Devotees at Lingaraja temple, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, India. (Photo by: IndiaPictures/UIG via Getty Images)

UIG via Getty Images

Lingaraj Mandir

Top choice in Bhubaneswar

The 54m-high Lingaraj Mandir dedicated to Shiva dates from 1090 to 1104 – though some parts are more than 1400 years old – and is surrounded by several smaller temples and shrines. The granite block within, representing Tribhubaneswar (Lord of Three Worlds), is bathed daily with water, milk and bhang (marijuana). The main gate, guarded by two mustachioed yellow lions, is a spectacle in itself as lines of pilgrims approach with offerings in hand. The temple is closed to non-Hindus.

Given the high compound wall, foreigners can view the temple's interiors only from a viewing platform (this may also include Hindu foreigners). Face the main entrance, walk right, then follow the wall around to the left and find the viewing platform on your left, just before you reach Chitrakarini Temple. There is occasional aggressive hassling for ‘donations’ at the viewing platform. The money will not go to the temple, so stand your ground and do not pay.

Take bus 333 here from Master Canteen bus stand.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bhubaneswar attractions

1. Vaital Mandir

0.29 MILES

This 8th-century temple, with a double-storey ‘wagon roof’ influenced by Buddhist cave architecture, was a centre of tantric worship, eroticism and bloody…

2. Parsurameswar Mandir

0.44 MILES

This is an ornate Shiva temple built around AD 650. It has lively bas-reliefs of elephant and horse processions, panels of musicians and dancers, and…

3. Siddheswara Mandir

0.47 MILES

Located in the same compound as Mukteswar Mandir, Siddheswara Mandir is a later, more austere temple with a red Ganesha adorning the facade.

4. Kedargauri Mandir


Over the pathway from Mukteswar Mandir is the whitewashed Kedargauri Mandir, one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar (although it has been substantially…

5. Mukteswar Mandir


This small but beautiful 10th-century structure is one of the most ornate temples in Bhubaneswar; you'll see reproductions of it on posters across Odisha…

6. Rajarani Mandir

0.73 MILES

Built around AD 1100, this temple surrounded by manicured gardens is famous for its ornate deul (temple spire). Around the compass points are pairs of…

7. Brahmeswar Shiva Mandir

0.94 MILES

Standing in well-kept gardens and flanked on its plinth by four smaller structures, this 9th-century temple is a smaller version of Lingaraj Mandir. It’s…

8. Bhaskareswara Mandir

1.03 MILES

This 13th-century Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva. Its central spire (deul) is architecturally distinct and the manicured lawns outside are quite…