29th December 2012

From Jagdalpur, our journey continued towards Orissa. The Hirakhand express left promptly at 2:30PM from Jagdalpur and reached Bhubaneswar at 8:30AM next day.

The biggest issue in trains is the quality of food. It is so pathetic that one would prefer to stay hungry.  The first thing we did in Bhubaneswar was to barge into a good looking restaurant in the railway station. The railway restaurant surprisingly served good quality dosas which we consumed happily. With our tummies full, the next stop was the hotel where we had to stay. I had booked “Ginger hotel” which was in a good location.  We hired an auto to reach the hotel.  I was immensely impressed with Bhubaneswar.  The roads were wide with boulevards on either side.

We had no time to sit and relax in the hotel. After freshing up, we started the tour of the city. We took an auto to Udayagiri and Khandagiri cave complex situated at the outskirts of the city. These two adjacent hills have beautifully carved caves. According to ASI “There are altogether 18 caves in Udayagiri and 15 caves in Khandagiri hill. These caves were excavated by Kharavela and his successors in first century BC. The activities continued till the time of Somavamsis of AD 10th-11th century”.

The most imposing cave in the complex is Ranigumpa (Cave no 1) in Udayagiri, the double storeyed cave. 

The caves are scattered all around the hill. The important ones are Ganeshgumpa and Hathigumpa caves.

From the top of Khandagiri hill, we can see the view of Bhubaneswar and also the caves of Udayagiri.

We had our lunch at a restaurant near the caves. The next destination was Lingaraj Temple, largest temple in Bhubaneswar. Architecturally, it is regarded as one of finest example of Hindu Temple.  And it did not meet the fate of destruction seen in other great Temples of India. It is a live Temple with deity being worshipped. That brings the not so good part. The Temple and its surrounding are filled with priests and their assistants who harass tourists in the name of religion. Cameras are not allowed inside the Temple. It is a pity considering its architectural value.

Lingaraj Temple seen from neighbouring area
Since we did not had the courage to keep valuables in Temple’s luggage room, I and wife visited Temple in turns.

Lingaraj Temple is in old city of Bhubaneswar. The old city is filled with Temple. Next to Lingaraj Temple was Chitrakani Temple.

Adjacent to Chitrakani was Papanashini Temple.

Yameshwara Temple was situated amidst residential area. There was hardly any maintenance.

A Temple with no name.

We were little tired by now. These small Temple looked nice but there was no information available about them.

And then we went to Rajarani Temple, maintained by ASI. Look at the Temple surrounded by gardens.

The carvings of the Temple.

The name Rajarani is believed to have its origin to a particular variety of sandstone, locally known as Ranraniya, of which the Temple is constructed. It was earlier called as Indreshwar Shiva but the Temple does not have the deity now.

It was raining Temples that day!! The next Temple was Mukteshwara Temple.

The unique feature of this Temple is the arch in front of the Temple.

Opposite to Mukteshwara Temple was Siddeshwara Temple.

Small shrines in the Temple complex.

It was already evening when the Temple tour was finished. It took some time before we could find an auto!! 

Shanti stupa at Dauli was in our list. It was outside the city on Puri road. We kept it for the next day. 

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