Pilgrimage in Odisha

Here is the list of the top temples in Odisha that you must explore due to their intricate details and colorful designs. Most of the temples have the Kalinga style of architecture as it ruled Odisha for a long time. Scroll down to take a good look at them and the highlights they have. We recommend covering at least 2-3 temples when you do visit this glorious land:

  • Jagannath Temple Odisha – The Most Popular
  • Maa Tara Tarini Temple – Shakti Peethas
  • Sun Temple – 13th Century Architecture
  • Lingaraja Temple – The Largest In Odisha
  • Brahmeswara Temple – Mythological Stories
  • Gundicha Temple – Distinct Kalinga Architecture
  • Mukteswara Temple – Elaborately Carved Structures
  • Parsurameswara Temple – Stories Of Lord Parshuram
  • Rajarani Temple – The Love Temple
  • Vaital Deula – Explore Intricate Art  
  • Ram Mandir – A Magnificent Temple
  • Ananta Vasudeva Temple – With Fascinating Sculptures
  • Cuttack Chandi Temple – The Grand Temple Of Cuttack 
  • Chausathi Jogini Temple – Stories Of Legends
  • Mausi Maa Temple – Lord Jagannath’s Family Temple

1. Jagannath Temple Odisha – The Most Popular

Jagannath Temple

Jagannath Temple is one of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations in Odisha. It is the temple of Lord Vishnu and holds great significance. It has very high spiritual significance and sees visits of thousands of employees every year. Want to know a mysterious fact about this temple? Well, it is said that the flag on the top of this temple flows in the opposite direction of the wind.

Priests of this Jagannath temple Odisha are said to climb the temple which is as high as a 45-storey building to change the flag. This ritual has been followed since the time the temple has been built. There is a belief that if this ritual is missed even for one day the temple shuts down for 18 years. Also, there are no shadows of the temple to be seen during any time of the day. There are many astonishing facts about this temple.

Location: Bhanumati Way, Puri, Odisha 752002
Highlights: The temple does not create a shadow during the daytime. You cannot hear the sound of the waves of the ocean when you are inside the temple.
Timing: 5 am – 11 pm

2. Maa Tara Tarini Temple – Shakti Peethas

Maa Tara Tarini Temple in Odisha

Considered as one of the Shakti Peethas in India, Maa Tara Tarini Temple is positioned on the banks of River Rushikulya. It is believed that after the Daksha Yagna, when Sati’s body was dismembered with Sudarshan Chakra, her breasts had fallen in this location. Chaitra Mela is the most important event celebrated inside this temple.

This is said to be a wish fulfilling temple. It was built in the 17th century and has 999 steps. It is located on top of Taratarini Hill. The sacred River Rushikulya is believed to be the elder sister of the River Ganges. There are many tourist attractions near this temple.

Location: Temple Road Dt, near Rushikulya River, Raipur, Purusottampur, Odisha 761018
Highlights: This is one of the Shakti Peethas and is known to be a wish fulfilling temple.
Timings: 5:00 am – 12:25 pm, 2:00 pm – 9:45 pm

3. Sun Temple – 13th Century Architecture

Sun Temple

It was built in the 13th century and is known for its marvelous architecture. It is dedicated to Lord Sun or Surya. This temple has a unique architecture compared to other temples and are built in the shape of Lord Surya’s chariot. Europeans called it the ‘Black Pagoda.’ It is built in the Kalinga architectural style. There are erotic sculptures on the walls of this temple.

The sundials carved on this temple tell the time accurately during day and night. This is a World UNESCO heritage site. The structure of the temple was designed in such a way that the rays of the sun falls directly on the main sanctum of the temple. Moreover, there are magnets placed on top of the temple which holds two iron plates sandwiched between stones.

Location: Konark, Odisha 752111
Highlights: The temple is in the shape of the Sun’s chariot. The sundial in the shape of the wheel has been an inspiration to design the dial of the wrist watch.
Timings: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm

4. Lingaraja Temple – The Largest In Odisha

Lingaraja Temple View

Lingaraja Temple is not only the largest temple in Bhubaneshwar but also in the whole state. It is said that the construction of this temple can be dated back to the 8th century and it is built in the shape of a sanctuary tower. It has a Dravidian Gopuram similar to what you find in most of the South India temples. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There are many carved figures on the interior and exterior walls of the temple.

The presiding deity is a manifestation of Goddess Parvati and there are many deities within this temple. There are carved structures of Goddess Durga, Chamunda, Bhairava, and other deities inside the walls of this temple. It is courtyard there are a thousand Lingas also known as Sahastralingas. The tank water inside this temple is said to have healing powers for curing physical illness.

Location: Lingaraj Nagar, Old Town, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002
Highlights: The Linga inside this temple appeared on its own and is known as ‘Syambhu Linga.’
Timings: 5:00 am – 9:00 pm

5. Brahmeswara Temple – Mythological Stories

Brahmeswara Temple View

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the construction of this temple can be dated back to the 9th century which makes it one of the oldest temples in Odisha. It was established during the Somvanshi Dynasty. It has historical and architectural significance and is a must-visit for those who love history and mythology. This temple is carved out of a single stone and is known for its architectural marvel.

It is built in the Lingayat architectural style. Its architecture is similar to the Mukteshwar temple. It is built in the pyramidal style and has many beautiful carvings on its interior and exterior walls. There are many stunning and beautiful parts of the temple which is divided into different parts. It has banquets and dance halls which are beautifully designed.

Location: Tankapani Rd, Siba Nagar, Brahmeswarpatna, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002
Highlights: It is built in a pyramidal shape and has beautiful architecture in all parts of this temple
Timings: 5:00 am – 9:00 pm

6. Gundicha Temple – Distinct Kalinga Architecture

Gundicha Temple

This is one of the most beautiful temples in Odisha. It has a beautiful garden and is crowded only during the annual Ratha Yatra from the Jagannath temple. It is believed that Gundicha Temple is the abode of the Lord Jagannath from Hindu mythology. For the most part of the year, this temple is empty and can be visited anytime. It is built in the Kalinga style of architecture. It has four carved structures. It is built in the name of Lord Krishna’s aunt Gundicha.

It is believed that Lord Jagannath resides inside this temple for 9 days during the Ratha Yatra. The entire temple is built with a single gray sandstone. There are many mythological stories associated with this temple. It is also known as the ‘Garden House of Lord Jagannath.’

Location: Gundicha temple, Puri, Odisha 752001
Highlights: It is empty for the entire year except for the 9 days of annual Ratha Yatra
Timings: 6:00 am – 9:00 pm

7. Mukteswara Temple – Elaborately Carved Structures

Mukteshwar Temple in Odisha

It was built during the rule of the Somvanshi Dynasty, in 950 A.D and known for its stunning architecture. A part of this temple has also been built in the Buddhist style of architecture. Being one of the many temples in Bhubaneswar, dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is located on a hilltop. There are statues of many deities inside this temple. 

It has ornamented Torana and elaborately carved structures within the walls as well as the exterior walls of the temple. There are many ornate structures and carvings inside the temple which are tastefully done and have intricate details. There are many striking features of this temple in the form of carvings and sculptures.

Location: Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Highlights: Known as the ‘Gem of architecture.’ It has many intricate carvings.
Timings: 6:30 am – 7:00 pm

8. Parsurameswara Temple – Stories Of Lord Parshuram

Parsurameswar Temple

This temple has been built in 650 A.D in the Nagara style of architecture. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are many intricate designs carved on the walls of this temple. This temple has ‘Saptamatrikas’ and depicted in the form of Goddesses. There are also carvings of 8 planets from Vedic astrology excluding Ketu.

It is believed that this spot is the place where Parashurama, an avatar of Lord Vishnu punished himself and got penance from Lord Shiva. This is the first temple that has a hall for worshipers. It has a tower and Vimana as a part of its structures which look like most of the South Indian temples. You will find beautifully carved motifs with intricate details on the walls of the temple.

Location: Near Bindu Sagar Pond, Kedar Gouri Vihar, Old Town, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002
Highlights: Jaganmohan, a worship hall which is the first and one of its kinds is a part of this temple
Timings: 5:00 am – 6:00 pm

9. Rajarani Temple – The Love Temple

RajaRani Temple in Odisha

This temple was built in the 11th century and is known as the ‘Love Temple’ because it contains erotic carvings of men and women. There are no sculptures or idols of deities found inside this temple and belongs to no particular sect. People of all religions and ethnicity can visit this temple. There are many carved figures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati inside this temple.

This is a unique temple with a stunning architecture. It is built in reddish-gold sandstone. Rajarani Temple is built on a platform with two structures and a hall, also known as Jagamohana. The walls have many sculpted scenes that depict different moods during the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Location: Tankapani Rd, near BOI ATM, Kedar Gouri Vihar, Rajarani Colony, Rajarani Temple, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002
Highlights: It has no deities and has intricate and erotic carvings of couples
Timings: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm

10. Vaital Deula – Explore Intricate Art  

Vaital Deula

This temple is dedicated to Goddess Chamundi. It was built in the 8th century with Kalinga architecture. It is also called the ‘ Tina Munia Mandir.’ This is a rare temple which are intricate and beautiful carvings. The tower of this temple is similar to the Dravidian style of South Indian temples. This is a rare temple known for its architecture.

It has many carvings on its ceiling. There are also erotic carvings of couples on the walls of this tower. There are also carved figures of Lord Surya along with his chariot. One of the most stunning aspects of this temple is the figure of Goddess Durga. There are also many features of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati inside this temple.

Location: Barhadanda Road, Old Town, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002
Highlights: The carvings inside the temple are striking
Timings: 7:00 am to 8:00 pm

11. Ram Mandir – A Magnificent Temple

Ram Mandir

Image Source

One of the most popular temples in Odisha is Ram Mandir which is said to be the most visited place in Bhubaneshwar. Images and idols of Lord Rama, Lakshman, and Goddess Sita have been installed here. Many of the major festivals are celebrated in this temple with excitement. There is also a magnificent annual fair conducted inside this temple. The daily aarti draws a lot of devotees to this temple.

This is a large temple whose spires are visible from different parts of the city. The temple also has idols of Lord Hanuman, Shiva, and many other deities. Many devotees visit this temple during all the Hindu festivals. Ram Navami is the festival not to be missed as it is celebrated here grandly. There are many facilities such as food stalls, lockers, and washrooms available outside this temple.

Location: Naka Gate Chowk, Khandagiri, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751030
Highlights: Morning and evening aarti
Timings: 6:00 am to 9:00 pm

12. Ananta Vasudeva Temple – With Fascinating Sculptures

Ananta Vasudeva Temple

This is one of the best places to visit in Bhubaneswar due to it’s historic origins and 12th century art. Its main deities are Lord Krishna, Lakshmana, and Subhadra. This is an important Vaishnava temple visited by thousands of devotees. Its architecture is similar to the Lingaraja temple and it has many small shrines inside its compound. It was built during the Ganga Dynasty. This is one of the most ancient temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

There are many sculptures that are beautifully carved inside this temple complex. There is also a fascinating sculpture of Lord Balarama standing on top of a 7 hooded serpent. There are many idols sculpted in different postures which bear mythological significance. There are many rituals that take place daily inside this temple.

Location: Gouri Nagar, Old Town, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 751002
Highlights: Sculptures and daily rituals inside the temple
Timings: 6:30 am – 7:00 pm

13. Cuttack Chandi Temple – The Grand Temple Of Cuttack 

Cuttack Chandi Temple

Located on the serene banks of Mahanadi, lies one of the oldest Odisha temples. Like many temples in India, the origins of the temple are based on old tales and stories which are as interesting as the imagination. The Cuttack Chandi Temple is flocked by nearly 20 lakh visitors every year and supposedly it’s the signature temple of Cuttack city.

The temple has a special sweet made out everyday which has long been a favorite of many. If you get the chance do try the “Chandi bhog.”

Location: Chandi Chhaka, Cuttack, Odisha 753001
Highlights: The Durga Puja festivities for 16 days starting from Ashwina Krishna Ashtami till Ashwina shukla navami and Vijayadashami.
Timing: 7:00 am – 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm

14. Chausathi Jogini Temple – Stories Of Legends

Chausathi Jogini Temple Premises

Otherwise popular as the 64 Joginis Temple, it is a tantric temple located 20 km away from Bhubaneswar in a hamlet called Hirapur. The temple has a hypaethral architecture due to the tantric prayer rituals involving bhumandala worship. It is one of the few Odisha temples that truly has a separate perspective and history. 

The temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and legend has it that the temple is of Goddess Durga who took the form of 64 demi-goddesses in an attempt to defeat a demon. After the fight, the 64 goddesses or Joginis asked the goddess Durga to commemorate them in the form of a temple structure.

Location: Balianta, Hirapur, Odisha 752100
Highlights: The idols inside that express everything including joy, sadness, rage, pleasure, happiness and desire.
Timing: 6:00 am – 7:00 pm

15. Mausi Maa Temple – Lord Jagannath’s Family Temple

Mausi Maa Temple Front Gate

Image Credits: Aditya Mahar for Wikimedia

So, the legendary destination of Puri is where this temple is located and directly related to Lord Jagannath. This is actually the temple where Lord Jagannath and the other chariots are transferred to during the magnificent Rath Yatra. It is situated in the middle of Grand Road. It’s a relatively small temple dedicated to Goddess Ardhashini.

According to ancient beliefs, Ardhasini along with Kapalmochna Shiva are the day and night guardians of Jagannath Temple and the town of Puri. The tale is quite popular in Puri that the Goddess Ardhashini once drank seawater in order to save Puri from drowning.

Location: Grand Road, Mausima Ln, Balagandi, Puri, Odisha 752001
Highlights: The family stories that is related to the temple and its goddess are just amazing.
Timing: Open always