Under successive kings, the temple for Lord Jagannath was built at Puri (8th century AD), the worship of Shiva (Shaivism) replaced Jainism and many temples were erected at Bhubaneshwar (9th century), and the cult of Surya, the Sun God, became strong, resulting in the creation of the famous temple at Konarak (13th century).
Muslim incursions from both the north-west and the south (Golconda) led at last to the overthrow of the Hindu rulers. Thereafter, Orissa was held successively by the Muslims, the Afghans, the Marathas, and finally (in AD 1803) by the British.
Bhubaneshwar today is remarkably unlike a major state capital. It is clean, fairly free of traffic but spread out, and it backs onto large expanses of lush meadowland and green fields. A new city of modern buildings has recently sprung up to the north of the old temple town, but there is no real sense of contrast. Ancient sandstone temple spires soar above new hotels and restaurants, and modern paved roads fade into dusty old dirt-tracks. But Bhubaneshwar ‘s progress is taking place in the context of its old traditions and culture, and it’s almost impossible to believe that this small, relaxed, semi-rural city administers the affairs of 25 million people.
The best general time to visit is the cool season of October–February, though it is still very pleasant (and more relaxing) in March. After this, it’s far too hot for comfort. The main festival of Ashokastami takes place over 5 days at the end of March at the Lingaraj. It’s nothing like as grand as Puri’s Rath Yatra, but you still get the spectacle of Lord Lingaraj being towed round town, visiting his relatives, by thousands of delirious devotees.