Makareswar Temple – Decadence of Artistic Tradition


    Located at the corner of Badhei Banka Chowk, Bhubaneswar, Makareswar Temple lies in close vicinity of Papanasini Tank. Like other late Ganga period temples, this temple also depicts a very simple appearance with its external facade being devoid of any elaborate decoration. Decadence in sculptural and architectural activities during this period can be linked to the then prevailing political turmoil and instability.

    Makareswar temple is consisted of a deul and a jagamohana. Deul is consisted of bada, gandi and mastaka. Bada is constructed in pancha-ratha pattern and is consisted of pabhaga, jangha and baranda. Pabhaga is made of five regular mouldings bereft of any decoration over the same.  Jangha is divided into two almost equal storeys separated by a madhya-bandhana of three mouldings. Baranda is consisted of nine mouldings. No images are found except the parshva-devatas, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati, housed in lower raha niches. Two storey plan at Raha-paga has two niches, lower one is larger than the upper. The upper storey is very small to house an image. A unique feature here is the presence of kirtimukha topped with udyata lion in the middle of the baranda mouldings.

    Gandi follows the pancha-ratha plan of bada and consisted of ten bhumis (floors). Above the baranda mouldings, over the raha-paga, are placed a vajra-mastaka with two superimposed chaityas. It is topped with a gaja-krant motif. On the raha-paga, below the beki, are put deities in all four directions. The same space over the kanika-paga is placed addorsed-lions.

    Jagamohana follows the pancha-ratha plan of the deul. Its pabhaga is made up with five mouldings devoid of any decoration. Jangha is divided into two equal storeys separated by a madhya-bandhana of three mouldings.  Baranda is of seven mouldings. Raha-paga is decorated with a large gavaksha (window) on lower storey and a small niche on the upper storey. Gavaksha has five plain balusters decorated with maidens. Niche in the upper storey has shikshadana-motif however in very bad state of preservation. Entrance to the jagamohana has Gaja-Lakhsmi on lalata-bimba and nava-grhas over its architrave.

    The complex has another temple, datable to 12th century CE. This small temple has a deul and a projected entrance. It may have a jagamohana at a time however it has not survived. It is built in pancha-ratha pattern with its external facade devoid of much decoration. Pabhaga is of five mouldings, jangha divided into two equal storeys, baranda of five mouldings. Anga-shikharas are put above the baranda mouldings, but above these the gandi is left very plain.

    Parshva-devatas, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati are in situ. Entrance doorway has majorly reconstructed. It has gaja-lakshmi at lalata-bimba. Dvarpalas are at door jambs, enclosed within pidha-mundis.

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