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Lakheswar Temple At Phulnakhara In Cuttack – Odisha

Lakheswar Temple is one of the important Shiva shrines in Prachi Valley of Odisha. The temple is dedicated to Shiva. It is situated at the eastern bank of the Prachi River very close to Phulnakhara about 16 kms from Bhubaneswar. The temple is located a few yards off the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar road.

The temple is also known as Bila-Lakshesvara since another Shiva temple of the same name exists about 5 miles away at the village Barimunda on the left bank of the river Kuakhai.

Sanctum Sanctorum Or Garbha Griha Of Lakheswar Temple

The sanctum sanctorum of Lakheswar Temple has a Shivling within the Shaktipith. This is the presiding deity of the temple. The floor of the sanctum is about 3 feet below the surface of the temple complex. This Shivlinga is dedicated to Lakheswar Shiva. A brass image of Chandrashekara is inserted in the back-wall of the sanctum. It is being worshipped as the chalanti pratima of the presiding deity. Inner walls of the sanctum are covered with glazed tiles. Masonry steps of the descending order are provided for approach towards the sanctum.

The sanctum has one doorway towards the jagamohana. The door frame is decorated in three vertical sections. The bottom part of the door frame is carved with khakhra mundi on each side. Nandi and Bhringi figures are housed in either side khakhara mundi niche of the door frame. The doorway walls are covered with glazed tiles. The centre of the doorway lintel is depicted with the paintings of Gaja-Lakshmi and Saraswati figures. Navagrahas are carved on the architrave above the doorway lintel. Makara head is carved on each side of the navagraha slab. All the grahas are depicted in yogasana posture with usual attributes in their hands. The outer door frame is depicted with creepers with the flower medallions. Two Shivlings are found worshipped on the left side of the doorway while a huge Shivalinga is occupied on the right side of the doorway for public worship.

There is no authentic historical record with regard to the exact date of the original Lakshesvara Temple. The present temple is certainly a renovated temple. On the basis of the detached doorway lintel noticed at the temple complex and broken images of parsva devatas, the construction period of the temple can be tentatively assigned to the late Ganga period.

The present of Lakheswar Temple is a completely renovated and it has been built on the ruins of the original temple. Lakheswar Temple consists of three structures - vimana, jagamohana and nata mandapa. Some additional shrines are on the north-east outer corner of the temple complex. These additional shrines have been erected in the twentieth century. The temple is built in both sandstones and laterite blocks and it faces east.

Vimana Of Lakheswar Temple At Phulnakhara

The vimana of the temple is a pidha deula and its height is about 18 feet from the surface of the temple complex. It has three vertical parts such as bada, gandi and mastaka. The bada of the vimana is pancanga type i.e. having five component parts namely pabhaga, tala jangha, bandhana, upper jangha and baranda.

All the component parts of the bada are devoid of decorative elements. The central niches of the three sides of the bada of vimana are housed with the parsva devata images of Ganesha, Karttikeya and Parvati.

Ganesha is the parsva devata of the southern side. The four armed image of Ganesha is carved in standing posture on the double petalled lotus pedestal. He displays broken tusk in upper right hand, rosary in lower right hand, a pot of ladoos in upper right hand and kuthara (hatchet) in lower left hand. The deity Ganesha wears a sarp yajnopavita in his body. Mouse, the conventional mount of deity is carved on the right of the pedestal. The backside of the head of deity is carved with prabhamandala, which is depicted in lotus petalled designs. The sculpture Ganesha is made of black chlorite stone. The slab of deity measures 1 foot 10 inches in width and 3 feet in height respectively. The sculpture Ganesha is made in the last decade of the twentieth century and it is housed in the pidha mundi niche.

Kartikeya is the parsva devata of the western side. The four armed image of Karttikeya is carved in standing posture on the double petalled lotus pedestal. He displays arrow in upper right hand, varada mudra in lower right hand, bow in upper left hand and the rooster cock in lower left hand respectively. Devasena is carved in standing posture on the  left of the pedestal. She is lifting the feet of the rooster cock. The backside of the head of deity is decorated with trefoil makara headed arch crowned by the kirtimukha motif. Flying apsara figure is carved on either side of the makara headed arch. The sculpture Kartikeya is made of black chlorite stone. The slab of deity measures 1 foot 1½ inches in width and 2 feet 9 inches in height respectively. The image Karttikeya is housed in the pidha mundi niche. Both the original images of Ganesha and Kartikeya are broken by Kalapahar when he attacked the Hindu temples of Cuttack and Puri districts. These broken images of Ganesha and Kartikeya have been preserved near the northern side bada wall of the jagamohana. The earlier broken images of Ganesha and Kartikeya were recently replaced by the present images.

Devi Parvati is the parsva devata of the northern side. The original image of Devi Parvati is completely broken and it was not found in the northern side central niche of the bada. A detached head of Devi Parvati is being worshipped in the northern side central niche of the bada. It is generally considered by the local people as the head of Devi Parvati. There is an additional flat roof shed built in front of Devi Parvati. Lion, the conventional mount of Devi Parvati is not found near the detached head.

The gandi of the vimana is a pyramidal superstructure. It consists of three flat shaped pidhas and each pidha is decorated with tankus in all sides. The gandi is devoid of decorative elements. Deula charini figures and dopichha lions are completely absent in their respective places above the gandi.

The mastaka of the vimana consists of beki, ghaeta, above which there is another beki, amalakasila, khapure, kalasa, ayudha (trident) and dhvaja.

The jagamohana of the temple is a flat roof structure and its height is about 10 feet from the surface of the temple complex.

The sculpture of Devi Annapurna is found inserted in a niche of the northern side bada wall of the jagamohana. The four armed image of Devi Annapurna is carved in lalitasana pose on the double petalled lotus pedestal. One of her legs is put on the pedestal while the right leg is pendant. A lion figure is carved on the pedestal. A female devotee figure is carved in kneeling posture with folded hands found on the left of the pedestal. She holds the stalk of a full blown lotus flower in upper right hand, kalasa in lower right hand, nagapasa in upper left hand and rosary (japamala) in lower left hand respectively. The image of Devi Annapurna is made of black chlorite stone. It measures 1 foot 6 inches in width and 2 feet 1 inch in height respectively.

Both the structures of vimana and jagamohana are thickly covered with lime wash.

The nata mandapa of the temple is a flat roof structure and its height is about 11 feet from the surface of the temple complex. The roof of the nata mandapa is supported by 10 pillars. Dasavatara figures of Lord Vishnu are finely depicted on the pillars of the nata mandapa.

There are some additional shrines are also built on the outer north-east corner of the temple complex. They are Durga mandir, Rama mandir and Hanuman mandir. All the additional shrines are built in the last decade of the twentieth century. These shrines are constructed in the rekha type of the Odishan temple architecture.




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