There are some places in India that are special, and Odisha is definitely one of them. Filled with exquisite temples and extraordinary monuments, home to many thousands of prolific artists and craftsmen; and possessing beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, and natural landscape of often-enchanting beauty, Odisha is a unique and fascinating land that is, nevertheless, still largely undiscovered by tourists.
Tourism in Odisha is a veritable museum of India's sculptural and artistic heritage and has long been famous to scholars and connoisseurs for the magnificent Sun Temple at Konark, for the majestic temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri, and for the glorious temples of Bhubaneswar. The small but ever-growing number of sophisticated tourists who do manage to find their way to Odisha are generally prepared with some knowledge of these temples, of the delicate ikat textiles which have become famous throughout the world, and, perhaps, of the beaches at Puri and Gopalpur on sea.
The Mukteshvara Temple is found to be the earliest work from the Somavamshi period. Most scholars believe the temple is the successor to Parashurameshvara Temple and built earlier to the Brahmeswara Temple. Rajarani Temple is an 11th-century Hindu temple located in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha. The temple is believed to have been known originally as Indreswara. It is locally known as a "love temple" because of the erotic carvings of women and couples in the temple. Rajarani Temple is built in the pancharatha style on a raised platform with two structures: a central shrine called the vimana (sanctum) with a bada (curvilinear spire) over its roof rising to a height of 18 m (59 ft), and a viewing hall called jagamohana with a pyramidal roof. The temple was constructed of dull red and yellow sandstone locally called "Rajarani". There are no images inside the sanctum, and hence it is not associated with a specific sect of Hinduism but broadly classified as Saivite based on the niches.
The caves of Udayagiri and Khandagiri are essentially dwelling retreats or cells of the Jain ascetics, opening directly into the verandah or the open space in front. Mostly excavated near the top of the ledge or boulder, they simply provided dry shelter for meditation and prayer, with very little amenities even for small comforts. The height being too low, does not allow a man to stand straight.
Each cell was tenanted by several monks. The cells are austerely plain, but their facades are encrusted with sculptures depicting auspicious objects worshipped by Jains, court scenes, royal processions, hunting expeditions and scenes of daily life. The austere later additions, when Jainism no longer enjoyed royal patronage in this part, show 24 Jain tirthankars. At present, all the important caves have
Sun Temple at Konark