Thursday, February 23, 2012



Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneswar.
A magnificent temple - now standing in a cluttered court-yard, instead
of a sprawling green environment like the Sun temple,Konark.
Strict imposition of 'No camera inside the complex' rule on the visitors deprive outsiders  a taste of excellent wall-reliefs n display.

This is a visit Ruby and I were looking forward to for quite a while. In November,11, we were mentally ready to make the trip. But, unavoidable family circumstances  kept us held up in Calcutta . Earlier also, we  found it is convenient to make a short trip in February - the weather is kind, it is neither so cold that woolens are to be carried nor one does not sweat while moving around for sight-seeing and  outdoor photography.  This particular Orissa trip  we planned  with photography in temples of  Bhubaneswar and Konark in mind as well as enjoying the sea coasts  @ Konark and Puri.

 RajaRani temple, stands out as the most elegant and beautiful 
among those at Bhubaneswar

We had quite an enjoyable trip. By and large, our compact  four-days programme  worked well. We were at Bhubaneswar for two days, 2nights and one day at Konark and spent  a few hours at Puri on the 4th day to pay a visit to temple of JagannathDev and sea beach.

The accommodation at both Bhubaneswar and Konark was good. Except for at one temple - Megheswar @ Bhubaneswar - 'panda'/priests did not harass us. We had several disappointments though. At Konark, we could not enjoy a sunrise. But, Konark temple enveloped in morning mist was a rare visual treat. Secondly at Puri temple, we had to remain content with glimpse of JagannathDev from a distance as all the three deities were to have a 'bath'. But, I could see young and not-so-young sweating devotees running along a corridor, carrying caskets of bath water  - never knew such a ritual exist !

Before I write a few paragraphs on  our visits to temples , a few general points ....

This auto-rickshaw took us around @ Bhubaneswar 
on 15th &  16th Feb.,'12.
 He would be unhappy even after we added a good tip on the exorbitant fare  he made us agree upon.

One remarkable feature of the Tourism department of Orissa is the excellent  repertoire of Travel literature they have developed to attract and assist tourists. The publication on Konark temple , Buddhist/Jain shrines and 'stupas', detailed map are amazing. OTDC  has developed a good network of Hotels . We could not have enjoyed our one-and-half days' stay @ Konark but for Yatrinibas.

 Yatrinibas, Konark.

 What we did not like is  general attitude of extracting money from tourists - through formation of cartels of taxis and auto-rickshaws as well as other service providers.Last year, when @ Hampi, I asked an auto-rickshaw driver  as to why the cost of a ride was so high there. He explained -  long no-tourist/small income season. It is not applicable to Puri and Bhubaneswar  - these places enjoy tourist inflow throughout the year. I found travel cost unjustifiably high. Public administration does not provide support to tourists through modest, clean and efficient point-to-point transfers.

  Beautiful 'Torana' ( arch) in front of Mukteswar temple

 The temples we visited @ Bhubaneswar, Hirapur, Konark and Puri are extra-ordinary in architecture as well as iconography. A discerning visitor will appreciate the depth of planning and meticulous 'execution' which attract  thousands of visitors through centuries to these places - not only for pilgrimage, but to savour  the wonders standing tall for centuries.

 Entrance to Udaygiri caves

RajaRani temple is the most beautiful one among those we visited at Bhubaneswar . Lingaraj temple is the magnificent one. Brahmeswar,Vaital,Mukteswar and very significantly ,'64 Yoginis' as well as Parasurameshwar temples are delight of students of Iconography like me. We also visited Sisireswar, Megheswar,Swarnajaleswar, Siddheswar temples.

 Konark temple,mystified by morning mist

Next was the Sun temple at Konark - the most awe-inspiring temple in Orissa. It is said that had this temple been discovered before TajMahal during the British rule, Konark temple would have been considered one of the seven wonders of the World ! Whether or not  such a claim is proper, Konark temple overwhelms visitors with its design and details inspite of the broken deul and many scars. ASI has done a great job in developing the area around with well-manicured lawn and excellent 2-tone lighting. I enquired with the ticket counter and found during the peak season of November/December, upto 6500 visitors  throng to this temple in a day !!

More about the details in future blogs.

1 comment:

Ruby Chatterji said...

Great going! Make the world map,viewers corner, go Red!I am with you.