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Mukteswara Temple


Mukteswara Temple

Rightly acclaimed as ‘the gem of Odishan architecture’ the Mukteswar temple at Bhubaneswar is indisputably one of the most refined and beautiful temples in Odisha on account of its elegant proportions, vibrant texture of its surface treatment and special features in architectural conception and innovation. With its small dimension (ht. 10.51 mt.) and red stone masonry it marks the transition point between the earlier groups and later standardized temples. Having a fully developed pancharatha plan for the sanctum proper and a square planned jagamohana with an incipient pidha superstructure in the shape of a stepped pyramid its every inch of the exterior is carved with delicate and distinct but integrally linked carvings such as clear cut lacings of the chaitya windows. Added to this, the rounding of edges of the pagas give the temple contour a softened look.

Both the temple and the porch stand on a low plinth surrounded by a low wall with offset projections and sculptured exterior facing the west. It has the unique distinction of having a magnificent arched gateway (torana) fronting the entrance through the compound wall. In addition, this temple is one of the two temples at Bhubaneswar to have a carved ceiling inside the jagamohana in the shape of an inverted full blown lotus. The repertoire of sculptures on the temple walls include cult deities, beautiful nayika figures, secular sculptures, intricate geometrical and floral designs, gracious naga and nagi columns etc. Set in the vicinity of other smaller shrines around this temple is a must for all visitors to the place.