Based On Religious Beliefs
At Bhubaneswar, as in other parts of India, architecture and art are intimately associated with religion. Consequently, the temples form the most illuminating commentary on the religion and religious practices of the people, sectarian rivalry, spirit of reconciliation and rapproachment between rival sects and cult-syncretism of the different ages.
To the student of iconography, the temples are of absorbing interest, as the images of the divinities thereon throw interesting sidelight on the gradual changes in the iconographic features of the images, leading to the fabrication of the myths necessitated for the explanation of such transformations.
Thus, no less than eight different forms of Kartikeya in his status of the Parsva -Devata have been recognized so far: beginning with a two-armed image with only a spear or 'matulunga' (citron) as the attribute, the form crystallized into a four-armed one with the two left hands touching a cock and one of the right carrying a spear. Most of these forms went back to the early formative period, when iconographic concepts were still in a fluid stave, resulting in considerable oscillation in representations.
Again, in the early temples the figure of 'Ketu', the ninth planet, does not appear among the group of 'grahas' (planets) on the architrave above the doorway, proving thereby that at Bhubaneswar the original practice was the representation of eight grahas and the introduction of Ketu as the ninth one on the architrave was of later origin.
By the time the Muktesvara temple was built the convention of 'Navagrahas' (nine planets) was built the convention of Navagrahas (nine planets) was well established. Further, the eight 'dikpalas' (guardians of eight quarters), conforming to the stereotyped list of later mythology, are not traceable in the deuls of the early group, but are represented in their proper quarters on the lower jangha of the deul of the later temples like the Rajarani , Lingaraja , Brahmesvara and Meghesvara .
A further development in the pantheon is noticeable in still later temples like the Ananta-Vasudeva , Sari Deul , Chitrakarini , Yamesvara and Varunesvara, where the female counterparts of the dikpalas made their appearance in the niches of the upper jangha.