Odisha Architecture

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The temples at Orissa (ancient Kalinga) offer some of the finest examples of the Nagara style of temple architecture, which is distinct from the South Indian (Dravidian) style. A typical Orissan temple complex often includes a square sanctum sanctorum (deul), an assembly hall (jagamohan or mandapa), and sometimes additional structures like the Nat-Mandir (dancing hall) and Bhog Mandir (hall of offerings). The deul has a lower upright portion called the Bada, a tall middle portion called the gandi (or chhapra), a flat fluted disk at the summit called the amla, and a finial called the kalasa.

Jagannath Temple at Puri

Orissan temples can be broadly classified into three groups based on chronology:

Early Period (c. 750-900 A.D.): Examples include the Parashurameshvara Temple at Bhubaneswar.

Middle Period (c. 900-1100 A.D.): Examples include the Jagannath Temple at Puri, and the Mukteshwara and Lingaraja Temples at Bhubaneswar.

Later Period (c. 1100-1300 A.D.): Examples include the Sun Temple at Konark and the Rajarani Temple at Bhubaneswar.

The Lingaraja Temple (11th century A.D.), the largest temple in Bhubaneswar, is considered one of the finest examples of Orissan architecture. The Mukteshwara Temple (10th century A.D.) is known for its richly sculpted arched gateway and carvings depicting tales from the Panchatantra. The Jagannath Temple (12th century A.D.) at Puri is famous for its annual Rath Yatra festival. The Sun Temple at Konark (c. 1250 A.D.) is shaped like a chariot with twelve giant sculpted wheels. 

Odisha is also home to tantric Buddhist art, which developed in the 5th century A.D. and shows influences from the Gupta period, as seen in the images at Lalitagiri, Udayagiri, and Ratnagiri. However, this is separate from the main tradition of Hindu temple architecture in the region.


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