Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Leaning Hindu temple, Huma, Odisha - one of a kind in India


Leaning Hindu temple, Huma, Odisha, India.  Ollywoodlife

Leaning Hindu temple, Huma, Odisha, India munnabbsr - WordPress.com

Since our  high school days we have read and heard about the famous “Leaning Tower of Pisa” in Italy. Have you ever heard about a leaning tower (Gopuram) of a Hindu temple in India? You will be surprised to know that  there is a unique temple about 23 km  away from Sambalpur in Huma village on  the banks of River Mahanadi.  This Hindu temple with a leaning tower is quite popular and the presiding deity is Lord Shiva.  Temple is dedicated to Baba Bimleswar - Lord Shiva and  was built by Raja Balaram Deb,1st king of Sambalpur. This is one of the two leaning temples in the world and lots of tourists come here.



Unlike the Pisa Leaning Tower, here the temple tower is not a tall. Nor is it architecturally rich and impressive; but, it is simplicity personified. As for the origin of tilting of temple tower, it has been a bone of contention among the scholars.   It is not known if this leaning structure was built this way. While the edifice leans toward the river side, the pinnacle of the temple is perpendicular to the ground - towards the opposite direction of the main temple.  The crux of the matter is Why was the main one tilting toward one side and the other in the opposite direction? Was it a technical error or purposely it was built that way? Raja Balaram Deb built many temples in Odisha . None of them have this kind of peculiar design.


Leaning Hindu temple, Huma, Odisha, wanderndiscover-WordPress.com
Besides the main temple, the Bhairavi Devi temple is  to the left of the main temple and Bhairo temple is  to the right of the main temple. Historical records point out it was  Ganga Vamsi Emperor Anangabhima Deva-III  who built this temple.  Later it was rebuilt or renovated by King Baliar Singh (1660–1690 A.D.), the fifth Chauhan king of Sambalpur. The rest of the temples were built during the reign of  King Ajit Singh (1766–1788 A.D.) of Sambalpur

The legend has it in the place where the temple stands now, long long ago  a cow used to come to the spot regularly and had let her milk flow on the rock outcrop. The milk would disappear soon. People living nearby saw this cow  almost daily offering the milk to the rock outcrop. People soon attached divinity to it and ultimately a temple came up right on this spot. 

Yet another legend has it that  a milkman  began to worship the rock - idol from where he used to  cross the River Mahanadi every day. He  offered a large measure of milk on the rock and soon it would disappear;  presumably consumed by the idol underneath? Suspecting divinity, he informed the local villagers and this led the rulers of this region to have a temple built  dedicated to Lord Shiva.

 'The temple is built on  the rock outcrop adjacent to  the bank of the river Mahanadi.  The temple is made of limestone and others. Experts believe the leaning was  not deliberate  and it was a flawless construction technically speaking.  The cause of leaning could be  due to subsurface  displacement of the rock formation  triggered by localized minor tremors. Flood currents from the Mahanadi  would not have caused the tilting, rather it would have caused some damages to the structure. The tilting of other structures in the opposite direction  is a mysterious one and it could be due to the direction of propagation of  earthquake waves in that particular direction.  This suggests this place experienced tremors on two occasions.  The first tremors caused the tilting of the edify toward the river. The second  one caused tilting perpendicular to the first one. 


One interesting fact is all the structures within the temple complex are found in tilted condition, including the boundaries. But the angle of inclination  has not changed in the last  40/50 years as  confirmed by the villagers and priests. The reason  for the tilt could be more due to  geological process   rather than structural or design flaw. That the plinth of the temple has deviated slightly from its original arrangement (consequently the body of the temple has tilted) suggests positive shift of the ground, presumably caused by minor tremors.  If there were major tremors, the entire temple structure would have fallen down and severely damaged. 
Friendly Kudo fish, Mahanadi, Odisha, India Wilderness Tales from Odisha
 Shivaratri is a major festival at this temple. the draws a lot of devotees to this place.  On the night of Shivratri in March every year, an  annual fair takes place at the foothill of the temple. The Government of Odisha has proposed a hanging bridge to attract more tourists to the annual fair. There is a special type of fish found here known as 'Kudo' fish and they grow up to six feet and are friendly. They are frequently fed by visitors.

 Tit-bits:
Leaning Tower of Pisa in 2004 en.wikipedia.org
Above image: The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa is the freestanding bell tower of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt. The tower is situated behind the Pisa Cathedral.
The tower's tilt began  in the 12th century when construction was on, caused by poor foundation on ground  made of loose soil.  The tilt gradually increased over a period  before the work was completed in  the 14th century.  The tilt was partially corrected and stabilized  in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The height of the tower is 55.86 meters (183.27 feet) from the ground on the low side and 56.67 meters (185.93 feet) on the high side The width of the walls at the base is 2.44 m (8 ft 0.06 in). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons). Prior to restoration work undertaken between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees The architect is believed to be Bonanno Pisano, a well-known 12th-century resident artist of Pisa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Temple_of_Huma