The Art & Architecture of Shree Jagannath Temple

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The Art & Architecture of Shree Jagannath Temple

Mrs. Rashmi Mishra
Shree Sadashiva Campus, Puri.

Architecture in Odisha found its supreme expression in the form of temples, some of which are among, finest in the country. Of these, three are most famous the Lingaraja temple at Bhubaneswar (11th century), the Jagannath Temple at Puri (12th century) and the great Sun Temple at Konark (13th century). These mark the culmination of a distinct style of architecture called the Kalinga style remarkable in its plan elevation and details of decoration. In the simplest form, a temple of this style consists of a structural due, the main temple or shrine and the frontal porch. While the main temple, called Vimana or Deula, is the sanctum enshrining the deity the porch or assembly hall called Jagamohana is the place for the congregation of devotees. The former, constructed on a square base, has a soaring curvilinear tower (sikhara) and is known as rekha deula. The laatter built on a rectangular base is a pidha temple, i.e. its roof consists of pidhas which are horizontal platforms arranged successively iii a receding formation so as to constitute a pyramidal superstructure.- Although the two temples are architecturally different, they are constructed in axial alignment and interconnected so as to form an integral pattern.

This two-part structure in the earliest form of temple construction is noticeable in the Parsurameswar temple of Bhubaneswar (7th century). A modest specimen of the Bhubaneswar-Lakshmaneswar group of early temples, it has a squattish type of curvilinear sikhara and an oblong pillared jagamohana. The scupltures on the temple walls are also notable for their simplicity and beauty. The Kalinga style reached its perfection during the Ganea period when two more structures were added the front of the two-part temple in order to meet the needs of the elaborate rituals; these are the natamandira (dancing hall) and the bhogamandapa (hall of offerings). The four halls of structure as at Lingaraja and Jagannatha, stand in one line with emphasis on the towering sikhara of the main shrine. However, the devotees have to enter through the side doors of the jagamohana leaving the tamandira and bhogamandapa behind.

Temple building activities in Odisha continued uninterrupted between the 7th and 16th centuries. As different religious sects had their successive sway over the land during this period, they provided the necessary fillip for modifications in the architectural designs and sculptural details. The Vaital temple at Bhubaneswar and the Varahi temple at Chaurasi in the Prachi Valley with their semicylindrical roofs are examples of a different order of temples described as E(hakhara type in the shiIpasastras. The former with its tower resembling a topsy-turvied boat and the later with its barrel-vaulted top are dedicated to the goddess Chamunda and Varahi respectively. The silhouetted interior of the sanctum and the sculptural motifs in the niches of the temples bear the influence of Shakticult.

There is yet another class of temples which are almost unique in their conception and execution in the whole country; these are the circular shaped, hypaethral or roofless structures dedicated to the sixty-four yoginis belonging to the Tantric order. Out of all the five shrines of yogini worship existing in the whole country, two are situated in Odisha, the Chausathi Yogini temples one at Hirapur near Bhubancswar and the other at Ranipur-Jharial in Titlagarh subdivision of Balangir district. At the center of these temples is pedestalled the image of Bhairava around which are located the yoginis, each in a niche. The artistic figures of the yoginis, their hair style varying totally in case of each at Hirapur,are superb in execution.

However, the Kalinga style of architecture which was the most common order throughout progressed well under the patronage of the Somavamsi Kings of...
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