Old Town Bhubaneswar

Old Town Bhubaneswar is one of those urban areas that is crying out to become a heritage zone, with special regulations and guidelines on construction, development, activities etc. Not only is there a plethora of important ancient temples in the area, there are also dharamshalas (rest-houses), maths (monasteries) and residential buildings from the early 20th c and possibly even 19th c.

The two main landmarks of Old Town are the Bindu Sagar tank and the Lingaraja temple compound. The southern ghats of Bindu Sagar tank are roughly a hundred meters distant from the northern wall of the Lingaraja temple compound. The town lies between and around these two large landmarks. Some of the 19th/20th c structures could be turned into museums and interpretation centers, and the area as a whole can be dedicated to the preservation and showcasing of the temples, big and small. Unfortunately, India does not seem to be at a place socio-economically where such neighborhoods can exist. It will hopefully happen some time in the future.

 

Panoramas of Bindu Sagar tank, showing Ananta Vasudeva Temple and a couple of dharamshala buildings on its east bank.

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Brahma temple in the middle of Bindu Sagar. The Lingaraja temple spire can be seen in the first photo.

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Along Bindu Sagar Road, which runs along the east bank of the tank. The first photo was taken in front of Ananta Vasudeva temple, with the dharamshalas in the background. The second shows one of the two dharamshalas.

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Intersection of Bindu Sagar Road and Ganga-Jamuna Road, with the Gouri-Shankar or Gouri-Shankar-Ganesh temple at the center of the intersection. The plinth level of this old temple is much lower than the current road level, and a narrow flight of steps leads to the entrance of the temple.

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Buildings near the intersection.

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Nearby, the intersection of Rath Road and Bindu Sagar Road, with the compound wall and spires of Lingaraja temple visible.

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Along Rath Road, which runs between Bindu Sagar and the Lingaraja compound.

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Temples of the Papanasini Kund complex along Rath Road

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The alley that leads from the western end of Rath Road to Yameshwar and Bakreshwar temples

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Between Rath Road and Bindu Sagar is a densely packed neighborhood with narrow alleyways, with temples dotted in between including the Sari temple, and Mohini and Markandeshwar temples along the banks of Bindu Sagar. The first photo is of the Sari temple complex, with multiple spires. We can also see the spire of another temple (photos in the previous post) in the distance behind, in another compound. The temple in the next photo is not far in the other direction. With this, we can imagine an urban landscape dotted with temples, if we remove the compound walls that separate them. We can imagine multiple heritage walks connecting these temples and small open area/squares around the temples.

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The Jagamohan (mandap) of Sari temple sticking out onto its adjacent alley

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Lingaraja Temple Road, east of the temple compound

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Large tank east of Lingaraja.

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Buildings around the tank

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Buildings along Lingaraja Temple Road, moving southwards away from the temple.

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