About the Temple
This miniature yet ornately carved temple marks a watershed moment in the Kalinga School of Architecture, where the architecture and the craftsmanship attain a level of perfection which wasn’t seen before. The temple is believed to have been constructed between 950-975 AD during the initial years of the Somavamsi dynasty reign in Odisha.
The temple is significant achievement in a lot of respects, for one it marks the transition of Kalingan Architecture from its evolution phase to an age of experimentation and finesse. The dash of exuberance is best exhibited in the jewelry adorned by the dainty “Naikas” (exquisite female figurines). The seamless attachment of the “Jagamohana” (entrance hall) with the “deula” (Sanctum sanctorum). The temple is an architectural composition of remarkable proportion and impeccable craftsmanship.
The second aspect is the completion of the temple ushered in an era of stability and a period where Kalingan Architecture set the platform to reach its zenith in the next few centuries.
Perhaps that is the reason, the presiding deity Lord Shiva known by the name of Mukteswara- which literally means the lord of freedom. The images of ascetics in different meditative poses also denotes that the temple is dedicated to the “spiritually liberated” ones.
Among sculptures of indolent female figurines, scenes from nature, various gods and goddesses and ascetics one can find the image of sage Lakulisa-the preceptor of the Pashupata sect of Shaivism. Sage Lakulisa is believed to have been the initial propagator of Shaivism in this part of the world.
The beautifully carved ceiling is an interesting aspect which is reminiscent of temples of Central India, one wont find it anywhere else in Kalinga Architecture. It can attributed to the fact that the Somavamsi’s came to Odisha from Central India.
Mukteswara cultural Festival held from 14th Jan to 16th Jan is a big draw.
Mukteswara Dance Festival