We proceeded to Shri Dadhi Bamana temple ruins. Dadhi Baman Temple was a real big surprise . Dilip Bhai had been insisting on me to take him to this place as he knew the ancestral heritage of this place since Kapilendra Deva times. One of his key minister has built this temple in the 14th century. The temple is now being reconstructed by the State Dept. The Stone inscription mentions that “By the Order of the Lord of Nilagiri (blue hill) who is the lord of the three worlds (Jagannatha) , there was born in Odradesa a king named Kapilendra , the ornament of the Solar Line – Quoting from Sri K.C. Panigrahi’s History of Odisha. Sri Kapilendra Deva – remains one of the most mightiest and significant King of Odisha.
Current Condition – The Vimana , Jagamohan and the natya mandira have been completely destroyed perhaps by the initial invasions and subsequently it has crumbled down.??? We did notice some amount of restoration work which has begun, however not happening at the moment . The foundation has some of the exquisite and remarkable stone works. The deities are wooden images of Jagannatha , Balabhadra and Subhadra.
Our next stop before lunch was Sri Bhadreswara Temple, Near Katikata-Mahanga Road. Possibly 12 kms away from Salepur just before Katikata Village . This was a well preserved temple , and the artefacts were remarkable .
Built around 11th Century . There was no prior information on this temple , except few short reference of a very ancient temple . A Shiva temple , though it had a lot of Carvings . The Parasava Devatas – Goddess Parvati , Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha have exquisitely carved. Very unusual shape , or perhaps built very early period of Somavanshis / Keshari Dynasty. There were however some of beautiful carvings of the Buddhist period and travellers.
By now the collective knowledge of the group had tremendously increased . Having Shibaji Babu and Ashish with their deep insights to Buddhists and Shaivaite practices came in very handy . Abhigyan – the youngest among us , had been documenting each of the places we visited . We had almost forgotten the Summer Noon Heat , when we decided to have lunch at Choudwar . It was indeed a great discovery of nondescript hotel near to the Kajal Khana bus stop. Odia Food served in most beautiful and humble spread . A very fulfilling lunch for everyone , we set upon seeing some of the places in Choudwar .
Our next halt was on the way to Sri Buddhalinga Temple at Choudwar Fort. Another neglected piece of historical monument , and excavation work is about to be taken by the ASI . Choudwar, located 3.5kms from Cuttack on the northern banks of the Mahanadi, served as the state’s capital for 270 years till the Ganga rulers shifted their capital to Cuttack between 1211 and 1230 with the construction of Barabati Fort. Eight prominent Asta Sambhu (Shiva Pithas) temples were established between 989 and 1211 A.D by the Keshari Dynasty in and around Choudwar, most of which are mostly in ruins now.
The Buddhalinga Temple – 11th Century , now restored by ASI , is a functional temple still .
This is a 11th Century temple built by the Somavamshis , the presiding deity is a patalaphuta Sivalinga within a circular chlorite yonipitha which is 1.40 mtrs below the chandrasila. On the basis of architectural features and inscription engraved at the door jambs, the original temple can be dated to the 11th century A.D. i.e. the late Somavamsi rule. There a pond right in front of the temple as well.
Facing East and the temple is decorated with khakharamundis enshrining Dikpalas in the lower jangha, pidhamundis in the upper jangha, miniature rekhamundis top-mounted by gajakranta motif on the raha pagas and gaja-vidala, amorous couple, etc. The construction is a Rekha vimana and pidha jagamohana of Kalingan order. Laterite is used both for the temple and the compound wall whereas sandstone veneering of 1.50 mtrs height is found in the sanctum
The next stop was an ancient site with a legend from Mahabharata days. While it is now known as Badhi Park , the Odia Legend and local still address it as Virat Raja Ra Gadi (Seat) . Interesting and definitely more intriguing .
The archaeological remains of Badhi park reveal two phases of structural evidence after the recent excavation conducted by A.S.I Bhubaneswar Circle. The first phase has a laterite temple having pabhaga of four mouldings and four entrances. The second phase has a raised pillared hall with eight pillars; two on each side of laterite are still in situated over the earlier one. Most of these ones came up during the 10 Century A.D , Somavanshi Period.
Overall now nicely maintained by the Horticulture Dept and the ASI . Yes a lot of places around Choudwar/Jagatpur relates to the Mahabharata Period -(6000 years) , more exploration and research needs to be ascertained to the period of events , when the Pandavas were on exile . Subsequently places like this have come under influence of Buddhism and its practitioners . Not very far from this place are the buddhist sites dating back to 10 BC .
This part of Kataka (Cuttack) is more than 1000 years old , and there many temples which dates’ back to 10th century A.D
We proceeded to visit Sri Uttareshwar Temple –
Built by the Somavanshi King – Mahabhavagupta – Udyota Kesari (1040-1065 A.D.) , who is considered to be the Greatest Monarch of this dynasty . Several temples in Bhubaneshwar , have been made through his endowments.
The temple, located on the right side of the N.H.- 42 leading from Manguli to Dhenkanal is situated at a distance of 4 km on a branch road from Durgabazar chowk, Chaudwar towards Agrahata. In this living temple, the presiding deity is a patalaphuta Sivalinga within a circular yonipitha made of black chlorite and 1.50 m below the entrance level. It is one among the Astasambhus of Chaudwar Kataka. The location of this place is unique , however the surroundings of this magnificent temple adds to the antiquity of the place.
Rekha vimana and pidha jagamohana of Kalingan order. Laterite blocks are used both for the temple and compound wall whereas the doorjambs of both the vimana and jagamohana, udyotasimha are in sandstone .
We ended the tour post this visit and another day of exciting visit . To be continued.