Mukteswar Temple, in the heart of Bhubaneswar
near to Parsurameswar Temple
, dating back to the 10th century and stands as an important transition point between the early and the later phases of the Kalinga School of temple architecture. The temple is dedicated to
and is considered to be the gem of Orissan architecture, on account of its exquisite carved details and lavish sculptures. The intricate carvings show mixture of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu styles. The elaborately ornate stone arch at the entrance, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Orissa
is an architectural marvel.
A wonder in sandstone, the temple rises up to 35 ft with every inch of the surface carved. It is profusely decorated with the tales from the Panchatantra on its outer walls and features some of the most elaborate carvings and sculptural designs of elephants, monkeys, lions, and other animals. Jagamohana, the sculptured gateway has diamond shaped latticed windows and decorated interiors, with carvings of lively scenes depicting popular stories from Panchatantra dotting its walls. On the eastern side of the temple compound is a sacred tank, and in the south west corner is a well which is said to cure fertility problems. There are several small shrines in the compound which are elaborately carved.
Siddheshwar Temple, renowned for the standing figure of
Ganesh, is in the same compound. One of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, the Kedargauri Temple is across the path from Mukteswar Temple.