Bhubaneshwar

Bhubaneswar is the capital of the state of Orissa, Bhubaneswar, takes its name from one of the titles of Lord Shiva, the Bhubaneswar - the Lord of Creation. "Bhubaneswar" means the "abode of God". The city is appropriately dominated by the great temple of the Lord Shiva - the Lingaraj Temple.

Though given its importance as the state capital only some years ago, Bhubaneswar's real claim to fame must rest in its temples. It is also referred to as the "city of temples". There were around ten thousand temples at one time in the city. Hundreds still survive, some of them superb examples of the great Orissa temple architecture.

Orissa can be aptly named as 'Land of All Reasons'. There is a fascinating spectrum on offer for the visitor, historic architecture and monuments; great Hindu, Buddhist and Jain shrines; a fantastic range of handicrafts and hand-woven textiles; a distinct cuisine, art, dance, music; many types of flora or fauna; and the great Chilika Lake with its migratory birds and many kinds of fish. The lush green beauty of Orissa's countryside, freely sprinkled with rivers, is framed by long stretches of beaches, most of which are still unspoiled. Bhubaneswar is Orissa's gateway city and its only airport. The sprawling and still growing city provides an excellent insight into the state of Orissa. It is a curious and delightful blend of rural and urban cultures, wide tree-lined avenues suddenly give way to paddy and vegetation fields, modern stores yield to small village tanks that reverberate to the sound of temple bells at dawn and the pious may be seen at sunrise praying to the Sun God and the Goddess Ganga. Bhubaneswar is a city where the temple spires rise higher than the palms. It also forms an excellent base for exploring the charming surroundings. History, religion, sea beaches, archaeological sites, water sports, wildlife and more lie within easy reach of the city. Bhubaneswar is the base for visiting the famous Sun Temple at Konark and the Buddhist Circuit of Ratnagiri, Udaygiri and Lalitgiri, the area which was the center of Buddhism. The ruins date back to the 5th century AD. The rock hewn Jain monastery of the first century BC said to have been made during the reign of the Emperor Kharavela is within the city limits of Bhubaneswar.

The Sun Temple of Konark and the Rath Yatra Festival in Puri symbolizes the pristine glory of Orissa's cultural heritage and the profound spirit of her people. Besides attracting millions of devotees each year, monuments like these are a constant source of inspiration for the numerous master craftsmen to motivate their indulgence in such art and craft which have made Orissa world famous.

The Master Craftsmen and women, who have kept alive the glorious fidelity of the ancient Oriya culture over the ages, are the torch-bearers of this creative skill in today's context.

Remaining close to the depictions in Puranas and Vedas, the master craftsmen base their design forms as well as color schemes on the fabulously imaginative cosmographic myths and legends dating back to the Indo-Aryan era. But it is not as if the clock stopped ages ago. Progress and development have been the hallmark of folk art whose exquisite finish has been mesmerizing.

Whether carved, painted or woven, the craftsmen of Orissa create, awe-inspiring art effects which are treasured world over.

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Orissa Bhubaneshwar