December 16, 2015

Kapilesvara Shiva Temple Complex - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Kapilesvara Temple Complex
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: Group of ancient temples; arguably the birthplace of Buddha
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 a very important temple of Bhubaneswar, Kapilesvara temple. It is equally prominent as Lingaraja temple. 


The Kapilesvara temple complex is located in the end of Kapilesvara Road leading from Lingaraja temple to Kapilesvara village. Kapilesvara village is in the outskirts of Bhubaneswar city. 


The Kapilesvara temple complex is as important as Lingaraja temple in Bbubaneswar. There are about 34 small and big temples or other type of monuments located in this complex. The main temple of the complex is Kapilesvara Shiva temple. Till the middle of 20th century CE, this temple was acting as the centre of social, political and educational activities in Bhubaneswar. 


As per the legend, Kapilesvara village is the birth place of the sage Kapila Rishi. He was one of the founders of Sankhya school of thought. He was considered as the avatar of Lord Vishnu. Hence, the village as well as the temple are sacred places for Hindus.


There are many historians and scholars who strongly believe that Kapilesvara village is the original Kapilavastu, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha. There are many research papers written about this.

The main temple, Kapilesvara temple was built by the Suryavamsi king Kapilendra Deva in the 14th century CE. However, based on the architectural sculptural fragments found in the temple, it is believed that the original temple must belong to 11th century CE. 

Temple Layout:

There are around 34 small and big shrines and monuments in the complex. Let me provide details as far as possible.


The temple has two entrances. Both these inner and outer entrances have the sculptures of lions on either sides. The outer entrance has a pyramidal shaped roof.

Kapilesvara Shiva Temple:

Kapilesvara Shiva temple is the main temple in the entire complex. It enshrines Shiva Linga with a very large base. Few bas relief images of deities related to Shaivism are also found in the main shrine. The temple has vimana, Jagamohana, nata mandir and bhoga mandapa. The vimana is of rekha order, jagamohana is of pidha order and the remaining two halls are flat roofed. The temple is pancha ratha on plan and panchangabada in elevation. 

The outer walls have the niche images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati. 

At the doorjambs, the images of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna as well as the dwarapalas are found. 

The temple was built in the 14th century CE by the Suryavamsi Gajapati ruler Kapilendradeva

Bada Kua:

Bada Kua is a square shaped rock-cut well. It belongs to the period of Ganga Kings (14th century CE). Few niche images such as Varaha and Vishnu are found in the well. 

Bhaskaresvara Temple

Bhaskaresvara Shiva temple had a vimana of pidha order. It is a living temple enshrining Shiva Linga. It was built by the Somavamsi rulers in the 10th or 11th century CE. 

Baidyanath Temple

Baidyanath Shiva temple is a small temple within the complex. It was built in the 18th century CE.

Beharana Mandapa

Beharana Mandapa was built in the 18th century CE. It has a wooden ceiling which is carved with various designs and decorations.

Ghantesvara Shiva Temple

Ghantesvara Shiva temple has a vimana of pidha order and it is triratha on plan.

Guptesvara Shiva Temple

Guptesvara Shiva temple was built in the 14th or 15th century CE. It has a pidha vimana. It was built by Gajapati rulers. It is triratha on plan and triangabada in elevation.

Hazara Mandapa

Hazara Mandapa is a mandapa with sixteen pillars. It was constructed in the 13th century CE.

Kalika Shiva Temple

The 11th century period Kalika Shiva temple enshrines Shiva Linga. 

Lakshmi Narayan Temple

The idols of Vishnu along with his consort Lakshmi seated on his lap are found in this temple. The vimana of this temple is of pidha order. 

Siddhesvara Shiva Temple

The 15th century period temple has Shiva Linga as the deity. It was built by the Gajapati rulers. The vimana is of pidha order. It is pancharatha on plan and panchangabada in elevation. It has niche images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati.

Vishnu Temple

This 15th century period Vishnu temple has two images of Vishnu and the images of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Buddha.

Somabaresvara Shiva Temple

This temple has vimana of pidha order and it is tri ratha on plan. The presiding deity is Shiva Linga. 

Chakresvara Shiva Temple

This temple belongs to the 10th or 11th century CE and was built by Somavamsi rulers. It has a vimana of pidha order. It is triangabada in elevation. 

Dakshina Kali Temple

This 14th or 15th century CE period temple was built by Somavamshi rulers. Probably, it might have been built by Kapilesvara, the same king who built the main temple.The presiding deity is four armed Kali. 

 It has a rekha vimana. The temple has a pancharatha vimana and saptaratha Jagamohana. 

Dula Devi Temple

This temple enshrines the four armed Mahisasuramardini killing the demon Mahisa in the buffalo form. This was built by the Bhoi rulers in the 18th century CE. 

Dutiya Kapilesvara Temple

This temple enshrines Shiva Linga. It was built by the Suryavamsi Gajapati rulers in the 15th century CE. It has a pidha vimana and flat roofed jagamohana. 
Jaresvara Shiva Temple

This temple belongs to the 16th century CE and was built by the Gajapati rulers. The temple enshrines Shiva Linga as the deity. The temple is pancharatha on plan and panchangabada in elevation. The vimana is of pidha order.
Shaneesvara Shiva Temple

This temple enshrines Shiva Linga and it belongs to 12th century CE. It was built by the Ganga Kings. the temple is triratha on plan and triangabada in elevation. It has a rekha vimana. 

What I have covered is not the complete account of the shrines. There are many more sub-shrines throughout the temple. Many of them are dedicated to Shiva Linga. Throughout the temple there are many Shiva Linga idols in different sizes with or without shrines. There are other notable sub-shrines for deities like Durga, Kali with Shiva on her foot, Surya with his seven horses and others. There are new marble idols such as Ram-Sita-Lakshman, Radha-Krishna and others. There is also a big tank situated within the temple premises.

Happy travelling.

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