BHUBANESWAR, the capital of Orissa, is, and has been, since times immemorial, one of the most important holy cities of India. In this city of Shiv, Lord of the Three Worlds, once stood more than 7,000 shrines representing nearly nine centuries of temple-building. Even now there is quite a number of them so that the city is a veritable museum of Art and Religion. About half a dozen of the surviving temples count among the foremost in India, and each of them is a jewel in its own class. Such are the Parshurameshwar, the Vaital Deul, the Mukteshwar, the Rajarani, the Brahmeshwar and the Lingraj. The Lingraj is, of course, regarded by many as the greatest extant temple of the Hindus. Wondrous as is the architecture of the place, the sculpture which these temples display is equally marvellous. If, after the Classical Age, the classical touch has been re-captured anywhere, it is here, in Bhubaneswar. The Orissan artist has shown a restraint which is as amazing as the abandon with which the carving has been done. Since, at one stage of development of the Orissan temple, architecture became but sculpture on a gigantic scale, Bhubaneswar offers monuments which are carved so profusely that not an inch of the surface is without embellishment. Most skilfully executed, the lavish ornamentation has an astonishingly wide variety of motifs, ranging over all that the universe contains-floral and vegetal, animal and human, demoniac and divine. The themes include a fetching array of fragrant females as well as finely sculpted mithuns.