptures on the walls of this majestic 65 meter high temple complex present a wonderful kaleidoscope of life of ancient India.
Konark’s Suryamandir or the Sun Temple dates back to the13th century. This temple is an architectural marvel, sprinkled with erotic colors. It is engraved in the form of a massive chariot pulled by seven horses carved in a rock. The spokes of the wheel symbolize the division of time in 8 praharas and 24 hours.
The genesis of the Brahmeshwar Mandir of Bhubaneshwara can be traced back to 1055 AD. Kolvati is credited of the construction of this temple. It is an example of innovation and maturity of temple architecture in Orissa. Monuments in Orissa have a great significance in its history. The monuments like Barabati Fort in Cuttack, Nine Planets' Shrine in Konark, Pathani Samanta Planetarium of Bhubaneshwar and Udaigiri and Khandgiri Caves are a blend of beauty and aesthetic excellence. The ancient caves of Udaigiri and Khandgiri are 2300 years old. These caves are dedicated to the Jain monks. The Barabati Fort belongs to the 14th century. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, the fort is spread across 102 acres. The gate and the moat suggest of the ingenious way in which the fort was constructed. Nine Planet’s Shrine is dedicated to Nav Grahas (Nine Planets) which are supposed to be gods as per Indian mythology. This 13th century temple is situated just outside of the Sun Temple walls. There are many Buddhist monuments in Orissa, some of which are Lalitgiri, Ratngiri and Vishwa Shanti Stupa.
While on heritage tours of Orissa don’t forget to visit Orissa's museums. Orissa has museums like Archaeological Museum in Konark, Museum of Man in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa Modern Art Gallery of Bhubaneshwar and State Museum in Bhubaneshwar.
The Archaeological Museum, Konark is located near the Sun Temple. It has four galleries and 108 antique items. The artifacts include rebuilt walls of temples, dipakas, crocodile, carved stones, idols of Surya, and celestial nymphs. The State Museum of Bhubaneshwar displays rich and admirable collection of stone inscriptions, archaeological findings, ancient tools of stone and bronze age, rare copper plates, palm-leaf manuscripts, paintings and traditional instruments. The epigraphic gallery is a treasure trove of rare epigraphic records.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/14