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Thursday 26 January 2023

Odisha’s Rajarani Temple: Symbol Of Love

The Raja Rani temple

The contribution of ancient rulers of Odisha towards development of Hindu style temples has been unbelievable. Paying their homage to Lord Shiva in various forms, they have built magnificent temples during various periods. In fact, Bhubaneshwar is dubbed as a City of Temples with its immortal Kalinga style of architecture. And if you are on a visit to this beautiful temple city, try to see as many as possible as each is a poetry in stone.
The entrance

Since my visit to Bhubaneswar was personal and a chance to see the wonderland of Chilika Lake, I decided to explore the Kalinga style of temples in this ancient city and dropped in to see a few temples with Rajarani being one of them. Enclosed in a beautiful and spacious garden with lots of spaces to relax on a weekend, this temple usually sees many couples hanging out in its verdant gardens. I chose to how ever soak in in the exquisitely carved temple.

Side View

This is a temple with unique architecture dating back to 11th century and is said to be a prototype for many temples built in central India like the Khajuraho. Built on a raised platform, the temple has a sanctum (Vimana) with a raised tower that goes almost up to 60 feet and a viewing hall (Jagamohana) with a small, dome-like pyramidal roof. 

No deities in the temple

The Kalinga style is usually true for temples built in Odisha where it is divided into two parts. But in later years, two more parts have been added to temples – a festival hall (Nata Mandapa) and a hall for offerings (Bhoga Mandapa). However, the Rajarani temple with its two parts is bereft of any images of gods and goddesses, and there is nothing to view inside the temple.
Main Entrance to the temple

Since the temple is built of dull red and yellow sandstone, in local parlance, it is known as Rajarani temple. It is good to relax in one corner of the temple complex and take a good look at the temple structure and its wonderful wall carvings. Afterwards if you are really interested, it is better to go round the temple once or twice to see the high reliefs that are simply outstanding.
The Dwarapalikas

As we enter the temple, we are struck by the amazing figures of dwarpalas (doorkeepers) and Nagins at the projected entrance. There is a presence of Shaivite doorkeepers at the entry and the image of Lakulisa (founder of Shaivism) on the lintel along with Nataraja and Parvathi on the platform. This has led to the belief that this is a Shiva temple although no images are found inside. An image of a prominent lion sits atop the top part of Jagamohana entry point as if guarding the door.

Finely carved deities, apsaras, women on temple walls

More about this temple is in Part II. Please join me there.
How To Reach There?
It is in the heart of Bhubaneswar city on Tankapani Road in Rajarani Colony. It is about four kilometers from the airport and 3.9 kms from the Bhubaneswar railway station. Preserved by the ASI, entry to the temple site is ticketed (Rs 25 per person) and it remains open from 6.30 am to 7.30 pm on all the 7 days.


S.U.Revati Chandran said...

Very nice article mam 👌👏

Anonymous said...

Superb article with detailed information.
B k prasad