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Khakhara Temples

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Item Code: UAE518
Author: Sanjaya Kumar Mahapatra
Publisher: Sharada Publishing House, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9789383221134
Pages: 196 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 10.00 X 7.50 inch
Weight 710 gm
Book Description
About The Book

Orissa is known for its rich heritage of art and architecture. The temples of Orissa are closely entwined with Orissan culture. They cover a plethora of interest covering art, architecture, sculpture, religious faith and rituals. It is true that temples in some form must have originated as soon as the image worship came into vogue basing upon the idea that God has made man out of his own form.

The temples of Orissa resolve themselves into three broad architectural orders: the rekha, pidhā and khakhara. The present volume revolves round the unique features of the Khakhara temples which are designed for their semi-cylindrical roof. While rekha and pidha temples are dedicated to Saiva and Vaiṣṇava deities, khakhara temple is exclusive for enshrining the Sakta divinities. The present study deals with the distinct nature of the khakhara temples showing the marked differences with the other monuments. This treatise not only sheds light on the khākharā temple architecture and sculpture but also deals with the cultural history, significance of Indian temples, general features of Orissan temples along with the temple building activities under the ruling dynasties of the land.

This book will prove extremely useful for scholars and students of Indology, particularly those studying Orissan religious architecture in particular and that of India in general.

About the Author

Dr Sanjaya Kumar Mahapatra (born 1963), presently working as the principal in the Janata College, Kuhuri, Khurda, Odisha, is the recipient of prestigious Rastriya Gaurav Award. He is an eminent scholar of history and archaeology, who has devoted two decades of his illustrious career to the study of archaeology, history and culture of our land. His valuable. writings have not only enriched the art, architecture and sculpture of India but also paved the way for the growth of cultural heritage of our subcontinent.

Dr Mahapatra is well versed in yoga, tantra and astrology and has got the credit to publish seventy articles in the different national and state. journals which brought him state and national repute in recognition. His valuable books Mahisasuramardini in Art, Iconography and Cult Practices as well as Camunda in Mythology, Art and Iconography are well appreciated by the scholars. Besides, he has co-edited the two volume work A Bouquet of Indian Heritage, Research and Management. He has also been the editor of the book Social Changes under British Crown. For the attainment of spiritual goal he was initiated into the path of Kriya Yoga in 1988.


The temples in India are closely entwined with Indian culture. They cover a plethora of interest covering art, architecture, sculpture, religious faith and rituals. Primarily temples were a place of worship of one deity or the other. But in course of time they grew into big institutions as centers of religious congregations which fostered a fraternity as it were, of the people of different hues and views. Even the dispensation of justice was done in temples. The feeling and the belief that the benign presence of god would lead the people on the right path, was at back of this phenomenon. As such, the temples of India play a vital role for the upliftment of the society and pave the way for the divinization of the people so that the materialistic world is gradually transformed to the spiritual world where everyone realizes the entity of the Supreme Absolute.

From a simple concept of worshipping an idol with water and flowers, the mode of worship gradually grew into elaborate system including varieties of abhiseka, alankara and naivedaya and offering various types services like recitation, dance, music and the like. Along with the growth of this concept the physical size of the temple also increased. To the garbhagrha, the nucleus of the temple, came to be added several adjuncts depending upon the local needs, such as mukhasala, natamandapa, bhogamandapa and the like which consisted of halls specious enough to offer different services and to accommodate the devotees gathered to witness such services. These services which consisted of various items have been very wisely condensed into two terms called angabhoga and rangabhoga. Angabhoga meant the worship of the idol through different types of anointing i.e., abhiseka, decorating the idol with flowers and different types of ornaments i.e., alankära and offering delicate dishes i.e., naivedaya. Rangabhöga consisted of the services offered before the god in the rangamandapa which included recitation of scriptures, songs in praise of god and dancing to please the deity.

Monuments, whether in the form of building, pillar or statue of historical importance are treated as principal visible and material records of human evolution through the ages. In India man's ideals have found expression in numerous beautiful monuments showing that few countries possess a richer architectural heritage of this kind. When we study human efforts towards building temples, forts and palaces, we find the continuous attempt of human being to express their social and religious environment and aesthetic sense through the different expression of Indian architecture, the highest achievement beyond doubt is seen in the temple, where the good is believed to reside.

It is true that temples in some form must have originated as soon as the image. worship came into vogue basing upon the idea that god has made man out of his own form. When god was universally conceived in human form, such an anthropomorphic form required a habitation, a shelter and this probably resulted in preparing a structural shrine. Each and every component in a temple has a definite identity and in turn each part is a part of the whole, which is also conceived as a cosmic being or västu purusa.

The temple architecture in India had its humble beginning right from the Mauryan period (third century BCE) as evident from the excavated temples at Sanchi and Bairat. However, it gained momentum in the Gupta period. The Hindu temple was considered as one of the decisive innovations of the imperial Guptas. A large number of temples of a wide range of variety were constructed in India during the post Gupta period over a time span of more than a millennium. Geomorphologic distribution and architectural styles reveal that the temples in India can be divided into three broad groups such as nagara, dravida and vesara. However, an inscription of 1215 CE in the mukhamandapa of the Amrteśvara temple at Holal in Bellary district of Karnataka speaks of a fourth style, i.e. 'Kalinga' in addition to the former styles. Thus, it is evident that Kalinga, the ancient name of Orissa had a distinct position in the field of temple building India.

Situated on the east coast of India, on the Bay of Bengal, Orissa has been swept away by different religious faiths like Buddhism, Jainism, Saivism, Vaisnavism and Saktism. The culture of Orissa has to be analyzed from the point of view of religious faiths which have passed over the region and ultimately have taken a definite shape. It may be noted that various cults and religious faiths in Orissa overlapping one another in the course of about a thousand years developed but curiously enough all these faiths have been epitomized to Jagannatha who throughout the ages has been the centre of religious life in Orissa.


History of Orissa, which acquired indelible fame and glory under its past names such as Kalinga', Utkala, Udra and Oddiyana, etc. as evidenced from the ancient literature, dates back to very remote antiquity. The human history in Odisha (formerly Orissa) begins in the Lower Paleolithic Era, as Acheulian tools dating to the period have been discovered in various in the region. The State was known, far and wide, for the high cultural heritage, religious synthesis, heroic deeds, maritime trade and overseas expansion of its people. They were pioneer founders of Indian colonies across the oceans. Splendid glimpses of its remarkable past are found in many epics including Mahabharata Buddhist and Jain literature also have rich descriptions of bravery, patriotism and generosity of the people of ancient Kalinga. It is the soil of Orissa and supremely courageous sacrifices of its people that turned a merciless, atrocious, and barbaric Chandašoka to Dharmašoka amid the Kalinga war in 261 BCE. It is here in this soil; Asoka abandoned his expansionism and war adventures, took asylum in Buddhism and ultimately became its great. defender and propagator.

Culture is a word involving a number of concepts which are of greatest importance to the modern man. It is very difficult to define culture. Arnold Toynbee in his Study of History rejects the theory that cultural development has been due either to some superior biological instance or to a particularly easy geographical environment. Examining twenty one civilized societies within the last six thousand years while many emerged as response to challenge of nature such as drying up grassy land, silting of water source, etc., and also of massive invasion of other societies only six emerged directly from the primitive life. He has sought for an explanation of this emergence in the realm of mythology as the enshrinement of human wisdom. Perhaps this is the case in regard to Orissa. Whatever the scholars may say about culture, in the final analysis it centres round the traditional faith in one or the other region. The culture of has to be analysed from the point of view of religious faiths which have passed over the region and ultimately have taken a definite shape. For this purpose history of various religious faiths which have passed over the region have to be analysed.

Orissa as it is today consists of portions of three ancient regions, Kalinga, Utkala or Odra and Kosala which in course of centuries under political, social and economic pressures joined together in the twelfth century CE, and developed to form the Oriya society as a distinct entity in the realm of India. Of all the regions, Kalinga was the most prominent and advanced in all respects. The original inhabitants of these regions belong to the Sabar (Savar) tribe which had a distinct civilization of its own. Thanks to the discoveries of the archaeologists, it is now conclusively proved that the pre-Aryan civilization was of a high order and it influenced the Aryan civilization in many ways. There was conflict between the two civilizations at the initial stage as is indicated in the Rgveda but in course of time, by mutual give and take, there was mutual accommodation as is indicated in the later Vedas. Even then the shades of the two civilizations remained prominently in various regions in India. The shade of Aryan civilization is distinguishable in north India whereas in the south that of pre-Aryan Dravidian civilization is distinguishable. But Orissa is a region lying between the north and the south, the synthesis has been so complete that the shades of two civilizations are not distinguishable.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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