ODISHA:

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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

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