June 30, 2015

Sari Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Sari Deul Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Near Bindu Sagar tank, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: Architecturally beautiful ancient temple - belongs to 13th century CE - Gangas period 
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: There are many options across the city
Restaurants: Varieties of options

Bhubaneswar is not only about the gigantic Lingaraja temple or the architectural marvels such as Raja Rani temple or Parasurameshwar temple. The city has a lot more to offer for any enthusiastic and art loving traveler or devotee. The city, which is the capital city of Odisha (formerly Orissa) state of India, is called as 'the City of Temples'. It once had around 3000 temples and even today hundreds of temples are located in every nook and corner of this heritage rich city. Let us explore an unknown and abondoned but extremely beautiful temple named Sari Deul temple in this article.


It is very difficult to provide the exact location of small and little known temples. Sari temple is located on the right side of the road branching from Ratha road to Bindu Sagar, on the southern banks.

Architecture and Temple Layout:

Sari temple was built by the Gangas Kings in the 13th century CE. According to me, it should be considered as one of the most beautiful temples in Bhubaneswar. It is unfortunate that it is in a neglected state and a lot of encroachments have happened near this ancient site. In fact, the temple is located in a very narrow lane and it is very difficult to click proper photographs of the site. For name sake, it is under the protection of ASI and hardly any protection or care is taken for this heritage rich architectural marvel.

The temple has sanctum sanctorum with Rekha type vimana. It does not enshrine any deity although it used to be a temple of Lord Shiva. There is Jagmohana with Pidha. The vimana and jagamohana are Panchanga Bada in elevation. The vimana is Sapta Ratha and jagmohana is Nava Ratha on plan.

The entire temple looks awesome and not even a small piece of wall is left without decorations or sculptures. The entire exterior walls of temple are decorated with architectural motifs such as Pidha Mundi and Khakhara Mundi, Naga stambhas, and others. Also, they contain the sculptures/carvings of mythological animals like Virala and Gaja Kranta, flowers, creepers, scroll works, sages, royal figures, warriors, some deities such as Krishna and Parvati, Dikpalas and their consorts such as Indra, Indrani, etc., animals such as elephants, lions, etc. Even few amorous sculptures are also found.

The decorations on the exterior walls are very intricate and attractive. In fact, although hundreds of architecturally beautiful temples are found across Bhubaneswar, only very few temples have such intricate sculptures. Another important feature of the temple is that not only the sanctorum walls but even the walls of Jagmohana are found with intricate sculptures. 

Even the windows of this temple look artistic. They are not ordinary but balustrated windows with the sculptures of Nayikas (dancing girls) are found in the place of rods. The vimana as well as the entrance the temple have Navagraha panels and Lakshmi relief images.

The sculptures of Nayikas in different postures that are found in large numbers are outstanding. The sculptures of Dikpalas and their consorts found in this temple are rare which cannot be easily found in the other temples of Bhubaneswar. Only Parvati is found as the Parsvadevta (niche) image.

Let me reiterate. This extraordinary monument should be given importance. At least it should be properly protected. Already a lot of sculptures appear to be missing and broken. It appears that the materials of the temple are being used by the local people to build their houses. It is highly unfortunate to find people do not respect this great heritage property of our country but even try to slowly destroy the same.

Let us protect and support our heritage!

Happy travelling.

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