Lingaraj Hindu Temple, Odisha, India

The 54m-high Lingaraj Mandir, dedicated to Tribhuvaneswar (Lord of Three Worlds), dates from 1090 to 1104 (though parts are over 1400 years old) and is surrounded by dozens of smaller temples and shrines. The granite block, representing Tribhuvaneswar, is bathed daily with water, milk and bhang (marijuana). The main gate, guarded by two moustachioed yellow lions, is a spectacle in itself as lines of pilgrims approach, prasad (temple-blessed food offering) in hand.

Because the temple is surrounded by a wall, and closed to non-Hindus, foreigners can see it only from a viewing platform (this can also include foreign Hindus). 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 have been reports of aggressive hassling for ‘donations’ at the viewing platform. The money will not go to the temple; stand your ground and do not pay. Bus 333 goes here from Master Canteen bus stand.

Visit India Epic India Route © Monika Newbound

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