November 28, 2015

Bharatesvara Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Bharatesvara Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: Architecturally beautiful ancient temple
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 an ancient and little known temple named Bharatesvara temple in this article.


Bharatesvara temple is located at a distance of around 2 kms from Lingaraja temple. It is located on the right side of the road leading from Kalpana square to Lingaraja temple. It is one of the three temples located in the same complex. It is located opposite to Ramesvara temple. 


Bharatesvara temple is one of the very ancient temples in Bhubaneswar. There are three temples located in the same complex and they are all located opposite to Ramesvara temple. The other temples that are located in the complex apart from Bharatesvara temple are Lakshmanesvara temple and Shatrughanesvara temple.


As per the legend, after winning over the demon Ravan, Ram and Sita were back to Ayodhya. The sage Vashishta asked Ram to worship Shiva. Ram chose Bhubaneswar for the same. He installed one Shiva Linga, which is present in the form of Ramesvara. His brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna also installed Shiva Linga idols in a row opposite to the one installed by Ram. Later, three temples were built for those deities and were named after who installed the Linga as Lakshmanesvara, Bharatesvara and Shatrughnaesvara.


The temple was built by the Sailodbhavas in the later part of 6th century CE. This temple is an example earliest Kalingan temple architecture style.

Temple Layout:

The west facing Bharatesvara temple is the second temple in the Lakshmanesvara group of temples. It is located in the middle among the three temples. 

Few years ago, all the three temple were just a heap of rubble. All the temples were renovated by the State Archaeology Department. Bharatesvara temple is now partially reconstructed with several blocks of plain stone. Only very few original sculptures are left in the Vimana and walls. Hence, it is not possible to get a holistic idea about the architectural and sculptural style of the temple. 

The temple is a living temple enshrining Shiva Linga idol with Nandi idol facing towards the deity. The temple is tri ratha by plan and trianga bada in elevation. It has a rekha vimana.

The doorjambs have the beautiful sculptures of Dwarapalas and are decorated with ornate scrollworks. The lintel above the doorjambs is decorated with a frieze depicting the capture of wild elephants.  Apart from this only very few sculptures like Lakulisa are present in the current structure of the temple.

Happy travelling.

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