Kapilesvara Temple – Bhubaneswar

Located in the south-west outskirts of old Bhubaneswar and dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kapilesvara (Kapileswar) Temple is one of the largest temple complexes in the city comprising of over 30 separate monuments.

This was the first of over 60 ancient temples I hoped to visit and document during my week in Bhubaneswar, but it’s fair to say my quest didn’t get off to a very good start. Whilst I do spend an enormous amount of time planning my days in India many weeks before I actually arrive in the country, one thing I failed to do was check for any festival dates. So there I was, at a temple where the presiding deity is Shiva, on Maha Shivaratri.

Despite it being incredibly busy in the lanes immediately outside the temple entrance, being the only westerner around resulted in one of the temple priests/attendants quickly spotting me and coming over for a chat. Whilst extremely friendly, he informed me that I would not be allowed into the temple complex at all.

I knew that as a non-hindu I wouldn’t be allowed inside the Lingaraj Temple in the city, but I wasn’t expecting this to be the case anywhere else. At the time I started to contemplate the possibility that this stance could be the situation at many of the other temples on my long list, a concern that ended up not being realised thank goodness. I have subsequently discovered that the Kapilesvara temple is considered a satellite of the Lingaraj temple, so this may explain what was going on.

The temple attendant suggested I walk around the adjoining Manikarnika tank, which is immediately south of the temple complex. Rather frustrated and at the time still quite worried, I did just that. So all this blog comprises of I’m afraid is a handful of shots of the temple taken at a distance.

The temple was rebuilt sometime during the 14th century A.D. during the rule of Kapilendra of the Suryavamsi dynasty. Architectural elements and fragments incorporated into the rebuilt structures suggests that the original temple complex could be earlier than the 11th century A.D.

For those of you wanting to read more about the temple and get a greater understanding of the structures that I didn’t manage to see, the Wikipedia entry for the Kapilesvara Temple gives an excellent overview.

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1 reply »

  1. Interesting. As it happens I visited Khajuraho during Maha Shivaratri in 2017. While most of the temples are really just tourist attractions now, the Matangeshvara temple, just outside the main complex, is an active Shiva temple and was packed with people. It was a bit odd as I was the only non-Hindu there and able to wander around freely, but next door all the foreigners were examining the more sterile temples. I love the carvings but I also much prefer to see temples as active places of worship.

    Liked by 1 person

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