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6 Famous Temples that You can Visit in Odisha, India

6 Famous Temples that You can Visit in Odisha, India

Odisha is known for its beautiful temples, and is therefore known as the “Land of Temples.” It also boasts of a rich cultural and architectural heritage.

These temples are known for their precise layout, brilliant architecture, beautiful craftsmanship, and astonishing grandeur. They reflect the ancient artistic excellence and traditions of the Odia people, who have been creating these architectural marvels for centuries.


Apart from being places of worship, the temples of Odisha also showcase the evolution of temple architecture in India, from the early rock-cut caves to the elaborate Kalinga style. They also depict the religious diversity and harmony of Odisha, as they are dedicated to various Hindu deities, as well as Buddhist and Jain figures.

In this article, you will get to know about the following temples in Odisha,

  1. Jagannath Temple
  2. Lingaraj Temple
  3. Maa Tara Tarini Temple
  4. Konark Sun Temple
  5. Gundicha Temple
  6. Parasurameswara Temple

Let’s see a little bit more about each of these temples.

1. Jagannath Temple

Jagannath Temple (Government of Odisha, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Jagannath Temple is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in India. It is one of the prime ‘Dham’ out of the pious ‘Char Dhams’ in India, along with Badrinath, Dwarka, and Rameshwaram. The place is situated in Puri and holds immense mythological and spiritual importance, attracting thousands of devotees each year.

Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is the main deity of this temple. He is worshipped here along with his brother Balaram and sister Subhadra.


The temple has magnificent architecture that showcases the rich cultural heritage of India. It also attracts many foreign tourists who admire its intricate carvings and splendid sculptures. It has four gates, namely, the eastern Singhadwara (Lion Gate), the southern Ashwadwara (Horse Gate), the western Vyaghrasana (Tiger Gate), and the northern Hastidwara (Elephant Gate).

Rath Yatra is celebrated with grandeur and fervor here. The temple gets beautifully decorated during this auspicious festival.

While you visit the temple, do not miss out on the temple’s delectable Mahaprasad. It is a divine offering of food that is cooked in clay pots in one of India’s largest kitchens. Every day, thousands of devotees are served with this meal that consists of various dishes.

2. Lingaraj Temple

Lingaraj Temple (SUDEEP PRAMANIK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Lingaraj Temple is a majestic temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, located in the historic area of Bhubaneswar in Odisha. It is the largest and oldest temple in the state, dating back to the 8th century CE.

The temple showcases the exquisite Odissi style of architecture. The temple has a towering Dravidian gopuram (gateway tower), which is typical of South Indian temples, as well as intricately carved stone vaults that cover the main shrine. The temple’s interior and exterior walls are adorned with sculptures of various deities, scenes from Hindu mythology, and floral motifs.

The main attraction of the temple is the Shiva linga (symbol of Shiva), which is also known as Hari Hara (a combination of Shiva and Vishnu). The Shiva linga is considered to be Swayambhu (self-originated), meaning that it emerged from the ground by itself. It has a height of 8 inches above the floor and a circumference of about 8 feet. The Shiva linga is worshipped by both Shaivites (followers of Shiva) and Vaishnavites (followers of Vishnu), reflecting the syncretism of these two sects in Odisha.


The ruling goddess is Parvati. The temple also houses sculptures of Goddess Durga, Chamunda, Bhairava, and other deities. There is a vast courtyard with a thousand smaller Shiva Lingas, known as Sahastralingas.

The Garba Griha (Sanctum Sanctorum), the Yojana Mandapa (prayer hall), the Natya Mandapa (dancing and music hall), and the Bhoga Mandapa (where devotees can receive the Lord’s Prasad). There is also a sacred tank called Bindu Sagar, which is believed to have healing properties for various ailments.

Lingaraj Temple is one of the most revered and visited temples in Odisha, attracting millions of pilgrims and tourists every year. It is especially famous for its annual festivals, such as Shivaratri Rath Yatra, and Ashokastami.

3. Maa Tara Tarini Temple

Maa Tara Tarini Temple (Nayansatya, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Maa Tara Tarini Temple, one of India’s major Shakti Peethas, is located on the banks of the Rushikulya River. It is dedicated to the twin sister Goddesses Tara and Tarini, who are considered to be manifestations of Shakti.

The temple has a history of over 1,200 years and was built in the 17th century CE by the Ganga dynasty. The temple is situated atop Taratarini Hill and has 999 steps that lead to the sanctum sanctorum.

Maa Tara Tarini Temple is famous for its Chaitra Mela, a month-long festival that takes place in March-April every year. During this festival, thousands of devotees visit the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings from the Goddesses. The temple is also known for its wish-fulfilling power, as many people believe that their desires are granted by Tara and Tarini.

The temple is also a popular tourist destination and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.

4. Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple is an architectural marvel of Eastern India and a symbol of India’s past. It is dedicated to Surya, the Hindu god of the sun, and is situated near Puri. The name Konarak is a combination of the terms ‘Kona’ and ‘Arka’, meaning the ‘Sun of the Corner.’

The temple was built in the 13th century CE by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the Kalinga architectural style. It is designed in the shape of a giant chariot, with twelve pairs of intricately carved wheels and seven horses. The temple’s walls are adorned with images of deities, animals, plants, dancers, and musicians, depicting the richness and diversity of life.


There are also several sundials, which can accurately measure the time of the day using the shadows cast by the wheels and spokes. The temple’s main sanctum, where the idol of Surya was installed, was aligned in such a way that the first rays of the sun would fall on it every morning.

The Konarak Temple’s original structure was made of iron plates and magnets, which held it together and created a magnetic field around it. According to legend, the temple’s magnetism was so strong that it interfered with the compasses of the ships sailing nearby and also caused lightning strikes that damaged the temple.

The temple was partially destroyed by invaders and natural calamities over time, and only its ruins remain today. However, even in its dilapidated state, the temple still stands as a testimony to the glory and genius of its creators. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction.

5. Gundicha Temple

Gundicha Temple (Aditya Mahar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Gundicha Temple, located in Puri, is said to be one of the homes of Lord Jagannath from Hindu mythology. It is believed that he resides here for nine days every year during the famous Ratha Yatra festival.

This temple was built in the 12th century by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva in the Kalinga architectural style. It is named after Gundicha, the aunt of Lord Krishna.

According to legend, Gundicha was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath and requested him to visit her house once a year. Lord Jagannath agreed and granted her wish. Thus, every year, during the Ratha Yatra, Lord Jagannath along with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra leave their main temple and travel in three magnificent wooden chariots to Gundicha Temple. Here, they are welcomed by Gundicha with a special rice delicacy called ‘Poda Pitha’.


The temple complex consists of four structures: Vimana (sanctum sanctorum), Jagamohana (assembly hall), Nata Mandapa (festival hall), and Bhoga Mandapa (offering hall). All these structures are adorned with exquisite carvings and paintings depicting various scenes from Hindu mythology. The most important feature of the temple is the ‘Ratnavedi’, the sacred throne where the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra are placed when they arrive at the temple. The ‘Ratnavedi’ is a simple platform made of chlorite stone that is 4 feet high and 19 feet long.

Gundicha Temple is also known as the “Garden House of Jagannath” because it is surrounded by a lush garden and a moat. The entire temple is made of a single piece of light gray sandstone and is 75 feet tall. This is considered one of Odisha’s most gorgeous temples. It remains open throughout the year and you can visit it at any time.

6. Parasurameswara Temple

Parasurameswara Temple (Balaji, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Parasurameswara Temple, located in the city of Bhubaneswar in Odisha, is one of the oldest and finest examples of Nagara architecture in India. It was built around 650 A.D. by the rulers of the Sailodbhava dynasty and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The temple is famous for its intricate carvings and sculptures that adorn its walls and pillars. The most notable ones are the ‘Saptamatrikas’, the seven mother goddesses. The temple also has images of the eight planets of Vedic astrology, except Ketu.

The temple derives its name from Parashurama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is said to have performed penance here and received blessings from Lord Shiva. The temple has a ‘vimana’, a tower-like structure that houses the sanctum sanctorum where the idol of Lord Shiva is enshrined. The ‘vimana’ is surmounted by a ‘bada’, a curvilinear spire that rises above the roof and represents the cosmic mountain. The temple also has a ‘Jagamohana’, a hall for worshippers that is connected to the ‘vimana’ by a small passage.

The temple celebrates its grandest festival, Parashurashtami, in June and July every year. This attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists who come to witness the splendor and glory of this ancient temple.

These are some famous and ancient temples in Odisha. The distinct architecture of these temples represents the history and culture of ancient India.

Make sure to visit these popular temples in Orissa and seek blessings from the almighty!

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