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Bhubaneshwar (Bhuban being the world and Ishwar God) and it is a walk down centuries of temple architecture. With 600 temples still extant, temples are to this ancient city .
The ancient name of Bhubaneshwar is Ekamrakshetra. It was under the powerful kingdom of Kalinga, considered as a favourite resort of Lord Shiva, that Bhubaneshwar became an important centre of pilgrimage. At the peak of their power, the Kalinga Kings suddenly came into conflict with Ashoka, the ruler of powerful Mauryan Empire. Around 260 BC, Ashoka sent a powerful force to conquer Kalinga. Shocked at the resultant carnage, Ashoka gave up war forever and embraced the Buddhist faith of ahimsa.
Driving down the Puri Konark Highway from Bhubaneshwar, one comes across Dhauli hill on the banks of the River 'Daya'.The hill is crowned by the Shanti Stupa, a white Japanese peace pagoda, representing five ancient Buddhist virtues.
Khandagiri and Udaygiri Hills:
The twin hills of Khandagiri and Udaygiri are filled with ancient Jain caves cut from the rocks, which seem to form a honeycomb. These caves were carved out during 1st and 2nd century BC to serve as human habitations for the ruler of Kalinga and his queens. Later, they were used by monks and sages who meditated here. Udaygiri has 44 caves carved out of sandstone.
This temple was constructed in the 11th century AD at the sight of an old 7th Century shrine. Along with the Duel and the Jagmohan, the Lingaraja Temple has two new structures, the nata mandira ( dance hall ) and the bhog mandapa ( offering hall ). Dedicated to Lord Shiva the 'Lingam' here is unique in that it is a 'hari hara' 'Lingam' - half Shiva and half Vishnu. There are 150 subsidiary shrines within this giant temple.
The Rajarani temple, dating back to the eleventh century, is set in open paddy fields, and the entire structure displays grace and elegance. The name of the temple has been the subject of much debate. The most likely explanation is that the name is related to the lovely red-and- gold sandstone used in its construction, a stone which is known locally as rajarani.