Prachi river valley in Odisha is known for its rich confluence of religions & heritage monuments, and among it, there’s a lesser known & lesser visited ancient temple by the name Madhukesvara.

Madhukesvara is located on the banks of Kusabhadra river (a distributary of Mahanadi like Prachi) at Deulidharpur in Banamalipur block (22 km from Bhubaneswar). It’s a 15.8 m Shiva temple built in Kalingan style with a rekha vimana and a pidha jagamohan. The important features of this temple is the torana (arch) which has resemblance with Mukteswar temple’s torana in Bhubaneswar. The stone inscription in proto Odia language, inside the temple mentions about Gajapati dynasty, but it seems like built during Somavamsi rule (as per the brick sizes used) & later renovated by Gajapatis in 15th century.

It’s a living temple built in pancharatha plan facing east with a Shivalinga . On the outer side, there’s not much images beyond parsvadevtas. The building technique used is aslar dry masonry with sand stone & bricks. Since it stands in isolation & located between a river & a canal (Gop canal), there is water logging issue during the monsoon. The common festival & rituals carried in the temples includes Mahashivratri, Makar Sankranti, Bada Osha etc. There’s one more heritage temple nearby on the other side of the Gop canal, with the named Bodhakesvara, which is locally referred as the elder brother of Madhukesvara.

Madhukesvara is without any basic facilities like public transport, toilet, & even without any provision shops nearby, hence visitors need to pre-make necessary arrangements on their own. The route : Bhubaneswar >>Uttara Square>>Balianta>>Balipatna>>Banamalipur market>>Deulidharpur>> Madhukesvara

Photo & Article: Taranisen Pattnaik

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