Bhubaneswar

Talesvara Temple – Bhubaneswar

The partially ruined 9th century Talesvara (Taleswara) Temple is located on Kedar Gouri Road, approx 150m west of Parasuramesvara Temple.

Set within a small garden, the east-facing temple is in private ownership but appears to be very well maintained and looked after, despite the fact that much of the temple’s structure was lost long ago.

This is a very simple temple, with just a deul and no evidence that there was ever a connected jagamohana. The sanctum doorway is quite well preserved, although now covered with white paint which I confess I am not a great fan of. Above the doorway, the lintel is carved with the Navagraha, but note there that only eight celestrial bodies, Ketu is missing.

This is exactly what can be found at the nearby Parasuramesvara Temple, and has helped scholars to date this temple as later structures display the full set of nine deities, including Ketu.

An interesting image can be viewed in a niche on the north-facing exterior of the sanctum. This is a one-legged Shiva (Shiva-Ekapada, treated as a form of Bhairava in Odisha), with open mouth, protruding fangs, small beard, bulging eyes and an erect phallus.

Unfortunately, on my visit to the temple this image was partially covered and I wasn’t going to interfere with it. You can just about make out the single leg behind the material.

Elsewhere on the temple exterior there are hints of some ornamentation that is similar in style to the neighbouring Parasuramesvara Temple of broadly the same date, but much has been lost over time.

This is a living temple, the presiding deity being a Shiva linga with a circular Yoni pitha. In the south-east corner of the temple compound is an ancient well made of laterite blocks.

If you spend any significant time exploring the ancient temples of Bhubaneswar, you are bound to end up walking past this temple at some stage. It’s well worth a quick visit, and perhaps you will be lucky and get to see that one-legged Shiva.


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1 reply »

  1. I am constantly surprised by finding out that some of the architectural wonders of the world were painted, sometimes garishly, while we have only known them as naked. Even greek statures, with their pristine white marble, were heavily painted. Do you know or think these temples you visit were like that back in the day or were they always raw stone?
    I like the small hidden temples in India. Makes you feel like you’ve discovered something others don’t know about.

    Like

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