Sukhmesvara Temple – Bhubaneswar

Less than 1 km east of the Kapilesvara Temple within a residential area beside a pretty tank, the small Sukhmesvara (Sukhamesvara) Temple was a chance discovery.

The temple was not on my radar at all, and indeed there’s very little mention of it on the internet at all. I came across it thanks to a large blue sign at the top of the road I was walking along. These signs can quite often be found in Bhubaneswar, which help immensely in locating temples and confirming you are where you think you are.

Believed to have been built sometime between the 16th and 17th century A.D, there is little more I can add to this post aside from presenting the photos as a record of what there is to be found here.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, with an interesting carving on the roof of a woman in possibly a birthing position, but not appearing to be pregnant. Clearing her fertility aspect is emphasized by the representation of the genitals, similar to the Lajjā Gaurī carvings you can see all across India. Interestingly I have also come across very similar imagery at Chave Dewood, one of the incredibly interesting and as yet not fully understood sites that is part of The Konkan Petroglyphs.

This imagery is not limited to India either, there are many example across Europe too, in particular Ireland and the UK. Here we call them Sheela na gigs, and there is much disagreement by scholars as to what they are meant to represent.

It’s a lovely peaceful location, and despite it being Maha Shivaratri was extremely quiet. The locals, obviously a little curious by my presence, were immensely friendly and keen to show me around.

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