Raja Rani Temple Bhubhaneshwar

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2014

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Raja Rani Temple is a small but lavishly designed designed temple in the city of Bhubaneswar. U see an overview of temple. It is attributed to mid 11th century a.d. In centre is the Deul along with a cluster of miniature Rekhas around the spire, resembling Khajuraho temples. This temple is remarkable for its sculptural excellence particularly the elegant DIGPALAKAS and slender, sophisticated Nayikas. The name Rajarani is believed to have come from a particular type of sandstone ie locally known as Rajarani. Caption from board outside temple.

Board outside temple. Formerly known as a shrine of Indreshwar Shiva, the temple is without a deity but the presence of Saivite doorkeepers etc indicate its association with Saivism. The temple stands on a plinth that consists of 3 mouldings. Area surrounding garden consists of a huge garden ie very well maintained.

Front view of temple. Entrance are two Nag Kanyas with elephant below. Centre is sculpture of Lakulisa on the lintel of entrance above which is the architrave of Navagrahas. Wish Orissa Tourism keeps a guide there atleast during peak tourist season to explain various aspects of temple architecture.

Close view of Nag Kanya. Centre is face of woman, above is snake hood and lower part is that of a snake. Lady holds a necklace in her hand. Temple building in Bhubhneswar peaked between the 7-12th century around the Bindu Sagar, earning the city title of ''The City of Temples''. The city is also called The Kashi of the East.

Side view of the temple against the early morning sun. Missed clicking scenes of marriage of Siva, Nataraja, Parvati.

Balustrade windows on either side of the temple. On either side of pic lions sitting on elephant. Observe closely u will notice that plain unsculptured stone is put at various places. Given the sculptural excellence of Orissa temples sure there was sculptured work before.

A side view of temple sphire. U can see sculptures of various nayikas. In centre empty spaces that you see surely had images of Gods/Goddesses earlier.

Close ups of some talk and slender Nayikas. This nayika is holding branch of a tree. This collection also has pics of Bhaskaresvara and Meghesvar temples.

Animal has body of a horse, face/claws of a lion and standing on a elephant. In the 15th century, the Muslims raided the city and razed all but a few of the temples.

Indra (lord of the East) holding a thunderbolt and an elephant goad. Please correct if wrong. To read about temple on Orissa Tourism site Click here

The potbellied and bearded Agni (southeast), god of fire. Please correct if wrong. Also see images of ''Yama (South) holding a staff and a noose, with his vehicle the buffalo and Nirriti (southwest), the god of misery, holds a severed head and a sword above a prostrate figure; Varuna (West) holding a noose in his left hand, his vehicle is makara or the crocodile; Vayu (northwest) holding a banner and his vehicle is deer; Kubera (North) placed above seven jars of gems, he has a horse and Isana (northeast) shown with an erect phallus by the side of an emaciated figure.''

A view of the temple from the southern site. Temple sphire is 18 metres high. Note plinth at lower level, sculptures followed by miniature Rekha temples.

Close up of the area between the plinth and the nayikas ka sculptures. This design is on the west, south and north sides though the design varies in each side.

A close up of mini temple with nag kanya on either side. Lower level has a sculpture of lifting a mountain. Could be Lord Krishna lifting Govardhan hill near Vrindavan. To see pics of Govardhan Parikrima Click here

Sculpture on temple wall shows warrior on horse with elephant below. It is a 10-15 walk from Mukteswara Temple. To see pics of temple Click here

Sculpture of another Nayika on western side of temple.

Side view of sculptures on north western side of temple. Even though damaged still impressive.

View of the ANGASIKHARAS or miniature Rekha temples. To know similarity with Kandariya Mahadeva temple Khajuraho see pics Click here

View of top part of spire. Wonder what the image in top centre of pic represents. It is nearly a 1000 years old.

Another image of a nayika. To know more about temple visit Archaeological Dept of India site Click here

Slightly ahead of the Rajarani temple is the Bhaskaresvara temple ie attributed to 13-14th century a.d. Unlike other temples in Bhubhaneswar that are virtually on ground level , this temple has a high plinth.

Pandit inside temple. On his right is a huge Linga, over 6 feet tall. Temple attracts a number of devotees.

I just loved the temple design so showcasing one more pic of angle view. Looks so elegant and majestic - well designed.

Overview of Megheswar Temple attributed to 12-13th century a.d. Note Nandi in front of temple. Earlier Nandi used to be inside temple as you will see in this Shiv Temple in Bastar district, pic no 9. Click here and also in Aihole Temples Karnataka pic no 36 Click here

Entrance to temple, has Nag Kanyas on either side of entrance and Navagrahas in top centre of pics - similar to Rajarani temple.

View of the spire from the I think south side of temple.

Close up of the goddess situated at the bottom of the spire shown in the earlier pic.

Close up of top portion of temple sphire. Bottom of pic huge sculpture is Kirtimukha (to ward away evil spirits). It is found in most temples across the country. To see pics of Pattachitra Paintings Click here