There are 150 shrines within the immense Lingaraja complex and many of them extremely interesting in their own right. This is exemplified by the fact, that the presiding deity, here, is the Svayambhu Linga - half Shiva, half Vishnu, a unique feature of the temple. Almost all the Hindu gods and goddesses are represented in this temple, mirroring the inherent element of harmony within the religion. Surrounded by high walls on four sides, the Lingaraja temple is one of the most famous temples in Bhubaneswar,Odisha. It is one of the best and splendid examples of the architectural excellence which the artists had attained during 11th century. This temple is also known as the Bhubaneswar temple. The outer walls of the temple exhibit exemplary carvings. The beautifully sculpted images of various God and Goddess are unmatched. The temple tower can be seen from a long distance. The temple complex has three parts and each part has one temple each. Towards south of the entrance to main temple is image of Lord Ganesha, at the back is the image of Goddess Parvati and to north is Lord Kartikya.
Lingaraja temple was built in 617-657 AD and its height is about 54 meters. The Lingaraja temple is said to have been built first by the ruler Yayati Kesari in the 7th century who shifted his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneshwar. Bhubaneswar remained as the Kesari capital, till Nripati Kesari founded Cuttack in the 10th century. Inscriptions from the period of the Kalinga King Anangabhima III from the 13th century are seen here. Structurally, the Parasurameswara temple at Bhubaneswar is the oldest, dating back to the middle of the 8th century, and the Lingaraja is temple is assigned to the 10th century. The nata mandir and the bhog mandir of the Lingaraja temple are of later origin
The outer walls of the temple exhibit unparallel carvings. The beautifully carved and sculpted images of various God and Goddess are unrivalled. Its towering spire-like beauty dominates the Bhubaneswar skyline. It represents the peak of Kalinga style of architecture spanning over 25 centuries of progressive history. This 11th century temple is the culmination of architectural beauty and sculpted elegance.
Legend has it that Shiva revealed to Parvati that Bhubaneswar - or Ekamra thirtha was a resort favored by him over Benares. Parvati in the guise of a cowherd woman, decided to look at the city herself. Two demons Kritti and Vasa desired to marry her. She requested them to carry her upon their shoulders, and crushed them under her weight. Shiva, then created the Bindu Saras lake to quench her thirst, and took abode here as Krittivasas or Lingaraja.