Sunday, 22 September 2019

Varahanatha temple, Jaipur, Odisha - dedicated to Vishnu

Varahanatha Temple, odishaen.wikipedia.org

 Odisha state, East India  has innumerable popular Hindu temples and the temple architecture native to this place is far different from those in south India. But the basic plane is similar except in many temples the sanctum has a tall tower or gopura. As for stone sculptures  some of the temples are  well-known for eroticism. Both Vishnu and Shiva temples are widely distributed over the state along with Buddhist temples.
A protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India ASI)the Varahanatha Temple, also known as Yajna Varaha Temple  is located at an elevated place  on an island created by two branches of the Vaitarani River, about 1 km (0.62 mi) from Jajpur  called as Biraja Kshetra in Odisha.  But it is prone to flooding when the rive is in spate . It is home of the sacred temple of goddess Biraja. In the  temple complex the main shrine is dedicated to  Varaha (meaning boar), an avatar of the God  Sri Vishnu. Included in this temple  that was built in the 15 and 16th century are many small shrines of other deities such as Shiva, Vishnu, Vimala and others. The temple follows the native  architectural style called  Kalinga. Somavamshi King, Jajati Kesari` ruled  this place in early 10th century. Besides main shrines, there are  other  shrines in the complex : Gadadhara Vishnu shrine, a shrine to the sun-god Surya, Kasi Biswanath temple (a form of  Shiva) and a shrine to saint Chaitanya.

The Hindu mythological  legend has it Trinity God Brahma (creator) in the midst of Ashvamedha yajna  (fire ritual) -  found out  that the Vedas (scriptures) had been  stolen. So, he sought the help of God Vishnu (protector)  to retrieve them to  complete the Yajna. God Vishnu took the avatar of a boar (an anthropomorphic form with a boar's head and human body; it is the third avatar to retrieve the earth from the ocean) and emerged from the sacrificial
Vishnu taking the avtar of Varaha. en.wikipedia.org
fire  with the stolen scriptures. The yajna is purported to have taken place here and this place is called  Jajfiapura or Jajpur.  Since the weapon of Varaha is mace this  place is known as Gada Kshetra  (after the gada mace) 


As to the builder of this temple, there are different versions and it is a subject of discussion. It is mentioned that this temple complex came up  during the reign of the Suryavamshi Gajapati  in the 15–16th century.  The chronicle  Madala  Panji claims the builder of this temple was  Prataparudra Deva (reign: 1497-1540). Yet other  version mentions about  the king's head priest, Kasi Mishra. 
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534) is said to have visited this temple in 1510 and sanctified this place.  Raghoji I Bhonsle (reign: 1739–1755), the Maratha ruler of Nagpur kingdom carried out major repairs and strengthened the Temple.
Shrine with foot prints of Chaitanya en.wikipedia.org
Varaha temple complex orissabengalyatra2015.wordpress.com
Main Varaha Temple: The main deity Shveta Varaha is enshrined in the garbagriha of this east facing temple that is built over a plinth of 25.30-by-12-metre (83.0 by 39.4 ft); temple gopura height being  22 metres (72 ft).  Kalinga architectural style is a dominant element and the temple has three parts -  the vimana that includes the sanctum, the antarala - a small chamber between the sanctum and the hall and the jagamohana - assembly hall. 

The vimana is a Rekha deula includes a tall stucture  with a shape of sugar loaf) and the jagamohana is a pidha deula - square building with a pyramidal roof). The Vimana as well as the jagamohana are square in shape. The temple is built in ashlar masonry with Khandolite stone, locally available. Invariably many temples are made of this material.   The outer wall is panchanga bada, that is, divided into 5 parts (from base to top): pabhaga, talajangha, bandhana, upara jangha and baranda.
Painted ceiling in Varaha shrine.en.wikipedia.org
A unique feature is the  sanctum has two images of  Varaha (Vishnu) and his consort Lakshmi, and a Jagannath (a regional form of Vishnu) image. The former is made of stone and the latter is made of wood.  One could see
erotic sculptures, mother and child, and amorous couples in the  talajangha of the vimana, In the upper part are noticeable  carved images of musicians, devotees a/nd Yamuna -a river goddess. 

The jagamohana and antarala have not only modern paintings with floral and animal or bird motifs, but also other sculptures. In particular the Jagamohana has beautiful sculptures of many Gods including Shiva, head of Brahma,
Giridhari Govardhana (a form of Krishna etc. It also includes  images of  predominantly Buddhist deity set in the niches. The brackets that support the gandi (temple pinnacle)  carry erotic sculptures of male and female figures and figurines of bharabahaka (goblins supporting the roof) and mother and child.The temple has countless independent sculptures of  various gods and goddesses in the Hindu pantheon representing different ages.
Hara-Gouri temple:
To the south-east of the Varaha Temple,  facing south, is a square-shaped pidha deula vimana, built in Kalinga style. It is not well preserved for unknown reasons. The main deity is Ekamukhi Shiva Linga (an iconic image of Shiva) placed  on a circular yoni called as Hara-Gouri Shiva (first half of the 15th century).  The temple is made of  Khandolite stones in Ashlar masonry and lime plastered.  The disadvantage is the sanctum being at the lower level, in case of flooding it gets submerged
The east facing  Bimala (Vimala) Temple to the south of the Varaha Temple, attracts lots visitors and devotees.
Goddess Vimala with a Shiva linga is the main deity. It was built in the early 16th century during the reign of  Suryavamshi Gajapati rule. This shrine is also  built using  Khandolite stones in Ashlar masonry.  The shrine is not well maintained.
Kharakhia Varaha shrine en.wikipedia.org
The north facing Kharakhia Varaha shrine to the south of the main Varahanatha Temple, has three icons of Varaha. It is believed to have been built by 
Gajapati kings in the  15–16th century. They introduced modern temple features  with bricks and cement mortar. The plan is in Kalinga style.

The east facing small Mukteswara Temple is to the south of the main temple of Varahanatha. It has a Shiva linga fixed over a circular yoni. Built in the early 16th century during the Gajapati rule, the sanctum here is prone to flooding during the rainy season. Like other temples, this one is made of Khandolite stones set in Ashlar masonry and given a paint of white lime.


 Tit-bits:
The Maa Biraja Templetripadvisor.in

Above i,age: Here at this temple the main deity is Goodness Durga  who is worshiped as Girija-Biraja & Lord Shiva as Jagannath. Mother Sati’s navel fell here.  Maa Biraja Devi is in her full glory as the cosmic trinity, combining the forms of Trishakti Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati. The Maa Biraja Temple covering a large area, has several shrines to Lord Shiva as well as other deities. The Skanda Purana mentions the cleansing power of this holy shrine. One of the 18 shakthi peeths, it is an ancient and place of worship .
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varahanatha_Temple