means the Lord of the world, and it refers to Maheswar one of the Trimurthis
of Hindu gods; and He is the Lord of Destruction, yet the most compassionate
among them. It is applicable to places also; here it is the name of a place
consecrated by the presence of Siva, and it is the metropolitan city of Orissa.
It was and is the seat of government of one of the Indian states called Utkal
then, and Orissa now. For centuries, it is called the cathedral city of India,
on account of the infinite number of temples it has within its precincts.
Legends credit it with having nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine
temples, built by a single individual king-Yayati Kesari, a rare phenomenon,
perhaps, second to none but to itself. It serves a royal banquet to the eyes of
the devotees with numberless temples small and big, old and new, simple and
grand, ruined and maintained and visited or neglected, all but in one place.
Though there is predominance of Siva temples every where, one can also see
Vaishnava temples here and there in addition, there are a good number of Jain
and Bouddha shrines, either in adorable, or deplorable state reflecting the
spirit of catholicity of the capital and its inimitable glory of tolerance to