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Raja Rani Temple: Love Temple of Odisha

Rajarani temple is located at a short distance from Bhubaneswar ‘s old temple town. a The temple’s name does not reflect on its presiding deity or donor but is called so because it used to be a pleasure garden of an Odi king (raja) and his wife (rani). Rajarani temple is a fine symphony of skilled professional development, symmetry of shape and excellent craftsmanship.

The temple was built in the 11th century AD, during the later stages of the Somavamsi rule. The temple today is empty of any presiding deity although there are unmistakable signs that it was a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the temple ‘s architecture, the most notable being the carving of sage Lakulisa right above the entry door and under the navagrahas.

Based on the red and yellow sandstone used in its building called Rajarania , the temple is known as Rajarani Temple. The stone imparts an amber shade that accentuates the temple ‘s architectural beauty with the passing of time.

Rajarani Temple 1
courtesy Odisha Tourism

Raja Rani Temple is  locally known as the ‘heart temple’, as it comprises of sensuous carvings of women and couples.

No images can be found within the sanctum, and thus the temple is not connected to any specific Hindu sect. That is probably precisely where the temple ‘s beauty comes from: the temple does not belong to any particular sect and is open to all citizens regardless of the deity.

Architecture of Raja Rani Temple

The temple’s structural plan resembles the Kandariya Mahadev Khajuraho Temple which can be attributed to the fact that the Somavamsi’s came from Central India to Odisha.

The temple of Rajarani stands on a three moulded platform. The temple boasts a Bada punchanga. The temple Vimana represents Rekha style clustered with Sikharas Miniature. The Jagamohana is a pyramidal-structured Pidha deula. The strategy used is Pancharatha. It is capped by a Kalasa.

Rajarani Temple 2
courtesy Odisha Tourism
Rajarani motifs
courtesy 5sensestours.com
Rajarani floorplan
sketch by Narayan Sanyal (courtesy rangandatta.wordpress.com)

The Navagraha Panel appears at the lintels of both the perch and the sanctuary in the Rajarani temple.  The temple body includes the Digpalas, Dvarapalas, and other decorative motifs. The temple Vimana holds a great number of its miniature prototypes called Anger-sikharas. The pictures of beautiful women, Dikpalas and will give luster to the temple in alto-relievo of the vimana. Considered from every perspective, the temple of Rajarani achieves excellence in Kalingian temple style

The temple has another fascinating feature that is unique in Odisha’s temple architecture, i.e. the tower above the Sanctum Sanctorum ascends from the ground like a beehive with smaller miniature towers, one on top of the other seamlessly overlapping with it. It may well be indicative of the human soul’s yearning to move higher and higher before it merges with the all-powerful immortal spirit.

The Rajarani Temple is a great testament to the architects and their patrons’ skillset, endless patience and perseverance.

Significance

The Rajarani Temple has similarities to Saiva Dwarapalakas of Jatamukha namely Prachanda and Chanda, a bounty of skulls and a snake.Rajarani Temple ‘s fundamental attraction in Bhubaneswar is models of Ashta Dikpalas, the eight sanctuary watchers who protect the sanctuary from the distinctive headings.

The Raja Rani Temple has a very different beauty to offer, and this is perhaps what sets it apart from the other temples spread around Bhubaneswar, now rightly known as Orissa ‘s temple metropolis.

How to Reach Raja Rani Temple

By Air

The nearest airport to Rajarani Temple is Bhubaneswar Biju Patnaik International Airport, also known as Bhubaneswar Airport, located 3kms away.

By Train

There are 5 stations within city limits that are accessible to & from the Rajarani Temple namely  Vani Vihar , Patia Halt, Mancheswar, Bhubaneswar station (near Master Canteen) and Lingaraj Temple Road.

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