ANANTA-VASUDEVA

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Location : Bhubaneswar, Orissa
Built In : 1278 A.D.
Presiding Deity : Vishnu
Significance : The only Vaishnava Temple present at Bhubaneswar

Built on the east bank of Bindu-Sarovara, the temple is noted for its profusely carved exterior and finished appearance. Unfortunately, much of the carvings have worn out due to the softness of the stone.

A Display Of Exquisite Ornamentation
Architecturally, it is almost a reduced copy of the Lingaraja temple, but the grouping of the four component parts, with their roofs presenting the appearance of ascending peaks culminating in the highest 'Mastaka' of the 'Deul' at a height of 18.29m, is more effective.

It is further distinguished by an ornamental platform, relieved with 'Khakhara-Mundis', carved pilasters, 'Nagas', 'Nagis' and 'Vidalas' between two sets of three mouldings each. Though the 'Deul' is 'Pancha-Ratha' on plan, a new feature is introduced in the division of the corner 'Ratha' of the 'Bada' in two equal parts, both on the same plane; the inner one is crowned by a miniature 'Rekha' above the mouldings of the 'veranda'.

The facets of the 'Rathas' are richly carved with fine scrollwork, 'Jali', creepers and flower-shaped motifs, the central facets of the corner 'Ratha' having female figures. The 'Khakhara-Mundis' on the intermediary 'Rathas' of the lower 'Jangha' contain the eight 'Dikpalas', seated on their respective mounts, while the corresponding spaces on the upper 'Jangha' have their female counterparts.

A Beautiful Ensample Of Vaishnava Temple
This is the only important 'Vaishnava' temple standing at Bhubaneswar . The deities installed in the sanctum are Krishna, 'Balarama' and 'Subhadra'. The 'Parsva-Devatas' are three of the ten incarnations of Vishnu, of which the four-armed "Varahaand Trivikrama", both mutilated, now exist in the south and north niches respectively. As in the Lingaraja temple, there were porches in front of the 'Parsva-Devatas', only the eastern one now standing. These porches were integral parts of the original scheme of the sanctuary and porch.

In the decoration of the 'Bada', the 'Jagamohana' closely follows the 'Deul'. The 'Dikpalas' and their female counterparts are also depicted here in the 'Khakhara' and 'Pidha-Mundis' of the lower and upper 'Janghas' between the corner and intermediary 'Rathas'. The carvings on the central projections containing a banister window are neatly done. The banisters of the north window have the figures of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Hanuman and a monkey-attendant.

The lintel above is relieved with an animated frieze of trotting elephants; the second niche above this contains a worshipping crowd in front of a preceptor, below whom is a frieze depicting the processional march of infantry, cavalry and palanquin-bearers.

According to a commemorative inscription, originally belonging to this temple but now in the hall of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, London, the temple was built in A.D. 1278 at the instance of 'Chandra-Devi', daughter of 'Anangabhima' III, during the reign of the latter's grandson 'Bhanudeva' on the bank of 'Bindu-Saras' for 'Baladeva' ('Ananta'), 'Subhadra' and Krishna ('Vasudeva') and proving thereby the existence of the tank before that date.



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