About the Temple
Noted historian James Ferguson described it as “One of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India”. The largest temple in the city is believed to have been built by the Somavansi kings and evolved under the Ganga dynasty in the 11 century CE. The presiding deity is lord Shiva known by the name of Lingaraja. The interesting part is that Lingaraja is worshipped as Lord Harihara- a form of Shiva and Vishnu-a telltale pointer to the fact that denotes the evolution of the cult of vaishnavism which swept the region from the 9th century CE.
Shiva Ratri is the main festival. Held in spring thousands of devotees especially women throng the temple. As a part of the ritual women usually fast that day and pray to Lord Shiva for a long and happy life of their husbands. As a part of the offering Bael leaves along with milk are offered to the Lord and ceremonies and rituals continue well into the night.
Bol Bom – Meaning “Say Shiva” -Where thousands of devotees usually Male carry water from the Mahanadi River and offer it to lord Shiva during the month of Shravan i.e the rainy season. BolBom- is intrinsically linked with Indian mythology. During the famous “Samudra Manthan” i.e churning of the Ocean- its said that fourteen rubies came out- the god’s distributed thirteen of them, but the fourteenth ruby known as “halahal” was poisonous and had the capacity to destroy the universe. Lord Shiva gulped the Ruby and stored it in his throat-which turned blue due to the poison- Lord Shiva is also known as Neelkanth for the very reason. To save Lord Shiva from the effects of the poison all the god’s started pouring water from the river Ganges on his head. That’s how the Bol Bom ritual originated.