Friday, September 27, 2013

Trip No-12: 9 1/2 Hours in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar is one of the many places I haven’t been to so far in my life. There are a lot of such cities I am yet to visit. Quite by chance I got to go to Bhubaneswar on Monday on office work. I was there for less than ten hours reaching there at about quarter to ten in the morning and leaving at quarter past seven in the evening. In those nine and half hours I packed in a little bit site-seeing.
The weather was pretty nice when I landed at Bhubaneswar in the morning. The meeting was at a place called Mayfair Lagoon and when I got there the meeting had already begun. The hotel was pretty opulent as I was to discover later in the day. The meeting lasted until lunch time and afterwards we were told we were free. I was booked to return on a flight at seven in the evening so I had almost five hours to kill. I set out to find if I could locate any second hand bookstores to browse. We were told there were a few shops somewhere near Ram Mandir but when we got there I discovered that they sold only text books. The shopkeepers were unhelpful and were unwilling to even open their mouths to speak. I decided to abandon the quest and instead do some sight-seeing.
In the meeting we were told that Bhubaneswar was a city of temples with more than five hundred temples. We asked an autorickshaw driver to take us to the biggest temple. I noticed that the city had wide roads and seemed pretty planned. I remembered that someone at the meeting had told us that after Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar was the second planned city in the country. It certainly appeared to be well planned since I did not see any high rise buildings but only quaint old buildings everywhere. There were no traffic problems so our journey was non-stop until we reached the Lingaraj temple.
I have seen temples but I haven’t seen a temple like the Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar. It was so ancient and so massive that my eyes boggle for a few moments. Inside the temple compound were smaller shrines and temples everywhere. Another thing was that there were hundreds of bronze figurines of a coiled cobra with its hood spread lying around in the smaller shrines. The temple was so ancient I was surprised it was intact all these centuries. It looked like it was at least a thousand years old. Since we weren’t allowed to take our mobile phones or camera inside I was content to click a few snaps of people sitting under a massive peepal tree right outside the temple, playing cards or just sitting.

I got back to Mayfair Lagoon to freshen up in someone’s room. The hotel was another wonder with so many corridors anyone new would be lost in that maze. It was an opulent hotel with some pretty eye-catching stuff on display. There was an antique car at one place and another place had an ancient propeller plane on display. I regretted not coming a day earlier and spending a night in that magnificent hotel. The room tariff, I noticed, began from Rs 10000. I was driven back to the airport that was just a fifteen minute drive away from the city.

1 comment:

Rajendra said...

I lived there in 1991, and it was a lovely, underdeveloped place with beautiful temples and scenery. Mayfair Lagoon did not exist. There was only one traffic light in the new part of town then.