About the Temple
The temple located at a quaint village of Bayalish Baati near Gop (Puri district) is believed to have been built as a prototype for the majestic Konark Temple. Bayalish Baati village is around 57 KM from Bhubaneswar and 35 KM from Puri. The temple was built during the reign of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in Odisha around the 13th century AD. The presiding deity of the temple is Goddess Gangeswari, who was the Ista Devi ( family deity) of the rulers.
The temple is built according to “Pancharatha” style of Kalingan architecture. As with any temples associated with “Shakti” in Odisha, the “deula” or the sanctum of the temple is built in Khakra style, it consists of a “Jagamohana” or the entrance porch usually used for offering prayers and other temple activities.
The temple practiced tantrism, the enigmatic idol of Maa Gangeswari at the sanctum sanctorum and “Barahi Devi” – female form of Baraha- one of the “Saptmatrika” sucking blood from a bowl elucidates as much.
The carving of an idol identified as ‘Muchalinda Buddha” – where a five headed serpent shields Gautam Buddha from the elements of nature after his enlightenment- on the outer walls of the temple makes for an interesting observation. According to historians, “Vajrayana Buddhism” or Tantric form of Buddhism originated in Odisha and bears much similarities with hindu tantrism and the fact that Prachi Valley was the cradle for syncretisation of Buddhism, Hinduism and Tantrism in Odisha coupled with the fact that after Adi Shankaracharya’s visit to Odisha around 10th century AD, Buddha was accepted as one of the dasavatar’s of lord Vishnu explains the presence of Lord Buddha in many temples built after 10th century AD in Odisha.
The adjoining area near the pond located next to the temple was also believed to have been the dwelling place of chief architect Bisu Moharana and 1200 other craftsmen during their 12 year shift in building the beautiful Konark Temple.
There is no public transport to the place, so either one hires a cab or auto or best option is to take your own vehicle.
One can reach the temple from either Puri via Gop. Bayalish Baati Village is near Gop. Gop is around 32 KM from Puri and 14 KM from Konark
The roads apart from the odd rough patch and the landscape are beautiful & gives the essence of rural Odisha
However there are no public amenities like toilets, hotels etc. So if you are planning to visit the temple from either Puri or Konark – either you start just after breakfast or after lunch. Or better still take packed lunch if you want to explore the beautiful heritage of Prachi Valley.
The moss laden exterior walls and plants sprouting from the crevices though gives the temple that look of antiquity, one cant help but notice the neglect.
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