|History of the Temple|
Lingaraj Temple is a temple of the Hindu God Shiva and is one of the oldest temples of the Temple City Bhubaneswar, a revered pilgrimage center and the capital of the state of Orissa.
The temple is more than 1000 years old, dating back in its present form to the last decade of the eleventh century, though there is evidence that parts of the temple have been there since sixth century AD as the temple has been emphasized in some of the seventh century Sanskrit texts. This is testimony to its sanctity and importance as a Shiva shrine. By the time the Lingaraj temple was constructed, the Jagannath cult had been growing, historians believe, which is evidenced by the co-existence of Vishnu and Shiva worship at the temple.
The temple is traditionally believed, though without historical authentication, to be built by the SomaVanshi king Jajati Keshari, in 11th century AD. Jajati Keshari had shifted his capital from Jajpur to Bhubaneswar which was referred to as Ekamra Kshetra in the Brahma Purana, an ancient scripture.
This temple has actually four parts:- the main temple, the ‘Yajna Shala‘, the ‘Bhoga Mandap‘ and finally the ‘Natya Shala’. This temple has both Lord Shiva and Vishnu. Vishnu is actually present as Saligramam idol. The Shiva idol which is surrounding the Vishnu (Saligramam) idol. Even the temple on the top has got no Trishul (which is considered to be the weapon of Shiva) and even Chakra (which belongs to Lord Vishnu). It has only Lord Rama’s arrow symbol, probably because Lord Rama was a worshiper of Lord Shiva.
The temple’s main gates have Lord Shiva, Trishul on one side and Lord Vishnu, Chakra on the other side.
Sculpture and Temple Traditions This magnificent temple, dedicated to Shiva, represents the quintessence of the Kalinga type of Hindu architecture. Along with the Raja Rani Temple, it is the pinnacle of the architectural exhibition at Bhubaneswar. It contains a profusion of sculptural work. It is built of red sandstone which gives it a darkest color. The massive granite block in the sanctum, the Swayambhu, is worshiped both as Shiva and Vishnu. The harmony of the two sects is seen in this temple where the deity is worshipped as Hari-Hara, that is, Vishnu and Shiva. The presiding deity, is the Swayambhu Linga. The granite block image of the Linga is said to be bathed daily with water, milk and bhang (marijuana) Almost all the Hindu Gods and Goddesses are represented here, reflecting the innate element of harmony within the religion.