|Chhattisgar: BhoramdeoTemple, flickr.com/|
|Bhoramdeo Temple, Chhattisgarh en.wikipedia.org|
Dating back to the Kalachuri period (10th-12th centuries), the sculptures and architectural style that were dominant in Central India in west Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan were called Chedi or Haihaya (Heyheya) (northern branch). They have close similarity with those sculptures found in nearby archeological sites such as Janjgir, Kalachuri, Narayanpur and Ratanpur sites. The early temples were made of bricks during the rule of Pandus and they have close affinity with those built in Kharod, Palari, Rajim and Sirpur in the state.
|Chhattisgar: BhoramdeoTemple www.dreamstime.com|
|Main tower with open "half shelters" facing south BhoramdeoTemple/en.wikipedia.org|
The temple complex has a colorful arch and near-by a sculpted image of Nandi (the bull), the vahana of Shiva, From this entrance there is a well laid out esplanade which leads to the temple complex which is on the banks of a lake.
The stone-made Bhoramdeo temple, is dated back to the 11th century and is older than the Khajuraho Group of temples. Its architecture is stunningly beautiful. One could see on the outer wall small carved images in profusion built in a typical architectural style called the Gurur type. It is just owe-inspiring and this style is different from the north Indian Nagara style of architecture. Its structural uniqueness and elegance lies in the receding rows or tiers placed successively upwards in the top part of the temple tower.
A large platform or plinth that is built to height of 5 feet (1.5 m ) forms the first stage. The platform has many sculptures of Hindu deities carved on the exterior faces. The temple constructed on this platform measures 60 feet (18 m) x 40 feet (12 m) and is of conventional Hindu temple, comprising a mandapa (hall), followed by an antral or passage leading to the Garbhagriha or sanctum (9 feet x9 feet ) where a Shiva Linga, is enshrined. The mandapa, square in plan is supported by four main central pillars, apart from the peripheral pillars. All the three enclosures are linked by passageways.
On the exterior and interior walls of the temple are found the bass reliefs in the entablature part of elephants, mythical figures and sensuous sculptures. The sensuous carved figures on the exterior walls represent the nuances of Kama Sutra and the erotic postures. It is to be noted that they reflect on the then prevailing social, cultural, architectural and religious ethos in the region and there was nothing to be ashamed of. These sculptures are nicely crafted in three tiers on the exterior face of the temple up to the pinnacle and are housed in niches. It is a meticulous job well done by the sculptors of those days. As for the sculpted images arranged in rows on the outer faces of the main tower, they vary in size from 1 foot to 1.5 ft to 2 ft in descending order from the top of the tower to its lower end. The base of the main tower is wide enough to provide stability to the main tower.
The lowest tier of the exterior walls is embellished with sculptures of lions and elephants. Here, the sculptures are made of black and ochre stones (black stone is used to carve pantheon gods while Ochre stone is used for other sculptures). The entrance doors are flanked by images of mythological figures, which are 1 or 2 ft in height. An interesting feature is on the southern face of the shikara or tower where the Ganesha image has six arms and well turned up trunk. There are some interesting images of gods. one being Shiva Linga, with a hooded serpent; the other one is a stone slab of Vishnu and Lakshmî mounted on Garuda with a king offering prayers.
The Istaliq temple or the temple built with dried or burnt clay bricks is close to the main Bharamdeo temple. Built between 2nd and 3rd centuries this temple is in ruins, and the sanctum has no doors without an entrance hall or mantap. The tower above the sanctum terminates in the middle
In the temple complex there is an open-air museum that has a large collection of archaeological features unearthed from the area; they are dated to 2nd and 3rd centuries. Of particular interest is display of Sati pillars, which have unique architectural motif in which couples are carved in squatting amorous postures called the "alingana-mudra".
A recently built Hanuman temple painted in red colour is also seen on one side of the courtyard. A draped Kal Bhairava sculpture is also seen in the complex at its exit end.
Cherki Mahal, the last temple in the complex, is in a thickly wooded area . It has a nicely decorated entrance and a sanctum with a lotus decoration in the roof.
Madwa Mahal, dedicated to God Shiva is located about a kilometer away from the main temple. The west facing temple is built like a marriage hall or pandal (fabricated structure), known in local parlance as "Madwa". It is believed to have been built in memory of of the wedding of Nagwanshi king Ramachandra Dev and Haihawanshi Queen Raj Kumari Ambika Devi that took place in 1349. The temple has an impressive Shiva Linga erected over 16 pillars.
The outer walls of this temple have 54 well-carved explicit erotic images in various postures as explained in the ''Kama Sutra''. As mentioned earlier, it is a reflection of the prevalence of the tantric culture during the rule of the Nagawanshi kings.