Bhubaneswar is the capital, and the largest, city of the state of Orissa. This city was once the capital of the ancient city of Kalinga-- the city's history dating back approximately 2000 years. Bhubaneswar has a long history, but in modern times the city is a centre for commerce and religion. The year after India gained its independence from Britain in 1947 Bhubaneswar became the capital of Orissa. Often referred to as the "temple city of India", Bhubaneswar holds a vast variety of Hindu temples.
The temples within the city are of much regional and national importance. There are many important Buddhist sites that have been excavated in the region, including the Lalitgiri and Udaygiri sites. Visit the famous Lingaraj Temple, built around the 10th century. One of the truest fusions of dream and reality, the Lingaraja Temple is a rare masterpiece. Dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shiva, the site has been rated one of the finest examples of Hindu artwork. The entire surface of the 55 m high temple is covered with carvings. Many devout Hindus come to this temple to make pilgrimage. Bhubaneswar holds many fairs and festivals that contain colorful displays of Indian culture and regional heritage. Catch the Adivasi Mela at the end of January-- this festival displays artifacts, music, culture, art, and artifacts of the tribal peoples of the state. Last but not least is the day of Ashokashtami, which takes place in the month of March. The image of Lord Shiva and other Hindu deities are taken along a procession from the aforementioned Lingaraja Temple, to the ancient Rameshwara Temple. Hundreds of people participate in the pulling of the chariot that carries the statues of the deities. Each one remains at the site of the Rameshwara Temple for four days.