October 24, 2015

Raja Rani Temple - Bhubaneswar


Site Name: Raja Rani Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: One of the most important and beautiful ancient temples of Bhubaneswar
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, 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. The city is called as Ekamara Kshetra as it has so many Shiva temples. Let us explore Raja Rani Temple, one of the most important and beautiful temples of Bhubaneswar, in this article.


Location:

Raja Rani temple is located in Tanjkapani Road near Ravi Talkies square. Refer the route map given in the article for exact location.

Introduction:

Raja Rani temple is one of the most beautiful temples of Bhuabneswar. Some features of the temple are unique which make this temple as outstandingly attractive. It is located in the middle of open paddy fields, which increases its elegance. 

The temple does not have any deity currently. Based on the architecture and iconography of the temple, it is classified as the Shaiva temple. As per few historians, the temple was originally called as Indreswara. Later, the temple might have derived the name Raja Rani. As the temple was built by a type of sandstone called Rajarani, it is believed that the temple derived this name.

History:

Raja Rani temple is dated to late 10th century or early 11th century CE. It was built by the Somavamshi Kings.

Temple Layout:

Raja Rani temple is facing the east direction. The temple has sanctum sanctorum with Vimana and Jagamohana. There is no deity found inside the temple.  It has rekha Vimana and Pidha order Jagamohana. The temple is Triangabada in elevation.

The projecting entrance of the temple has round thick columns entwined by Naga sculptures on either sides.  Apart from them, two relief images of Shaiva Dwarapalas at the doorjambs, Lakulisa in the lintel at the entrance and the Navagraha panel above the lintel are all found at the entrance.

The Vimana is spectacularly ornate. The images of ladies found in the Vimana and the exterior walls of the sanctum sanctorum are extremely elegant. The ladies images are found in different postures such as holding children, looking in mirrors, playing some musical instruments, playing with pet birds, erotic postures along with men, holding hands of short women, etc. 

The corner projections on the base of the exterior walls of the temple have the sculptures of Ashta Digpalas namely Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirriti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera and Ishana. 

Some of the other sculptures on the walls and Vimana include the marriage scene of Shiva and Parvati, Nataraja, Vyala and Gajakranta motifs, mithuna figures and foliage, creepers, vines and similar scroll motifs.

The Jagamohana is raised above a platform and is Pancha ratha in almost plan except for perforated windows and thick sculpted pillar. It has pyramidal roof. The plain exterior is an evidence that it was completely repaired in the beginning of the 20th century CE as the original structure fell down. 

Thanks to the erotic carvings of the temple, it is locally known as Love Temple.

Happy travelling.













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