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Shiva Temples Of Prachi Valley In Odisha

The Prachi Valley in Odisha was a famous Shaiva center in ancient times and the valley is noted for its beautiful and magnificent Shiva temples. The region that lies between the Devi River and the Kushabhadra River in the coastal-belt of Odisha is generally accepted by scholars as the region of the Prachi Valley.

Prachi is also an ancient river and it was considered sacred by the people of Odisha during the ancient times.

Shaivism was the dominant religion in the coastal-belt of Odisha from the 7th century onwards and reached the peak of its glory during the Somavamsi period in the 10th-11th century A.D. The entire Prachi Valley was studded with Shiva temples from Phulnakhara to Astaranga (one end to other).

The extant Shiva temples of the Prachi Valley suggest that the Valley was popular as a place of Shaivism prior to the development of Vaishnavism.

A good number of Shiva temples are found in the different parts of the Prachi Valley and they represent the Kalinga style of temple architecture of Odisha. Kalinga Style of temple architecture is divided into four types such as rekha, pidha (bhadra), khakhara and Gauriya.

The famous Lakheswar Temple At Phulnakhara in Prachi valley represent the pidha type of the Kalinga Style of temple architecture.

Today, Prachi, a small river of over 60 km in length with a catchment area of around 600 sq. km is a part of the Mahanadi delta in Odisha. The Prachi valley is around 38 km from the capital city Bhubaneswar.