Bhubaneswar

Sampoornajaleswara Temple – Bhubaneswar

Originally dedicated to Lord Shiva, the 9th-10th century Sampoornajaleswara Temple (confusingly sometimes called Nagesvara Temple) is located on Kotiteertha Lane heading towards Bindu Sagar Tank on the west (left) side of Lingaraja West Canal. It is directly opposite the less decorated Subarnajaleswara Temple.

The east-facing temple only has a vimana with an attached porch, a much later addition as it truncates the Navagraha panel above the entrance way. Unlike it’s sister temple just across the narrow canal, here the exterior of the temple is full of sculptural embellishments.

It was quite a surprise to come across this temple, I really wasn’t expecting to find such fine ornate carvings at a monument that doesn’t seem particularly well known in the city.

It many respects some of the carvings are similar to that found at Mukteshwar Temple, but here you will almost certainly have the monument to yourself. Some of these carvings are incredibly small and detailed, testament to the craftsmen and artisans that were deployed here, who probably had quite a lot of fun creating all the images we see today.

In recent years the temple has been renovated and restored by the Orissa State Archaeology Department. They’ve done a really good job, my only complaint being that many of the stones have been marked with white paint which does deface the monument to a degree. I presume over time this paint will weather away, but I can’t help but wonder why some other solution couldn’t have been used that was a little less permanent in nature.

Despite some really wonderful carvings, all of the central niches are now empty. In these earlier temples the statues that would have been housed here were standalone images, and so over the years they have subsequently disappeared. Later temples in Orissa had the images carved into the fabric of the structure itself, and so remained in-situ (although, sadly, often damaged now).

This temple no longer appears to be living, as the sanctum is now empty.

Sampoornajaleswara Temple certainly seems to be a bit of a hidden secret in Bhubaneswar, it’s fair to say it is overshadowed by the larger and more well-known temples in a city. I would highly recommend anyone touring the ancient temples of the old city to pay this one a visit.


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