Bhubaneswar Muktesvara Temple




Mukteshvara Temple is a 10th-century Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. The temple dates back to 950–975 CE and is a monument of importance in the study of the development of Hindu temples in Odisha. The stylistic development the Mukteswar marks the culmination of all earlier developments, and initiates a period of experiment which continues for an entire century, as seen in such temples as the Rajarani Temple and Lingaraj temple, both located in Bhubaneswar. It is one of the prominent tourist attractions of the city.
The Mukteshvara Temple is found to be the earliest work from the Somavamshi period. Most scholars believe the temple is the successor to Parashurameshvara Temple and built earlier to the Brahmeswara Temple (1060 CE). Percy Brown puts the date of construction of the temple to 950 CE. The presence of a torana, which is not part of any other temple in the region, makes this temple unique and some of the representations indicate the builders were starters of a new culture. K.C. Panigrahi places the temple to be built during 966 CE and postulates that the Somavamshi king Yayati I built the temple. He also associates the legend of Kirtivassa to this temple, but the postulation is not accepted as Kirtivasa is associated with Lingaraja, though both were built at the same time for the same deity, Shiva. There is no historic evidence to conclude that Yayati had built the temple.
This architecture is one of the basic reasons why Mukteshvara Temple is also known as the “Gem of Odisha architecture”. The temple faces west and is constructed in a lower basement amidst a group of temples. The pyramidal roof to the jagamohana present in the temple was the first of its kind over the conventional two tier structure. The temple is a small one compared to other larger temples in Bhubaneswar. The temples is enclosed within an octagonal compound wall with elaborate carvings on it. It is believed that the experiment of newer pattern in the temple showed a mature phase compared to its predecessors and culminated the beginning of replication of similar pattern in the later temples in the city. The temple has a porch, called torana, which acts as the gateway to the octagonal compound. The temple has two structures namely, the vimana (structure above the sanctum) and a mukhasala, the leading hall, both of which are built on a raised platform. The temple is the earlies to be built in pithadeula type.

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