Lingaraj Mandir

Top choice in Bhubaneswar

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

UIG via Getty Images

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.