Abhaneri or Abaneri (originally named Abha Nagari), in the Dausa district of Rajasthan state is s popular tourist destination spot for two simple reasons: it is hometo the world famous ornate step well called Chand Baori that supplied ground water to the villagers in the past in the summer season too and the other being Harshat Mata Temple. This post is about the temple.
|Harshat Mata Temple, Abaneri, Rajasthan. en.wikipedia.org|
|Harshat Mata Temple, Abhaneri, Rajasthan.dreamstime.com|
Harshat Mata Temple. according to the historians was originally dedicated to God Vishnu. The ordinal style of the temple was that of panchayatana (Sanskrit words Pancha meaning five and ayatana meaning containing) in which the main shrine is surrounded by four subsidiary shrines. The temple complex that is built on two broad stepped terraces (jagati) has an East-facing entrance to the temple facing the rising Sun. The original circumambulatory path or Prthakshana path is partially ruined
|Abaneri, India location map .palampurbikersclub.com|
Because of time and political reasons the main shrine has survived, but parts have been ruined because of aging, etc. In the place of Shikara - tower, there is a dome-shed roof modified in the past; the tall shikhara tower was replaced by a roof-dome. The good news is the fragments of carved stones from the original structure, and the age-old sculptures were shifted to the Museum at towns like Amber and Jaipur. The ASI apparently fearing pilferage, looting and destruction of valuable artifacts, stone images, etc took the right step to save them for the posterity.
|9th CHarshat Mata Temple, Abaneri, Rajasthan.en.wikipedia.org|
The builder, historians theorize could be a ruler from the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty ( an Indian imperial power during the late classical period that ruled much of North India from the mid-8th to the 11th century. They also ruled first at Ujjain and later at Kannauj. The iconography is representative of the Pancharatra movement of Vaishnavism. The historians made an interesting observation about this old temple, its structure and the primary god enshrined in the sanctum. The broken fragments of this temple that are on display in the museums suggest strong Shakta and Shaiva influence. However, Falk Reitz (1993) of University of Bonn, Germany is of the opinion that panchayatana temples tend to be ''syncretic'', meaning fusion of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or possible incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions. As for images of Durga and Parvati (Shiva's wife), they are different aspects of the same goddess. Reitz concludes that the ''Vaishnava sculptures at the temple have a "subordinate position", and cannot be used to make any conclusions about the temple's sectarian affiliation....... it is not surprising to find Vaishnava or Shaiva sculptures at a Shakta temple''. Many religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems are stuck with their own and show preference to exclusivist approach. Reitz, who studied the near-by Chand Boari says the two fragments of a Durga sculpture in the Chand Baori compound may belong to main idol of the original temple.
About the builder of this temple, the studies done in the 29th century conclude that the sanctum once had a Durga idol, which was stolen. Later, an idol of Goddess Lakshmi, consort of God Vishnu, was installed in that place. Now this idol is worshipped as Harshat-Mata.