Uttaresvara, Bhimesvara and Asta Shambhu Temples – Bhubaneswar

Sharing the same temple precinct around Godabari Kund tank on the north bank of Bindu Sagar, Uttaresvara and Asta Shambhu temples are a short walk 120m west of Talesvara Temple.

Uttaresvara and Bhimesvara Temples

Largely restored, plastered, and painted bright yellow, this temple has clearly been subjected to many alterations over the centuries. The rectangular flat-roofed jagamohana is very similar in style, proportions and footprint to the nearby 7th century Parasuramesvara Temple, but here there is almost no ornamental carvings on the exterior.

Another parallel that can be drawn with Parasuramesvara is the slightly odd insertion of windows into the jagamohana, which appear to be a little haphazard and do not maintain symmetry. It is largely thought that many of the other alterations here occurred at some point during the 19th century.

Images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Kama (with Rati and Priti) are set into the exterior wall of the sanctum, but there is very little else to see in terms of exterior art. The presiding deity is Shiva, but on my visit this temple was locked.

The second largest structure in the compound belongs to Bhimesvara Temple, situated immediately north of Uttaresvara and has been similarly treated with plaster and yellow paint.

The sanctum houses a Shiva linga with a circular yoni pitha, which was also locked.

Asta Shambhu

Believed to have been built in the 10th century A.D, Asta Shambhu is a collection of eight temples ranging in height from 4.2m to 6.1m.

They are arranged in one alignment of five temples (Panchu Pandava), with the remaining three situated a little closer to Godabari Kund. “Ashta” means “eight”, “Sambhu” refers to an alternative name of Lord Shiva, who all these temples are dedicated to.

The temples are relatively plain, but they do all have the traditional Navagraha (nine celestial bodies of the universe) panel carved above the sanctum doorways.

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