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ORISSA STYLE OF TEMPLE ARCHITECTURE


The temples at Orissa (ancient Kalinga) provide some of the finest examples of the Indo-Aryan style of temple architecture, which is distinct from the South Indian style. The generic name of the Orissa temples is deul, which has in its front a square building or assembly hall called jagamohan, which corresponds to the mandapa. These two edifices combine to form the essentials of an Orissan temple. Later other structures like the Nat-Mandir or Dancing Hall and Bhog Mandir or Hall of Offerings were added to the temple structure. The lower and the upright portion of the deul is called the bada, the tall middle portion is called chhapra, the flat fluted disc at the summit is called amla and its finial is called kalasa. The Orissan temples as a whole are of the astylar order, pillars being notable by their absence.

The Orissan temples are divided into three groups: (a) Early Period (c.750-900 A.D.) e.g. Parashurameshwar and Lakshmanesvara temples at Bhubaneshwar, (b) Middle Period (c.900-1100 A.D.) e.g. Mukteshwara and Lingaraja temple at Bhubaneshwar and Jagannath temple at Puri and (c) Later Period (c.1100-1250 A.D.) e.g. raja Rani Temple at Bhubaneshwar and the Sun Temple at Konark. The main group of temples is concentrated in Bhubaneshwar, which is known as the "Temple City of India". The Lingaraja Temple, built in the 11th century, is the finest of the 600-odd temples of Bhubaneshwar. The Mukteshwara Temple built in the 10th century is richly sculpted and is well known for its stone arch at the entrance and extensive carvings of the tales from the Panchatantra. The temple is a magnificent example of Orissa Architecture. The Rajarani temple, the Parsurameshwara temple, the Svarnajaleswara temple, the Vaital temple and the Yogini temple are the other renowned temples in Bhubaneshwar.

A few miles from this temple town are two of the largest buildings in eastern India, the temple of Jagannath at Puri and the Sun temple at Konark. The 12th century Jagannath temple at Puri is known for its annual Rath Yatra. The grandest achievement of the Orissan School of Architecture is the Sun temple at Konark (c. 1250 AD). The temple, dedicated to Surya, is fashioned like a ratha (chariot) with the base of the structure having 12 giant wheels, each nearly ten feet high. The entire surface is filled out with sculpted forms of outstanding beauty, some of which are of a markedly erotic character. These indicate the emergence of a particular phase of Hinduism, better known as Tantrism. Though much of this structure is now in ruins, its sheer grandeur and size still inspires awe.
      


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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