July 3, 2015

Mohini Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Mohini Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Near Bindu Sagar tank, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: Fine example of earlier Orissan architecture
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 about Mohini temple in this article.


Bhubaneswar city, which was called as Ekamra Kshetra, is famous as a Shaiva Kshetra. Apart from the gigantic Lingaraja temple, there are innumerable Shiva temple found across the city. However, a lot of Shakti shrines were also constructed side by side from the ancient times. The origin of Shakta religion in Bhubaneswar can be traced back to first or second century BCE. In the 7th century CE, Shaktism became very popular. Bhauma Karas, who were ruling the Orissa coastal region in those days, constructed a lot of Shakti temples in Bhubaneswar in those times.

There are a lot of temples across the country for Ram, Krishna and Narasimha, the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Even the other incarnations such as Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Parsurama and Balarama have few rare temples. However, I have never heard about a temple dedicated to Mohini Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu. Only after visiting the temple, I realized that the deity is not Mohini but Chamunda. The temple is called as Mohini as it was built by a Queen named Mohini.

Around Bindu Sarovar four Shakti shrines were constructed in the 7th century CE. Mohini Devi, the Queen of Bhauma King Sivakara Deva II constructed the temple named after her on the southern banks of Bindu Sarovar in 687 CE. The presiding deity is ten armed terrific Chamunda Devi. The other three temples are Uttaresvara temple of Chamunda Devi on the north bank and two other temples of Mahisasur Mardini which originally had Chamunda Devi.

Architecture and Temple Layout:

Mohini temple is located on the southern banks of Bindu Sagar. It is a small temple enshrining ten armed Chamunda Devi. The image is terrific and is depicted in tantric form with sunken belly, wearing garlands of skulls and standing on a corpse. 

The sanctum sanctorum has rekha type vimana and Jagmohana is pidha type. The damaged Jagmohana has been renovated badly with marbles in the interior. The temple is tri ratha on plan and tri anga bada in elevation. There are hardly any designs or decorations found on the vimana or exterior walls.

In Jagmohana there are some idols such as eight armed Durga and others are found. They appear to have been excavated from nearby places.

The exterior walls have five niche images. In Orissa they are called as Parsvadevta. Ganesha in a unique old Orissan style, Kartikeya along with his consort and a peacock, Parvati with two assistant women and a lion, a damaged idol probably Durga, a pair of damaged unidentified idols where one of them is holding trident are the five niche images of this temple.

There is a small sub-shrine without any deity located in the prakara.

Happy travelling.

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