Weather :

Ideal time : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : Indians: INR 15,
Foreigners: INR 200,
Children (below 15 years): No entry fee

Timings : 6:30 AM - 7:00 PM

Rajarani Temple, Bhubaneswar Overview

A popular 11th-century Hindu temple that can be found in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, in India; the Raja Rani Temple is locally known as the 'love temple' because it contains some sensuous carvings of women and couples. No images can be found inside the sanctum, and hence the temple is not associated with any particular sect of Hinduism. This is perhaps exactly where the charm of the temple comes from: the temple belongs to no specific sect and is open to all people irrespective of the deity that they worship and admire. However, the figures of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati carved on the walls strongly indicate that the temple has certain associations with Shaivism.

According to historians, it was constructed at some time between the 11th and 12th century, but the exact period has not yet been ascertained. In fact, it is from the Rajarani Temple that the architecture of other temples in central India is believed to have been developed; the most notable examples being the Khajuraho temples and the Totesvara Mahadeo temple in Kadawa. The Rajarani Temple is currently under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India and is maintained as a ticketed monument, that is tourists need to purchase a ticket to enter the temple.

The Raja Rani Temple has an altogether different charm to offer, and this is perhaps what sets it aside and apart from the other temples that one can find scattered all across Bhubaneswar, which is now rightly known as the temple metropolis of Orissa.

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History of Rajarani Temple

The Rajarani Temple was constructed between the 11th and 12th century and was earlier known as the Indreswara Temple. The spectacular temple had to be refurbished and renovated in the year 1903 after it reached a dilapidated state. It continues to hold a prestigious place among the holy places in Bhubaneswar even after all these years.

Architecture of Rajarani Temple

The structure of the Rajarani Temple has a lot of symbolism and deep meaning attached to it, that never fails to intrigue historians. The striking temple was constructed using a reddish gold kind of sandstone, which is known as Rajarani in the local dialect, and hence this name for the temple. The glorious temple has been constructed in the pancharatha style. This means that the temple is built on a raised platform and comprises of two structures. The central shrine is known as the vimana or sanctum, which is at the height of 17.9 metres and has a curvilinear spire over the roof that rises to a height of 59 feet. The viewing hall is known as jagamohana and has a pyramidal roof. 

The vimana is the main sanctum, while the jagamohana is the place from where the devotees can view the sanctum. Three panels can be found on the facade of the main temple, which show images of Lord Shiva dancing and enjoying with his partner Goddess Parvati, in the company of some attendants who are playing musical instruments in the background. A carving depicting the holy matrimony between Shiva and Parvati can also be found on the western side, just below the central niche of the temple.

A Naga and Nagini are present at the entrance of the temple, which led to the widespread common belief among the locals that the king, or the Raja, and the queen or the Rani are associated with the temple, and this is why the structure is called the Raja Rani Temple. This belief, however, is not accepted by historians.

Other than the marriage scenes of Shiva, Nataraj and Parvati; the sculptures in the walls around the temple also depict certain additional scenes, and also include sophisticated tall and slim nayikas; in different moods and roles. While some are seen holding a branch of a tree, some are fondling with their children or turning their heads away from an emaciated ascetic; while others are attending to their toilet, looking into a mirror, taking off an anklet, caressing pet birds and playing musical instruments. One can also find erotic or mithuna figures that are carved in high relief on the projecting portions of the uparajangha.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of this majestic temple is the 'Guardians of the Eight Directions' which protrudes from the base in eight different directions. These eight guardians are Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirriti, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera and Ishana.

Rajarani Music Festival at Rajarani Temple

The Rajarani Music Festival is an annual celebration that takes place at the temple every year from January 18 to January 20. The festival initially began in the year 2003 with the help and guidance of the Bhubaneswar Music Circle (BMC) and is being organised at the Rajarani Temple by the Department of Tourism of the Government of Odisha ever since.

The festival lays equal emphasis on Hindustani, Carnatic and Odissi styles of classical music, and witnesses the active participation of talented musicians from all parts of the country who come together in this enjoyable three-day festival. The Rajarani Music Festival is frequented by a large number of tourists not only from the various parts of the state but also from all over the country.

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