July 30, 2015

Swarnajalesvara Temple - Bhubaneswar


Site Name: Swarnajalesvara Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Near Parasuramesvar Temple, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: An earlier temple architecture that belongs to the 7th century CE
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. The city is called as Ekamara Kshetra as it has so many Shiva temples. Let us explore a little known but one of the oldest Shiva temples of Bhubaneswar called Swarnajalesvara temple in this article.


Location:

Swarnajalesvara temple is located on the right side of Kotitirthesvar lane leading from Parasuramesvar temple to Bindu Sagar lake. The famous Parasuramesvara temple is around 50 meters from this site.

Introduction:

Swarnajalesvara temple is definitely one of the most beautiful temples of Bhubaneswar. It is unfortunate that people do not care for this treasure. You can find tall concrete houses built around the temple sharing the walls of this temple. Ten years down the line, I am not sure if we could see this temple alive.

The temple is an example for earlier temple architecture in Bhubaneswar. This Shiva temple is one of the oldest temples of the city. It was built by the Sailobhavas. The Sailobhavas are not known much in the history. Let me give a brief overview about this dynasty.

The Sailobhavas ruled over the coastal region of Orissa in the 6th and 7th century CE. Their kingdom was called as Kangoda Mandala. The first ruler was Pulindasena and the last greatest ruler of the dynasty was Dharmaraja. Their rule ended in 736 CE after the Bhaumakaras raised in the coastal Orissa. The Kings of Sailobhavas were the devotees of Lord Shiva. This temple is a rare temple built by them.

This temple must have been built in the first decade of the 7th century CE and is older than the famous Parasuramesvara temple.

Architecture and Temple Layout:

Main Shrine:

Swarnajalesvara temple is a living temple which enshrines Shiva Linga idol. The temple is small with a rekha type vimana. There is no Jagmohana. The vimana as well as the exterior walls of the temple are full of designs and decorations which make this temple as one among the best in Bhubaneswar.

The temple is triratha on plan and triangabada in elevation. A small Nandi is found facing the temple. It is definitely a later addition.

Doorjamb:

The doorjamb has two relief images of small Dwarapalas. The figures of dwarapalas are different from that of other temples of Orissa. Each dwarapala is accompanied by a small figure of male assistant found with his arms folded. The remaining areas in the doorjambs are decorated with floral designs and scroll designs.

Near the entrance, the fragmentary figure of Naga holding a pot (ghata) is found.

Vimana:

The rekha vimana is decorated with many architectural motifs like Vajra mundis, lions, birds and elephants. In the middle of the front side of the vimana vimana, Nataraja image is carved in a big circle with a big lion's face on top of the circular design and two lions on his either sides. He is surrounded probably by few Ganas. The images are in ruined state and not very clear.

Below the Nataraja's panel, there is a big rectangular panel where the images of Shiva's entire family is carved out. Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Nandi and Parvati's mount lion are all found. They are surrounded by lions, Yalis, female figures and Ganas.

Below that, in Gandi there is a floral design in the middle with Brahma and probably Vishnu on either sides. 

Below that the Navagraha panel is found in dilapidated state.

Niche Images:

The exterior walls have three beautiful niche images called as Parsvadevta deities in Orissa. 

Ganesha is the first Parsvadevta. He is found in the sitting posture flanked by two Ganas. Below his feet two small lion figures and two Ganas are found. Above him, there is another small image of Ganesha is found.

Parvati is another Parsvadevta. The image is in ruined state. Her face and many of the features are not clearly seen. She is in the standing posture with four arms and is flanked by two short female attendants. Above her image, many small intricate carvings are found. 

Kartikeya is found as the third niche image. He is found with two arms and is in the sitting posture. His head is damaged completely. His mount peacock is found below his feet. Importantly, two small images of lions are also found along with the peacock. It is rare to find Kartikeya with lions. 

Two more niches surrounded by beautiful design works and carvings are found without any deities.

Other Parts:


The friezes and other parts of exterior walls of the shrine have various other designs and depictions. There is a panel depicting Shiva's marriage with Parvati which is attended by Vishnu and others. There is a panel depicting Shiva Linga pooja. Various aspects of Shiva, scroll works, chaitya motifs, lotus design, Nayikas, Nagas, some epic scenes and mithuna figures are all found on the walls.

Happy travelling.



July 21, 2015

Kotitirthesvara Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Kotitirthesvara Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temples
Location:   Near Parasuramesvar Temple, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: 11th century CE temples built by Somavamshi Kings
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. The city is called as Ekamara Kshetra as it has so many Shiva temples. Let us explore a little known Shiva temple called Kotitirthesvara temple in this article.


Location:

Kotitirthesvara temple is located on the left side of Kotitirthesvar lane leading from Parasuramesvar temple to Bindu Sagar lake.

Architecture and Temple Layout:

Kotitirthesvara temple is a living temple enshrining Shiva Linga idol. The west facing temple was built by the Somavamshi Kings in the 11th century CE. It should be noted that the ASI board in this temple wrongly mentions the period of the temple to 16th to 17th century.

The sanctum sanctorum has rekha type vimana. Originally the temple would have had Jagmohana which is missing today. The temple is pancha ratha on plan.

The temple exterior walls and vimana are plain except for few sculptures of udyotasimha. The entrance has the small relief images of Dwarapalas found along with the river Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna along with their mounts. The top portion of the entrance has the panel of Navagrahas flanked by two Ganas. Below that the relief image of Lakshmi is found.

The temple is located on the banks of the tank Kotitirtha. It is considered as one of five sacred tanks of Bhubaneswar (Pancha tirtha). The other four sacred tanks are Bindu Sagar, Devi Padhara, Papanasini and Ganga Yamuna Kunda.

Happy travelling.


July 16, 2015

Subarna Jaleswara and Sampoorna Jaleswara Temples - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Subarna Jaleswara and Sampoorna Jaleswara Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temples
Location:   Near Parasuramesvar Temple, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: 10th century CE temples built by Somavamshi Kings
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. The city is called as Ekamara Kshetra as it has so many Shiva temples. Let us explore two unknown ancient Shiva temples in Bhubaneswar in this article.

Location:

Subarna Jaleswara and Sampoorna Jaleswara temples are located on the left side of Kotitirtheswar lane leading from Parasuramesvar temple to Bindu Sagar.

Introduction:

The temple complex has two temples. Subarna Jaleswara temple is the first temple once you enter into the complex. Sampoorna Jaleswara temple is located slightly on the backside of the first temple. 

Subarna Jaleswara:

Subarna Jaleswara temple is a living temple enshrining Shiva Linga in the sanctum sanctorum. It got this name due to gold smiths who used to live in this area (Subarna means gold).


The east facing temple was built in the 10th century CE by the Somavamshi Kings

The temple is pancha ratha on plan and pancha anga bada in elevation. The vimana is of rekha type and there is no Jagmohana.

The outer wall is decorated with pilaster design on the bada portion and series of miniature anga sikharas of rekha order on the base part of gandi. The niches are empty without any sculptures.

Above the entrance doors, the Navagraha panel is carved. It is similar to other temples of Bhubaneswar. However, the Navagrahas are flanked by two Ganas which is different. 

Another unique feature of the temple is that two Dwara palas relief images at the entrance are found along with two river Goddesses. They are Yamuna and probably Ganga. Ganga is found along with a female attendant and her mount which is not clearly visible. Yamuna is found along with her mount tortoise. These niche images are identified as later additions.


Facing the main deity outside the sanctum, the stone idol of Nandi is placed. An idol of Goddess Dharini (a formless stone idol with just two eyes), obviously a very recent addition used for the purpose of worship by the local people, is also found in front of the temple. A big Shiva Linga is also found near Dharini.

Sampoorna Jaleswara:

Sampoorna Jaleswara temple is more beautiful than the first temple. It is not a living temple and has no Shiva Linga idol. 

This temple was also built by the Somavamshi Kings in the 10th century CE.

The sanctum sanctorum has rekha order vimana and no Jagmohana. The outer wall is intricately decorated with a lot of design works, scroll works, motifs, lions, Nagas, Naga stambhas, dancing girls, Ganas, etc.

Above the entrance, Surya's face and above that Lord Shiva holding bow and arrow are carved.

When you get a chance to go to Bhubaneswar, do not get satisfied by visiting the popular temples alone. Visit such little known temples also and respect our heritage.

Happy travelling.





July 14, 2015

Uttaresvara Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Uttaresvara Temple 
Site Type: Group of Hindu ancient temples
Location:   Near Ananta Basudev Temple, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: Group of temples built by Bhauma Karas and Soma Vamshis
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. The city is called as Ekamara Kshetra as it has so many Shiva temples. Let us explore one ancient and famous Shaivite site called Uttaresvara group of temples in this article.


Location:

The Uttaresvara group of temples is located on the northern banks of Bindu Sagar Tank around 200 meters from Ananta Basudeva temple. A small tank named Gadavari tank is found near the temple.

Introduction:

Although the site is generally called as Uttaresvara temple, it is not a single temple but a group of temples. This site is popular in Bhubaneswar; however, devotees do not regularly visit the site; it is visited only occasionally during some auspicious days.

The temple complex has Uttaresvara temple, Bhimesvara temple, eight identical temples called Ashtasambhu temples, Godavari tank and one or two dilapidated temples.



Uttaresvara Temple:

Uttaresvara temple is the main temple in this complex. It was built in the 8th century CE by the Bhaumakara Kings. It was renovated in the 19th century CE.

The temple has moola sthan (sanctum sanctorum) enshrining Shiva Linga. It is a living temple. The shrine has rekha type vimana. The Jagmohana has rectangular flat roof. The east facing temple's vimana is tri ratha on plan trianga bada on elevation.

The temple, as it is painted in yellow and red color, partly lost its antique beauty. The temple walls and vimana are almost plain without any decorations.


The exterior walls have beautiful niche images which are called as Parsvadevta in Orissa. Ganesha, Kartikeya and Mahisasur Mardini images are found as the niche deities. Kartikeya is very stylish with his right arm rested on his hip and holding Vel on his left arm. A female attendant or probably his spouse is found nearby. The image of Mahisasura mardini with six arms seems to be a later addition. She rests over the hip of the buffalo faced Mahisasura demon.  

The top portion of the entrance of the temple has Navagraha panel and Gaja Lakshmi panel. Also two Dwarapalas in different posture along with the attendants are found at the entrance.

Bhimesvara Temple:

Bhimesvara temple is located next to Uttaresvara temple in the same complex. This east facing temple is a living temple enshrining Shiva Linga. The sanctum sanctorum has rekha type vimana and Jagmohana has flat rectangular roof. The vimana is tri ratha on plan and trianga bada on elevation.


This temple is also painted in yellow and red color due to which it has lost its antique beauty. The niche images are very beautiful though they appear to be later additions. Ganesha in the sitting posture, Ganesha in the standing posture, Kartikeya along with cock and peacock, Narasimha killing the demon, Parvati with four arms, an unidentified male with two females and another unidentified deity are found as the niche images.

This temple was built by Bhaumakara Kings in the 8th century CE. 

Godavari Tank:

The temple complex has a small tank named Godavari tank. It is a natural spring with an outlet channel leading into Bindu Sagar. 

There is a legend associated with this holy tank. After killing the demons Kirti and Basa, the Goddess Parvati felt thirsty. To quench his wife's thirsty, Lord Shiva struck his trident on earth where a spring (this tank) came out. To make the water holy, he invited all the rivers to enter into the spring. All except Godavari river came. She could not come due to her menstrual cycle. Shiva cursed her water to be impure throughout except on the occasion of Kumbhamela.

Ashta Sambhu Temples:

The temple complex has a cluster of eight identical style and sized temples. They are called as Ashta Sambhu Temples. Five of the temples are arranged in one alignment and are called as Pancha Pandava. All these temples were built by Soma vamshi Kings in the 10th century CE.

All the temples have only sanctum sanctorum with rekha type vimana. Jagmohana is not present. They are all non living temples. The entrance has Navagraha and Gaja Lakshmi panels. They are all pancha ratha on plan and trianga bada in elevation. 

The relief images of dwara palas at the entrance and the empty niches without any deities on the exterior walls are found in all the eight temples.

Happy travelling.


July 9, 2015

Ananta Basudeva Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Ananta Basudeva Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Near Bindu Sagar tank, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: A rare temple dedicated to Vishnu in the city of Shiva 
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 known for Lord Shiva temples and is called as Ekamara Kshetra. There are even so many temples dedicated to Shakti. Let us explore about a rare Vishnu temple in the city of Shiva in this article.

Location:

Ananta Basudeva temple is located on the eastern banks of Bindu Sagar lake, which is a well known landmark in Bhubaneswar. In fact, the lonely Vaishnaivite temple of Bhubaneswar itself is a notable landmark in this city.

Introduction:

Ananta Basudeva temple is pronounced as Ananta Vasudeva temple in the other parts of India. The temple is dedicated to Krishna, his brother Balarama and his sister Subhadra. Ananta is another name of Balarama and Krishna is called as Basudeva (Vasudeva).

It is a notable temple as this is the only popular Vaishnaivite temple in this city, which is called as Ekamra Kshetra and has lot of temples dedicated to Shiva and Shakti.

History:

The temple was built in 1278 CE by Chandrika, daughter of the Gangas King Anaga Bhima III during the reign of her nephew Bhanu Deva I. There is a possibility that the site originally had an ancient temple of Vishnu before 13th century CE.


The nata mandapa and bhoga mandapa appear to be later additions to this temple.

In the 17th century CE, the Marathas also renovated the temple.

Architecture and Temple Layout:

The second biggest temple of Bhubaneswar is facing towards west direction. 

Most of the temples in Bhubaneswar have only garbha griha (sanctum santorum) and Jagmohana. However, this temple has nata mandapa and bhoga mandapa too.

The sanctum sanctorum has rekha type vimana. All other parts of the temple have pidha order. All the parts of the temple are pancha ratha on plan and pancha anga bada in elevation.


In the sanctum sanctorum, the idols of Balarama (Ananta), Krishna (Basudeva) and Subhadra are placed. This is similar to the popular Puri Jagannath temple. However, unlike the Puri temple where the deities are made up of wood, these deities are made of black granite stone. Krishna holds mace, discus, lotus and conch. Subhadra holds lotus and jewels pot and her left foot is placed over another jewel pot. Balarama stands under a seven hooded serpent. 

The temple is definitely one of the most beautiful temples in Bhubaneswar. The exterior walls are intricately designed. It is hard to find even a small portion of the wall which is not decorated. The scroll works, Naga stambhas, dancing girls, elephants, lions, khakharamundi designs, vyala motifs and mithuna images are found across all sides of the walls.

Culture:

The biggest kitchen of Bhubaneswar is present in this temple. The food prepared here is considered as holy (prasad). Even people of Bhubaneswar buy prasad from this temple for the functions and rituals at their home.

Happy travelling.

July 6, 2015

Narayani Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Narayani Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Near Bindu Sagar tank, Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: 7th or 8th century CE Bhaumakara period 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 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 an unknown but beautiful temple named Narayani temple in this article.

Narayani Temple is located in the complex of Bbabani Shankar temple near Mohini Temple and Bindu Sagar. The temple is very small. It has sanctum sanctorum with rekha type vimana and small Jagmohana with pidha.


The north facing temple is square on plan. This small temple is partially submerged and only bada portion is visible nowadays. The vimana has floral and scroll decorations. The temple must have been built in the 7th or 8th century CE and it was built by Bhaumakara Kings.

As it was built by Bhaumakara Kings who were mainly practicising Shakta religion and as it is called as Narayani temple, it must have been a temple of Goddess originally. However, the main deity is not found now. Now, the deities of Ananta Narayana along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi are placed in the sanctorum. Pancha mukha Anjaneya is also found along with the main deity in this temple.

On the compound wall a nice relief image of Shiva and Parvati in the sitting posture along with their mounts Nandi and lion is found. This image itself is very unique.

Happy travelling.