Rajarani Temple – The ‘Love Temple’ of Odisha
Rajarani temple is one of the most renowned and well-known 11th century temples located in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, India. Locally, it is popular as the ‘Love Temple’ as it has some sensual engravings and chisels of couples and women. There is no specific image or idol that could be found inside the sanctum of the temple, and this means that it is not linked with any particular Hinduism sect. Perhaps, it is the main reason that the temple allures attention of visitors and tourists in such large numbers from all around throughout the year, as it is open to all irrespective of which person worship which deity and such. Though, the images of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on the walls of the temples certainly depict the link of the place with Shivism.
At present, the temple is under the supervision and management of Archaeological Survey of India and is a ticket based monument, meaning tourists have to buy the ticket in order to get entry in the temple. This beautiful temple has definitely something different and unique to offer to visitors and that’s what makes the place aside from others that one can easily find out and listened to about in Bhubaneswar, also been referred to as the temple city of the country.
History of the temple:
As per historians, the temple was constructed in between the 11th and 12th century, though the exact era has not been depicted. In fact, from this temple’s architecture, it is believed and been taken as the exemplary example for other temples in Central India including the famous Khajuraho temples and the Totesvara Mahadeo temple located in Kadawa. Earlier, this temple was known as Indreswara temple and in 1903, it has been renovated and refurbished. Even after so many years, the temple is highly visited and holds prestigious place and importance among the holy places in the city.
Architecture of the temple:
The overall structure of the temple has typology and deep meaning attached with it, which never fails to captivate the attention of historians. Constructed with the red gold coloured sandstone, it is made in the Pancharatha style. It is constructed on a raised platform, comprising two structures, amongst which the central shrine ‘Vimana’, the main sanctum is at an approximate height of 17.9 metres with a curvilinear spire on the roof rising to a height of 59 feet and the Jagamohana viewing hall with a pyramidal roof. On the exterior front of the main temple, three panels are there representing images of Lord Shiva dancing along with Goddess Parvati and some attendants playing musical instruments in the background. Even, on the Western end of the temple, there is a carving representing the holy matrimony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. At the entrance of the temple, a Naga and a Nagini are present that actually led to the common belief especially among locals of the city that the Raja or the King, Rani or the Queen are always linked with the temple and this is why the temple is known as Rajarani temple. Though, historians never believed that. Aside from this, there are many other images on the walls of the temple involving slim and tall nayikas in different roles and moods. The most remarkable feature of this amazing place is the ‘Guardians of the Eight Directions’ sticking out from the base in eight different ways covering Yama, Indra, Agni, Varuna, Nirriti, Kubera, Vayu, and Ishana.
The famous Rajarani Music Festival held at Rajarani temple:
Rajarani music festival is widely acclaimed and famous annual celebration that is held every year at the Rajarani temple in between January 18 to January 20. It began in 2003 under the sheer guidance of BMC – Bhubaneswar Music Circle and is organized by the Department of Tourism of the Odisha Government. The equivalent emphasis was been laid on the Carnatic, Hindustani and Odissi style of classical music in the festival witnessing the active and enthusiastic participation of talented and dedicated professionals, musicians and artists coming from all parts of the nation to enjoy this splendid 3 day music festival. It is attended by a large number of visitors, not only from Odisha but also from each part of the country and worldwide.
How to Reach:
Located in the Khurda district in Bhubaneswar, the temple is easily accessible through any means of transportation including the buses, autos and cabs. The first step is to reach Bhubaneswar and then reach the temple.
• By Air – Biju Patnaik airport is located in the centre of the city and regular airlines fly back and forth daily from Bhubaneswar to other prominent cities including Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Nagpur, Chennai and more.
• By Road – The best means is to take Canter minibuses that are easily available from the bus stand leaving towards Konark or Puri.
• By Train – The rail connectivity is pretty good in the city and the railway station is also nearby. There are many trains that come to Bhubaneswar and heading to other cities.
• By cabs and private taxis – It could be one of the best and approachable ways to reach the temple from Bhubaneswar city. There are car rentals as well as travel agents like Best Choice Holiday providing such services and arranging your tours as per your expectations, so simply get in touch with them and use the services.
Time to visit the temple and Fees:
Rajarani temple is open all 7 days and the time to visit is in between 6:30 AM to 7 PM. There is no entrance fee for children below 15 years of age. For Indians, the entrance ticket is of Rs. 15 and for foreigners, it is Rs. 200.
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