|625 CE Nagara style architecture of the Hindu temple,Bihar, en.wikipedia.org.|
Built in the Nagara style of temple architecture, the temple has an an octagonal plan which is a rare one. In the Garbagriha - sanctum, there are main deities the Devi Mundeshwari and Chaturmukh (four faced) Shiva lingam. The temple tower or shikara is missing, however, a roof is built as part of renovation work. At the entrance to the temple, the door sides carry carved images of Dvarapalas (sentinels), Ganga, Yamuna and many other deities. The unique feature is there are doors or windows on four sides and small niches for the statues in the remaining four walls. There are also niches on the interior walls with bold moldings carved with vase and foliage designs.
|Mundeshwari Devi Temple, Bihar .google.com/|
A sad commentary is many of the stone structures are damaged beyond redemption as one can see many stone fragments strewn around the temple. The reason for the damages is not clear and temple records do not attribute the damage to Muslim invasion.
During the Ramnavami, Shivratri festivals, this temple is over crowded. So is during the main annual fair (mela) that coincides with the Navaratri festival. A fact worthy of mention is the conduct of temple rituals. Unlike other Hindu temples, here rituals and worship have been performed without a break since 108 AD. The worship of Shakti in the form of Devi Mundeshwari in the temple suggests due importance is given to tantric cult of worship, which is practiced in states like Kerala.
The Archaeological Survey of India undertook restoration work to preserve this protected monument. The works was focused on the removal of soot from the temple interior using special chemicals, repair of damaged image of deities and, importantly, cataloging and documentation of scattered fragments for later reuse. They also introduced solar powered lighting besides display of antiques and additional provision for public amenities. A sum of Rs 2 crore was earmarked for the restoration work by the Government of Bihar.
There was a proposal to develop this ancient temple on the model of Vaishnavo Devi temple of Jammu and Kashmir. Incidentally this 1900 - year old Hindu shrine is being looked after by one Azeemuddin, a Muslim, for the last many years. Historians believe this temple came up in the Shaka period that predated the Gupta period 320 AD.
|Mundeshwari Devi Temple, Biharwww.google.com|
Patna, Gaya, or Varanasi. The nearest railway station is at Mohania - Bhabua Road railway station from where the temple is 22 km by road.