Sunday 11 August 2019
A bit of an early morning.
Im joining a free walking tour which starts at 6.30am. A rather obscene time for a Sunday morning. When I mentioned this to the Indians I work with, they said – oh that’s a perfect time to go around the temples….!! I disagree!
Bhubaneswar used to have thousands of medieval stone temples. But now around 50 remain.
I arrived a bit early, at 6.10am. And then the tour didn’t even start until nearly 7am, which was annoying.
We started at Mukteswar Mandir, which is one of the most ornate temples in Bhubaneswar. Lots of stone carvings covering the entire outside of the temple structure. People bathing in the ponds surrounding the temple. And yoga in the gardens. People get up very early here.
We spent ages at the first temple. This walking tour was far too slow for me. I like a quick pace, with lots of photo opportunities. Not such a fan of hearing the entire history of the whole temple and the meaning behind every single carving.
Just next to this temple was another – Parsurameswar Mandir – one of the oldest temples in India, a Shiva temple built around AD 650.
The old city centre surrounds a water tank (lake) called Bindu Sagar and at the southern end of the lake was a chaotic market all around the Lingaraj Mandir temple.
We went inside the Ananta Basudeva temple. This temple has a kitchen where they make 56 (!!!) different vegetarian dishes each day to serve as temple food. It is first offered to the gods. Then available to purchase at the temple dining hall. (Not free like in gurdwaras).
Men were carrying pots and fire wood down the streets into the kitchens. Vegetables were all chopped. They only use local vegetables – so no potatoes, onions, garlic or tomato’s, as they don’t grow in this region.
The Lingaraj Mandir temple is the most famous temple in the city. The temple was largely constructed between 1090 to 1104 (but parts of it are over 1400 years old). Again non-Hindus are not allowed inside. But a viewing platform has been built at the side!
The walking tour was supposed to have finished at 8.30am. And it was now 9.20am and it hadn’t finished. I have a flight to catch, so had to leave before the end. A shame, but I wished the pace had been quicker!!
I had just enough time to pop back to the hotel to grab my stuff before needing to go to the airport.
My flight back to Bangalore was at 12pm. Although no surprise, we were delayed and didn’t leave until 1pm. We landed at 2.40pm. The drive into the city only took 1 hour, so I was back at my Indian home by 4pm.