Gangeswari Temple: an architectural marvel that resembles The Sun Temple

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Built around 13th century, the temple is a fine specimen of Odishan architecture and culture

Gangeswari Temple, located at an old scenic village of Bayalish Baati near Gop (Puri district) is a temple rich for its old Kalinga architecture style, built around 13th century during the reign of the Eastern ganga Dynasty. To encourage tourism & let people know about its physical existence, measures have been taken by ASI to conserve and protect and make people aware of its rich culture and architectural value for the temple’s architectural style holds an uncanny resemblance to the present standing remains of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the majestic Sun Temple, KONARK.

The temple is a fine representation of ‘Pancharatha’ style of Kalingan architecture. The deity being worshipped in the sanctum is Goddess Gangeswari, the Ista Devi (family deity) of the rulers. The temple is constructed of sandstone, built in Khakra style, consisting of a Jagamohan, (Entrance porch) and having a foundation of Laterite stone.

Tantra was being practised there, the charismatic idol of Maa Gangeswari at the sanctum and "Barahi Devi" – female form of Baraha- one of the "Saptmatrika" sucking blood from a bowl signifies it.

Konark’s chief architect, Sibei Samantaray Mahapatra, belonged to this village and it is here that the 1,200 craftsmen, engineers and supervisors of Konark stayed whilst making their plans for constructing the sun temple. It is also said that much of the masonry for Konark was transported via log rafts on the nearby Patharabuha river. Adjacent to Gangeswari Temple is a large pond. It is what now remains of the silted up and blocked Patharabuha river that perhaps acted as a major artery once for the construction of the great Konark Sun Temple. The temple is a small one, but its association with Odisha’s rich cultural heritage depicted architecturally, indeed attracts eyes. People visiting the temple and its surrounding can feel the construction era of Odishan architects and their symbolical significance that gave birth to one of the architectural masterpieces – KONARK. The ruins of the carvings are still able to tell stories of bygone eras. The ancient monument still holds its head high as a symbol of pride of Odishan architecture & Culture.

Sourav Ku. Dash is Founder of Vermine Architects, Puri

30 Jul 2021
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By Sourav Ku. Dash


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