Lesser known Bhubaneswar Temples - Part 1 (Odisha)

In this list I’m missing the very famous Lingaraja Temple and also I’m skipping the post on the very famous temple in Puri of Jagannath. My first stop in Bhubaneswar was Ananta Vasudev Temple. However before actually entering Ananta Vasudev, I spotted a tiny little temple in a garden close to where vehicles to Ananta Vasudev had to stop. This was the Taleswara Temple.

This temple is just a single room, tiny temple and almost in ruins. However certain panels here were really stunning and today this is under Archaeological Survey of India. The most important giveaway to the age of the Orissan temples is the Navagraha in the lintel of Sanctum Sanctorum’s door. Temples built in 6th - 9th C CE have only 8 depicted (kethu missing). Here too, it is so! On the walls are standing Ganesha, standing Karthikeya (complete with his spear, peacock & rooster), and Ekapada murthy etc.

Opposite end of the road here took me to Uttareswara Temple. This is located in the shores of the Bindu Sagar waterbody making this temple a very suitable one for Tharpanam (annual memorial for deceased ancestors). This is the perfect temple to begin with, to understand the architecture of Orissan temples! This belongs to the 9-11th C CE. The architecture is spot on but with hardly any sculptural detailing on it.  

From here, I headed to the Ananta Vasudev Temple. The Bhoga was getting prepared there and I began to get hungry inspite of having had my breakfast! Yes, Bhoga is the rice, lentils and vegetables mixed one pot meal made as an offering to God! One entire side of the temple was dedicated to cooking. There were pots and pots of cut vegetables, soaked lentils etc and loads of firewood. This was so interesting that I forgot to look to the other side at the architecture of the temple!

This is the only important temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Bhubaneswar (Jagannath temple is in Puri). This was built in 1278 CE, by Bhanudeva, grandson of Anangabhima III, at the instance of Chandradevi, his aunt! The sanctum sanctorum has Balarama (Ananta), Krishna (Vasudeva) and Subhadra. 
Originally it had only the deul and jagmohana. The rest are later additions. There are quite a few friezes and sculptures including, Parsva Devatas, Trivikrama and 4 armed Varaha etc., though not as complicated as Lingaraja. It’s a perfect place to understand the magnificence after Uttareswara Temple before heading to huuuuge and sculpturally complex temples. 

From here, my next stop was Sari Deul and Sukasari Deul located just next to each other. These 2 were totally under restoration. More than calling it restoration, it should be termed excavation. A portion of the temple has gone under what’s ground level today. So it actually requires climbing down to see the sculptural detail in the Bada. 

This has quite a bit of erotic sculptures among the temples seen so far in Bhubaneswar. The sculptures in the lower section are pretty much intact, inadvertedly due to being submerged! Beyond this, the entire area is just splattered with so many temples incl Chitrakarini Deul and the tiny little Daiteswara Deul without any detailing on it, just beside a kiosk where I stopped for tea!!!

Quite unlike the architecture of these temples, there was one more - Vaital Duel! This is also called the Kapalini Temple. This is an 8th C Temple, built by Bhaumakaras and its believed to be used for tantric worship. This is the only Bhubaneswar temple with a Khakara architecture (Deul with an oblong plan, bada with pilasters and wagon roof & a flat roofed Jagmohana). 


This temple is a sculptural beauty. It did take a couple hours for me to get out of here. It’s literally a beauty in a nutshell (tiny temple with a lot in it)! Some of the sculptures include 4 armed Ardhanarishwara, Lakulisa, 4 armed Siva, 4 armed Parvathi, 8 armed Mahishasura Mardhini at 2 places, Harihara, 10 armed Nataraja, Surya with Usha & Pratyusha, and a few Shalabanjikas (women holding trees) and Nagas (half snake half human beings)!!! The sanctum sanctorum has an 8 armed Chamunda aka Kapalini. She is fierce looking Goddess seated on a corpse accompanied by an owl & jackel, wearing a garland of skulls with sunken eyes & belly! Other sculptures in the sanctum sactorum include Virabadhra, 6 of Sapthamathrika, Bhairava etc.

Today the temple is kinda surrounded with several private and commercial properties, which means, the back wall of some of the sides are actually in a private property!!! I did manage to squeeze myself through a tiny space between a fence and the temple wall to get to the back of the temple to see the sculptures there which was the backyard of a local bakery, much to the annoyance of a few workers who were baking some yummy, fresh buns there!!!!!

To Stay:
Hotels at all price points available in Bhubaneshwar.
The nearest hotel run by Orissa Tourism Development Cooperation (OTDC) is Panthanivas Bhubaneshwar. The prices here begin at ₹2100 for AC double room incl breakfast & lobby wifi.

To Get There:
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
On Google Maps: Taleswara, Uttareswara, Ananta Vasudev, Sari & Sukasari Deul, Vaital Deul

Here's a tip: While the temples mentioned here are pretty cool, both Lingaraja Temple & Jagannath temple are very strict. No gadgets are allowed inside. Small handbags are allowed for women, but that's it!  There are small paid toilets just outside both these temples, so carry change! No leather is allowed, so you may want to reconsider those leather wallets & belts... Like any other Hindu temples footwear isn't allowed in any of the places.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

18 comments:

  1. indeed this looks like a sculptural beauty...
    kudos for detailing it with words and pics

    ReplyDelete
  2. I visited Bhubaneshwar a couple of years back. The temple trail too so much time that I ditched Nandan Kanan altogether. This blog brought back the memories.

    ReplyDelete
  3. One of the most fascinating things about India are all your temples there. This post illustrates perfectly how old they are and the stories behind them. Never been in a Hindu temple, so didn't know about now wearing shoes or leather goods. Thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been to many temples in South India but never been to Orissa. I love temples with nice sculpted walls and pillars. Temples from Bubaneswar are so grand with intricate work. Anant vasudev temple looks beautiful. These temples are from 6th Century which is marvellous. Hopefully government should restore Taleswar temple.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I truly like this ancient and a bit mystical look of this temple. I didnt make it so far to India but I saw so many impressive photos and heard stories about this temples. Just by looking at all these countless details in the sculptures I could spend hours... Great impressions from such a hidden jewel!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am amazed of the detail that these temples still have. I love wandering through the lesser known trails and even though you were not alone, it seems like it was not that crowded. I think my favourite would be Sari Deul, simple yet beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You've photographed these temples in such detail.
    I'm impressed not only that you know every detail but that you went around the back of one which now belongs to a bakery. It would have been funny if they offered you some bread! Thats an interesting fact that no leather is allowed in but I understand why.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's always a pleasure discovering more about my own country through your blog posts. It's also so important to feature the small and "lesser known" places as they not only deserve being noticed, but introduce visitors to a different more unique side of the country. The temples looks amazing and the art and architecture are definitely works of wonder.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've always been intrigued by the architecture in this country. This temple is no different. The level of detail and sculpture are outstanding!

    ReplyDelete
  10. There is so much of detail here. So many stories etched in stone. The Navagraha bit was as interesting as those erotic ones as well as I can see stories from the Dashavataar. Lovely lovely temples

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, thank you so much for providing such incredible information and finding temples to visit off the tourist trail. I love the look of Taleswara Temple. The yellow and all the etched details are so beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh wow the Uttareswara Temple looks absolutely sumptuous! Thanks for providing details on how to visit including by rail and air! I really loved your tips at the end too - not being allowed to wear leather items is something I would not have known or thought of!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Kapalini Temple sounds intriguing - what history this place would have seen over the years since it was built in the 8th century! The overall details of the temples here look incredible and so detailed. What a great guide to all the temples.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow these temples are so intricate. I especially love all the carvings. Where artful olace to visit. BHUBANESWAR is definitely on my list now.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow the details of these temples are just unreal. I wish they still built things like this these days... With the technology we have now, wouldnt it be easier?! So cool and such a helpful guide. Going to pin it for later!

    ReplyDelete
  16. These are lesser know temples, I hadn't even heard of Bhubaneswar. I would love to explore the town and the temples. It would be interesting to see them performing the restoration work, such a delicate job. I don't think I'd have the patience to do it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. The details of this temple are incredible! Im surprised at how many erotic sculptures there are. Ive always thought these places would be more conservative. That Bhoga looks delicious too!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Odisha is known for it's temples and Bhubaneswar is know as the city of temples. There are many other temples like Raja Rani temple, Ram Mandir apart from Lingaraj temple which are also very famous. There is also a leaning temple in Odisha(Sambalpur) (google it, it's quite fascinating).

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...!
Why not leave a comment.?
And tell your friends..!!!

cookieassistant.com