Virajakshetra (now Jajpur) was an ancient capital of Odisha. According to historians, 32 rulers have ruled over this region. Most of the rulers (Gupta, Bhaumakara, Soma) kept this region as their centre of administration, and for this reason, Virajakshetra evolved a rich style of temple architecture, with unique iconographic features of Hindu deities and sacred centres. Religious cults like Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Saivism, Buddhism, Naga and Ganapatya have developed in a full-fledged manner here.
Sacred centres play an important role in the study of Indian civilisation. The Anthropological Survey of India undertook an interest to study other sacred centres in India after L.P. Vidyarthi’s inspirational study of the sacred complex in Hindu Gaya (1961). In his research, he focused on the geography and specialist practices in the sacred centre. Titled “The Sacred Complex of Virajakshetra”, this research enriches the anthropological archives by providing information on the evolution of three dominant cults (Shaktism, Saivism and Vaishnavism), linkages of sacred centres in this region with other national sacred centres, the spread of the Brahmanic tradition, the role of sevayatas and khatanidarpraja associated with the temple, and the importance of Virajakshetra.
We shall visit the following places during our first walk in the city – Viraja Temple, Jagannath Temple, Varahanath, Dasaswamedhaghat, Saptamatrika and Collector's Office.
This guided tour is free.