Lingaraj temple in bhubaneshwar is one of the most popular temples of Orissa. Lingaraj temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, also known as ‘Lingaraj' or harihara. This magnificent temple is a testimony to Indian architecture at its most mature and fully developed state. The Lingaraja temple overlooks the city and dominates the landscape. Dated back to the 11th century, this 147 ft high temple was built by Lalatendu Keshari of Somavamsi dynasty in 617-657 A.D.
The 'nata mandapa' (dance hall) and 'bhoga mandapa' (offering hall) were later added to the temple. This temple was built at a time when the Jagannath cult was at its peak. By the time Ligaraja temple was built, the Jagannath cult has gained immense popularity all over India. This is exemplified by the fact, that Swayambhu Linga - half vishnu, half shiva, is the presiding diety here. There is an element of harmony within religion here as is evident by the presence of all Hindu gods and goddesses.
One of the noticeable features of the Lingaraj temple is its degrading architectural beauty, as one retreats from the deul (the Sanctum Sanctorum), away towards the bhogamandir (the hall of offerings). This is so, because the Lingaraja temple was built by the rulers of three dynasties, over a huge span of time. The deul was built by the prosperous Kesari dyanasty. The Muslim invasion, after that, left the Ganga dynasty in a position, that they built the bhogamandir at the cost of its architectural beauty.