Raja Rani Temple

Bhubaneswar, Odisha

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Rajarani Temple is an 11th-century Hindu temple located in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha (Orissa previously), India. The temple is believed to have been known originally as Indreswara. It is locally known as a "love temple" because of the erotic carvings of women and couples in the temple.

Rajarani Temple is built in the pancharatha style on a raised platform with two structures: a central shrine called the vimana (sanctum) with a bada (curvilinear spire) over its roof rising to a height of 18 m (59 ft), and a viewing hall called jagamohana with a pyramidal roof. The temple was constructed of dull red and yellow sandstone locally called "Rajarani". There are no images inside the sanctum, and hence it is not associated with a specific sect of Hinduism but broadly classified as Saivite based on the niches.

Based on the sculptural architectural style, the temple is dated to the mid-11th century. Brown groups the temple along with Anant Vasudev Temple and places it around the 11th–12th centuries. Another survey of Orissa temples carried out by S. K. Saraswati in 1953 yielded a similar date. Panigrahi, who did a comprehensive analysis of Orissan temples, gives an unspecified date between Lingaraj Temple and Mukteswara Temple. Fergusson believes construction of the temple was begun by around 1105. George Michell believes the temple was built during the same time as Lingaraja Temple. Rajarani Temple roughly belongs to the same period as the Jagannath Temple at Puri. The architecture of other temples in central India originated from the temple. The notable ones in the category are the Khajuraho temples and Totesvara Mahadeo temple in Kadawa. Scholars believe based on the style that the temple might have been built by Somavamsi kings who migrated from Central Indis to Orissa during the period. Rajarani temple is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a ticketed monument.

 

Architecture

The Orissan temples have two parts namely the sanctum (deul or vimana) and the other is place from where pilgrims view the sanctum (called jagamohana). The initial deul temples were without the jagamohana as seen in some of the older temples in Bhubaneswar while the later temples had two additional structures namely nata-mandapa (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings). The vimana is square in plan, and the walls are variegated by ressaults (called rathas or pagas). Amalaka (also called mastaka), a stone disk with ridges on the rim, is placed over the bada (tower) of the temple. Rajarani Temple stands on a raised platform. The temple was constructed of dull red and yellow sandstone locally called "Rajarani".

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