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Parashurameshvara Temple  – The first temple to have jagamohana Structure in #Bhubaneswara ,#Odisha  – Article by Ashish Sarangi

Age of Parashurameshvara Temple 

Parashurameshvara Temple - The first temple to have jagamohana StructureParashurameshvara Temple is located in Bhubaneswara, the capital of Odisha. It is dated to the Shailodbhava period between the 7th and 8th centuries CE. The temple is dedicated to the god Shiva and is one of the oldest existing temples in the state. It is believed to have been built around 650 CE in Nagara style of architecture that emphasises vertical structure and has all the main features of the pre-10th century Orissan-style temples.

Structure of Parashurameshvara Temple 
Parashurameshvara Temple has a vimana, the sanctum, and a bada, the curvilinear spire over its roof, rising to a height of 40.25 ft (12.27 m). It is the first temple to have an additional structure called jagamohana, compared to the earlier temples that had only the vimana. Though the temple is dedicated to Shiva, it contains sculpted images of Shakta deities, which are otherwise normally part of Shakta temples. Parashuramshtami is the major festival celebrated in the temple during June–July every year.

Parashurameshvara Temple - The first temple to have jagamohana Structure eodisha.org photo by Amaresh Das

History of Parashurameshvara Temple 

Parashurameshvara Temple is, considered one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar. Some historians believe Parashurameshvara Temple to have been built in the early 8th century CE. although K.C.Panigrahi places the date as 650 CE. Fergusson believed that the temple might have been initiated at around 500 CE. A mid-7th century date is agreed by most scholars based on style and the presence of the eight planets which appear over the door to the inner sanctum as the later temples portray nine. Parashurameshvara Temple was built by the Shailodbhavas, who had Shiva as their family deity. The Shailodbhavas also respected the Shakta deities and depicted Shakta images on the walls of the temple. The temple is the first in Bhubaneswar to contain depictions of Saptamatrikas, namely, Chamunda, Varahi, Indrani, Vaishnavi, Kaumari, Shivani and Brahmi. We can also found lots of images of Naag purusha with their female counterparts. Images of Vishnu, Indra, Surya, Yama, Ganga-Yamuna, eight armed dancing Ardhnarishvara are also there on the walls.

The temples found in Odisha have mainly two parts:

  1. the sanctum, called vimana, and a place from where pilgrims view the sanctum,
  2. called the jagamohana (hall of worshippers). Parashurameshvara Temple is the first to have this additional structure of jagamohana.

The vimana is square in plan and the walls have sections called rathas or pagas. The vimana has a curvilinear tower (called bada) in the form of a pyramid composed of horizontal planes. The sanctum of the temple measures 9.88 × 9.75 ft (3.0 × 3.0 m) from the inside, 19.75 × 21 ft (6.0 × 6.4 m) from the outside and has a height of 40.25 ft (12.3 m). Amalaka, a stone disk with ridges on the rim, is placed over the bada of the temple.

The jagamohana is rectangular in shape and has a two-element sloping roof with clerestory windows between them. The jagamohana measures 24.94 × 18.33 ft (7.6 × 5.6 m) from the inside and 29.33 × 28.58 ft (8.9 × 8.7 m) from the outside.

Light enters the interior through doors and the latticed windows. The latticed windows are classified as pata jali where perforations are square or rectangular in shape. This plan of bringing light into the jagamohana is unknown elsewhere in Bhubaneswae, except the jagamohana of Vaital Temple or Tini Mundiya Deula. It seems to have been adopted more for its peculiarity and beauty than for light as the two doors on each side and one door in front of the body of porch are sufficient to give enough light to the temple. In addition, there are trellised windows with slabs of stone sculptures depicting dancers and musicians.

six-armed MahishamardiniThe temple contains the earliest representation of a six-armed Mahishamardini (Durga) image. Durga is seen holding a sword in the upper left hand while in the upper right hand, she is seen pressing the face of the demon buffalo. In her left middle hand, she is seen piercing the neck of the demon with a trishula (trident), while in her lower left hand she holds a pointed weapon. In her right middle hand she holds Khetaka while in her lower right hand she holds a bow. A similar image of Durga is found in the Vaital temple, which is a famous Shakta center.

An image of Lord Kartikeya riding a peacock

There are lots of hidden treasures in Bhubaneswar which we must preserve as it’s our duty also to keep our monuments of cultural heritage clean.

Ref: 1)Parshurameswar temple Wikipedia
2) The antiquities of Orissa by Rajendra Lala Mitra