India | Orissa

Gandharadi Twin Temples

The twin temples are located at Gandharadi, in Orissa, near the river Mahnadi. One of these is the Nilamadhav temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and the other is the Siddheshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The two identical temples are built on a common raised plinth. The temples are built of sandstone, while the deities are of fine-grained chlorite. These temples were built by the Bhanja king Ranabhanja of Khinjlimandala.

The shrine walls are divided into 5 vertical segments decorated by flat pilasters. The tower of the shrine is segmented into 5 parts. The corner portions of the tower segments are divided into 7 levels, of 3 sections each. The base molding is of three levels. The lowest level is a hoof-shaped portion that is decorated with an elaborate arch motif, and the second is a pot-shaped section. The topmost level is shaped like a sloping roof.

Each of the temples has rectangular front halls with two-tiered flat roofs. There is no clerestory or air-passage between the two roofs. There is a central diamond grille window in the walls of the halls. Flanking the windows and the door are serpent styled pillars.

Some antique images are worshipped in shrines nearby.These include images of Ganesh in the temple of Paschima Somanath and a beautiful image of eight armed Durga worshipped under a banyan tree,the latter one being badly eroded due to exposure to bad weather. Portions of beautifully carved door steps in black chlorite and other decorative motifs have been unearthed from this area. A five foot tall image of Lord Hanuman is being worshipped near the village Jagati and a beautiful carved Navagraha slab has been found in the nearby cornfield. The Archeological Survey of India preserves this place.

Updated on 30th January, 2016


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