Odisha Style, Bhubaneswar: Rajarani Temple

This temple from the early-11th c is contemporaneous with Siddheahwar, but the sanctuary exterior and tower (Rekha Deul) are much more profusely sculpted. The interior walls of the sanctum are not set in a simple rectangular plan like most other Odia temples, but instead have many offsets (exterior link). This is reflected in offsets in the exterior walls of the sanctum as well, giving the structure a star-like shape. On the tower above, these offsets rise to form half-tower imitations of the central tower design, and surround the central tower structure at diminishing heights. This makes for an overall tower design that is compound and complex, and in many ways resembles the towers of temples such as at Khajuraho.

On this tower we also see the much finer horizontal layering work that becomes more common in later temples such as Lingaraja, Jagannath Puri, Ananta Vasudev and Chitrakarini (as well as the earlier Mukteshwar). Compare this to the thicker and unadorned stonework on Siddheshwar. In the style before the Mukteshwar turn, this horizontal moulding was of a somewhat different nature, with the horizontal layering being ornately sculptured but thicker (as in Parashurameshwar and Swarnajaleshwar) or not very prominent (Markandeshwar).

The mandap (Pidha Deul) seems to be from a completely different temple altogether. The walls are mostly devoid of sculpture, with only the pilasters and window grills having some sculpture-work on them. The pediments on top of the windows and entrance seem to be incomplete.


Rajarani Temple

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3 thoughts on “Odisha Style, Bhubaneswar: Rajarani Temple

  1. Thanks for posting these pictures. You have opened our eyes to a new style and the arrangement of space. Really appreciate this. Can you recommend a book that has more info about the history of the evolution of this style ?


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