October 10, 2015

Kedar Gauri Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Kedar-Gauri Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temples
Location:   Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: An important temple complex in Bhubaneswar which houses two ancient temples of Shiva and Parvati
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 one of the popular temples of Bhubaneswar in this article. The complex is called as Kedar Gauri Temple and it has two ancient temples and few other smaller shrines.


Kedar-Gauri temple complex is a very popular religious site in Bhubaneswar. You can easily come to this place from any other part of the city, as everyone in Bhubaneswar would know about this most famous landmark. It is located in Kedar-Gauri road, hardly at 300 meters away from the yet another famous temple, Muktesvara.


Although people call this site as Kedar Gauri Temple as if there is just one temple, it is actually a complex which consists two separate main temples, one is dedicated to Lord Shiva and another is to the Goddess Parvati (in Odisha they pronounce her name as Parbati). There are legends on how the twin temples were constructed by the same king. However, architecturally both the temples were built in two different periods by two different dynasties.


As per the popular legend, there were two lovers who lived in a village near Bhubaneswar in the olden days. The male was named Kedar and the female was named Gauri. As the villager opposed their union, they fled away from their village. On their way, Gauri felt thirsty. Kedar went inside the forest searching for food and water. He was killed by a tiger in the forest. Somehow, Gauri came to know this and she committed suicide by jumping into a pond. The King of Utkal, Lalatendu Keshari, came to know about this story. He built a temple near that pond and named it as Kedar-Gauri temple. Even today, the lovers who want to get married, come to this temple to get the blessing of the deities. 

As per another legend, Lord Shiva wanted to leave Kasi (Varanasi) as that holy city became very noisy. He ordered the saint Narad to find equally holy site for him. He told Shiva about Ekamara Kshetra, the present day Bhubaneswar. Shiva came down to the site and settled down here. However, he did not bring his wife. Later, after her continuous persistence, he brought her also to this site. Thus both Kedar (Shiva) and Gauri (Parvati) settled down in this site.

Kedar Temple:

Kedar temple is one of the two temples in the Kedar Gauri temple complex. The architectural features of this temple resembles with Siddhesvara temple located in Muktesvara temple complex. It was built by the Ganga Kings in the 12th century CE.

The south facing temple enshrines Shiva Linga named as Kedareshwar in the sanctum sanctorum. It has rekha type vimana and pidha type Jagamohana. The temple is pancha ratha on plan and panchanga bada on elevation.

The entrance of the temple has the relief images of Ganesha and Lakshmi. The top portion of the entrance have Navagraha panel.

The interior and exterior are plain. There are Parsva devta (niche) idols found around the exterior wall such as Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati. The Karitikeya idol is found along with a female attendant (probably his  consort?) and peacock.

Gauri Temple:

Gauri temple is the second temple in the complex. It is dedicated to Gauri (Parvati), the consort of Shiva. Although the legends try to associate both the temples, both were built in different periods by different kings. This temple belongs to Somavamsi period (10th century CE) older than Kedar temple. 

The temple enshrines the idol of Goddess Gauri. Unlike the other temple (Kedar) in this complex, the exterior walls of this temple is intricately carved with the sculptures of Nayikas, deities, etc. and designs such as motifs, scroll works, etc. 

The east facing temple has Khakhara deula type vimana and pidha type Jagamohana.

Other Shrines:

The complex also houses three small shrines for Shiva Linga, and three more shrines for red colored 8 feet idol of Hanuman, Durga and red colored idol of Ganesha.

There is a mandapa with all the four sides open which is generally used for Vedic rituals. This hall has few modern day beautiful wall paintings of Shiva, Parvati, Ardhanareeswara, Hari Hara etc.


According to Kapila Samhita, the Hind religious text, a single sip of water from the Khira Kunda tank located in the temple complex would absolve the one from the repeated cycles of birth and death. 

There is another tank in the complex called as Marichi Kunda, which is believed to have power to turn sterile women to conceive. 


Every year during the auspicious day of Shital Shasti, the procession from Linga Raja temple reaches Kedar Gauri temple. The symbolic marriage ritual between the idol of Linga Raja and the idol of Gauri takes place on that day. 

Happy travelling.

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