Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Raja Rani Temple




Bhubaneshwar, Orissa



The temple is sculpted with graceful feminine figures.

Best time to visit


October and March

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Called as the land of temples, Orissa houses several temples with delineation of religious architecture and, Rajarani temple is one among them. It is situated towards the north-east of Lingaraj temple. Also known as 'love temple', Raja Rani temple has aesthetically endearing, sculpted with graceful feminine figures. It is famous for its ornate deul (tower), decorated with some of the most impressive Orissan temples sculptures. The name is related to the beautiful red and golden sandstone used in its construction, locally known as Rajarani. 

Built between the 10th and 11th century, it was earlier known as Indreshwara Temple, which was dedicated to Lord Shiva. The richly illustrated themes from Shiva and Paravati's lives indicates that it might have been a Shaivitie temple. 

 In 1903, the temple was renovated after it was dilapidated. Set amidst in an open paddy fields and surrounded by blooming flowers, the temple looks grace and elegant. One of the best example of Kalinga architecture, it is an embodiment of architectural stylishness and beauty. Each day hundreds of people visit the temple. One of the noticeable thing about the temple is that the temple has no deity so no one offers prayers here. 

The temple stands on a raised platform. The temple has clusters of turrets, a sanctum and beautiful sculptures. Its interior and exterior surfaces are so recessed that it appears circular. The square sanctum is reminiscent of the later temple built in Puri. The temple has various marvelous sculptures adorning the walls of the deul which are alive and energetic. The magnificent Jagmohan (porch) is raised above a three molded platform. It is extremely plain, and was repaired in 1903 after having fallen down in ruins. The deul stands diagonal to the severely plain jagamohana. The lower portion of the deul is spectacularly ornate which is occupied by sculptures of eight Dikpals standing from the entrance in a clockwise order. This the most striking feature of Raja Rani temple. The sculptures of Dikpalas (the Guardians of the Eight Directions-Yama (South), Nritti (southwest), Varuna (west), Kubera (north), Ishana (northeast) and Indra (east) ) project from the base of the temple to eight different directions. Of these the Agni and the Varuna are most impressive.  

The other major attractions of the temple are the wonderful carvings of the female figures illustrated in amorous poses and moods such as women in dance poses, women carrying children, holding branches of trees,  looking in mirror, taking off her anklet, playing with birds and nature etc. There are naked smiling nymphs, embracing couples, elephants and lions in high relief on the projecting pagas of the uparajangha. 

Timings: 6 am-6 pm, open all days
Entry fee : Indians Rs 5, Foreigners Rs 100
Still camera: Free, Video Rs 25