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Pilgrimage Tour in Orissa

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Pilgrimage tour in Orissa is travelers’ things to do list in India. Named after Lord Shiva, Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is a traveller’s destination who seeks temples for peaceful solace. Numerous temples adorned the land of beaches and some of the finest lakes in the country.

The city of Temple, Bubhaneswar had a thousand temples at one time of which many still exist to provide the complete record of the Kalinga style of architecture. Of these, the magnificent temple of Lord Lingaraj (known as Bhubaneswar, literary the Lord of the Universe) soaring up to a height of about 54 metres, dominates the skyline for about a kilometers.

Best time for pilgrimage tour in Orissa starts in June. One of the most important events in Orissa is Lord Jagannath’s ‘Rath Jatra’ (Car Festival) festival held during the months of June-July every year. It is the greatest and most colourful festival. This mega-fest involves months of preparation and complicated rituas. The climax is the drawing of the huge chariots by hundreds of the devotees.

Lord Jagannath’s chariot, known as ‘Nandighsha’, is 45 feet high, has 16 wheels which are 7 feet in diameter, is painted with dazzling yellow strips. Balabhadra’s chariot is called ‘Taldhwaja’ which stands 44 feet high, has 14 wheels and is painted blue. Subhadra’s chariot – ‘Darpadalan’ is painted deep-red, stands 43 feet high and has 12 wheels. This festival, the most important of the 62 annual festivals celebrated in Puri, is an unforgettable experience of faith, colour and sound.

Apart from the main temple, one should see within its precincts the smaller temples of Goddess Vimala, Kaxmi and Vishnu. The most famous dinning in Puri in Orissa is of the Mahaprasad from the Lord Jagannath Temple. Strictly vegetarian, a wide variety of food is served from what must be the biggest kitchen in the world.

Mukteswar temple is known as the gem of Orissan architecture with its famous stone arch at the entrance. The temple is filled with sculptures on its outer walls. The Parsurameswara temple has equally exquisite carvings on its walls but is more famous for its latticed windows. Rajarani, another temple complex is also an architectural model by itself. The slender waisted life -size figures, languorously poised, reflect the wealth of feminine charm.

Ratnagiri-Lalitagiri-Udayagiri excavations unearthed a prominent Buddhist complex in the triangle formed by the hills and the environs of Ratnagiri, Lalitagiri and Udayagiri. These places were important places of learning. The ruins and sculptures provide a glimpse of the impressive past.

Ratnagiri in the Birupa river valley is a famous Buddhist centre. A large scale excavation has unearthed two large monasteries, a big stupa, Buddhist shrines, sculptures and a large number of votive stupas.

Lalitagiri is the earliest Buddhist complex dated 1st century AD. The excavations have brought to light significant archeological material which upholds Lalitagiri as a great Buddhist centre. Udayagiri is located in the basin of the U shaped hill. The site is still not comletey excavated and exposed.

Dhauli Hill on the bank of the river Daya stands as a mute witness to the great Kalinga war which was fought in the 3rd century BC. It is famous for the Asokan rock edicts which are inscribed on a rock, with the relief of an emerging elephant at the top.

Konark Sun Temple which is 35 km from Puri is a unique treasure of the country. The sun God is depicted on his chariot with 12 wheels drawn by seven horses. This 13th century temple is a culmination of the evolution of the giant Orissa temples. There is also a museum which has sculptures from the temple ruins. The walls of this magnificent ruin have exquisite sculptures covering many aspects of life. Scenes of love and war, trade and court transactions, hunting, catching elephants, sages teaching, childbirth, amorous dalliances, dancers and mythical figures all vie for attention on the panels and niches of this immortal work of art.

Besides pilgrimage tour, travellers may enjoy the Konark Festival which is held during December every year. In this festival, eminent classical dancers of India gather together to present live performances. Designed as a chariot of the Sun God, the Natya Mandap is a complete lexicon of Odissi dance. The finely carved graceful figures of the dancers in different poses and the musicians with their instruments are so lively that they create a fantasy of vision and a melody of rhythm to the viewers. The classical extravaganza at the Konark festival is indeed a journey of eternal ecstasy.

When you complete your pilgrimage tour in Orissa, we bet you will be filled with wonder, respect, faith and peace within!

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