The 'Gem of Orissan Architecture' is the only phrase that goes well with Mukteswara Temple. Located in Bhubaneshwar, Mukteshwara Mandir is the best temple in the capital city of Orissa. The architectural temple can be reached easily from Bhubaneshwar, which is well-connected to other cities by air, rail and road. Built in 950 A.D, Mukteswara temple is literally a dream realized in sandstone. The temple is said to be the structure, where sculpture and architecture are in synchronization with one another.
Mukteswara Mandir is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is considered as the most complex Lord amongst the Hindu Gods. The term 'Mukteswara' suggests "Lord who gives freedom through Yoga" and this fact is further empowered by the sculptural images embraced in the temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Muketeswara, the entire temple is imprinted with figures of ascetics in different poses of meditation.
Inside the complex, there are several small shrines that comprise numerous lingams of Lord Shiva. The sculptural embellishment of the temple boasts of the sagacity of proportion and perspective of the artisans. It also portrays their distinctive talent in the accurate delineation of the minutest things. One more interesting feature about the temple is that it has got a well in its eastern part. It is believed that a dip in this holy well cures the problem of infertility.
The structure of temple represents the transition point between the initial and later phases of the Kalinga School of Temple Architecture. At this juncture of time, the construction was done by combining many elements of the old style with new designs and notions. Many improvements were made to the old patterns and then, these changes became the essential features of the later temples. Due to this fact, Mukteswara came to be known as "harbinger of the new culture".
Even though, the temple spire rises only to the height of 35 feet, yet the plethora of sculptural work makes it all the more fascinating. The temple is not colossal in its size that became the regular feature in the later ages. In the temple complex, the 'Jagamohana' or porch is truly worth-mentioning. Here, diamond shaped latticed windows in the way to sculptured doorway adorns the site. Around these latticed windows, one can see images of monkeys engrossed in several jovial and humorous scenes that are imbibed from the Panchatantra tales.
The exquisitely carved 'Torana' (arched doorway) captures the main attraction with its rich decorations that suggest the influence of Buddhism in Orissa. On the exteriors of compound wall, one can see variety of divinities in the alcoves. Here, the image of Saraswati can be seen in a sitting posture flanked by two female attendants. Lord Ganesha is imprinted with his mount of mouse. Another image is of Lakulisha, who was the founder of the Pashupata sect of tantric Shaivism.
On the convoluted horseshoe shaped 'chaitya' arch, there is an image of fabled lion head with open jaws, served by attendants. Later, this type of image was imprinted in various temples of Orissa. Mukteswara Temple is a site of Indian Heritage and this exotic shrine attracts many devotees & tourists to its doorway round the year.
Location : Bhubaneshwar, Orissa
Built in : 950 A.D
Dedicated to : Lord Shiva
Attraction : Gem of Orissan Architecture