The iconic Lingaraj Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered to be the most ancient temple in Bhubaneswar. Widely considered to have been built in the 6th century, it finds mention in the Brahma Purana. The structure represents Odishan architecture at its most mature stage, with its deul (tower) rising to a height of more than 180 ft. It is particularly fascinating in the way that the turrets inserted on the ribs of the spire incorporate miniature replicas of the tower itself. Moreover, there is an optical illusion at play, which is why this 55-m-high temple looks bigger than it actually is! The temple's walls are adorned with intricate carvings and scriptures, and add to its architectural elegance.

It is best visited between January and March, when the Mahashivratri festival is celebrated with much pomp and show. Apart from Lord Shiva, the temple also holds the idol of Lord Vishnu.

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