The Rajarani Temple, located towards the north-east of Lingaraj temple and situated in the heart of Bhubaneshwar city, is one of the most beautiful temples representing a unique experiment in the field of architecture in Orissa.
This temple is remarkable for its sculptural excellence, profusion of ornaments, exuberant architectural features and multiple scroll work.
This was my 2nd visit to this temple and I was extremely happy to see the temple maintained well. The Archaeological Society of India has done a commendable job of preserving the temple.
After buying my entrance ticket worth five rupees, I entered the lush green lawns of the temple campus on a cloudy day. The Rajarani Temple, from the entrance, forms a picturesque setting amidst the green lawns.
The present name ‘Rajarani’ has been derived from a very fine grained yellow sandstone called ‘Rajarania’ in common parlance with which the entire edifice has been built. Mellowed by time, the glaring amber of the stone complements its architectural splendour.
This temple built between the 10th and 11 century was initially known as Indreswara temple devoted to the worship of Lord Shiva though the temple oddly lacks in a presiding deity.
Facing east, this temple consists of a sanctum (deul) and a porch (jagamohana) raised above a platform of three mouldings is pancharatha in plan with a curvilinear superstructure (rekha shikhara) reminiscent of Kandariya Mahadeva temple of Khajuraho. This temple marks yet another phase in the evolution of Orissan temple architecture.
As I was exploring this temple compound and studying the various carvings and sculptures, the energetic sculptures adorning the walls of the deul caught my attention.
These energetic sculptures were that of women in dance poses that hint at the practice of Odissi dance, coquettish women, women carrying children, looking at their reflection in the mirror or playing becomingly with birds and nature.
The other attractive components of the temple are the ‘Guardians of the Eight Directions’ projecting from the base of the temple in the eight directions, starting from the gateway in a clockwise direction around the porch and the deul to end back at the torana.
The eight guardians here are Indra (god of rain), Agni (god of fire), Yama (god of death), Nirriti (god of suffering), Varuna (god of ocean), Vayu (god of wind), Kubera (god of wealth) and Ishana (Shiva).
This temple and its lovely architecture really take’s ones imagination into India’s glory past. I would recommend this temple visit to all Indian temple lovers and for people who have a keen eye for architectural wonders.