Wednesday, May 23, 2018

'Chitrakarini Temple, Bhubaneswar, India' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

 One place you must go before you  die is Odisha and visit Lord Jagannath's Temple at Puri, Konark Temple at Konark and and Lord Lingraj Temple at Bhubaneswar.

How ever Bhubaneswar is not a one temple town. There are more than a thousand old temples, in various stages of repair and disrepair in Bhubaneswar. Ever few hundred metres you would come across a temple. The sheer grandeur of Lingraj temple attracts most of the attention and one tends to ignore other temples- each an architectural gem in itself.
 Source of the above: Google maps

I visited Bhubaneswar in January 2017 and visited one such temple-  the Chitrakarini temple.

This Kalinga Nagara style temple is well preserved small lawn. It is being maintained by the  Archeological Survey of India (ASI). Lingaraj and Chtrakarini temples share a common boundary wall and one can have a panoramic view of the former from here.

Built in 13th century CE, the rich stone carvings depicting flowers, creepers, erotic couples, dancers, lions controlling elephants adorns the outer walls of the shrine. The main shrine is surrounded by four subsidiary small shrines in four corners. Chamunda is the presiding deity of the min shrine and Shaktism is the conduct of worship followed at this shrine.
The Chitrakarini temple, with four subsidiary shrines at the corners, is of the 'Panchayatana' (five-shrined) type, the whole group enclosed by a compound-wall. It is built on a low undecorated platform with projections, it is 'Pancha-Ratha' on plan, with a division of the corner 'Ratha' all through.

The decoration of the roof of the 'Jagamohana' is a departure from the established type; the 'Pidhas' are arranged in two tiers as usual, but on each tier there is a row of replicas of the pyramidal roof, one on each projection.
Two of the friezes, both of them depicted on the lintels of the non-functional banister windows of the 'Jagamohana', deserve special attention; the one on the south side depicts a marriage, probably of Shiva and Parvati, while that on the north shows Krishna playing on his flute amidst his enchanted followers and cattle listening with rapt attention. Of the three overhanging mouldings above the south lintel, the highest is prominent for a procession counting riders on camels.

Do not miss the camels and the implication of this depiction, as camels are not found in Odisha. 

Intricate stone work

An old 1890 photo of the Chitrkarini Temple by William Temple Cornish (Source: British Library)
(Text with inputs from the internet)

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