Rich Heritage of Bhanja Dynasty

By: Rabindra Kumar Rana

Dakhineswar Shiva temple/Nrusinghanath Swami Temple, along with its corner shrines has been erected within a spacious compound in the middle of the village Baragam, Bhanjanagar, Ganjam.

The temple is assigned to the period of Bhanja Dynasty of Ganjam about 8th Century AD. While the Bhaumakaras held their sway over Tosali in the eastern coastal region, exactly at that time, the Bhanjas emerged as the ruler of Khinjali mandala as a feudatory power of the Bhaumakaras. The liberal attitude of the Bhaumakaras facilitated the Bhanjas to carve out an extensive kingdom covering the Ganjam, Nayagarh, PhulbanI, Boudh and Subarnapur districts of modem Odisha. Some Bhanja Rulers –
Nettabhanja Deva I ( 730-750 A.D)
Silabhaiija Deva I ( 765-775 A.D)
Satrubhanja Deva I ( 775-798 A.D)
Ranabhanja Deva I ( 798 to 858 A.D)
Nettabhanja III ( 860-895 A.D) etc..

So it is clear that, the Temple was built by the Bhanja Rulers of Ganjam. On the Temple the corner shrines are all dedicated to different Shiva Lingas. The pattern of the Shiva temple recalls minding the establishment of Panchayatana temples in Odisha.

The main temple displays characteristics features of the Parsurameswar temple of Bhubaneswar and Singhanath Temple of Gopinathpur, Cuttack. The images of Ganesh, Kartikeya and Parvati are installed in Rahapaga riches of the temple as Parswadevatas. A Modern shrine has been built in front of the Rahapaga rich of the northern side containing Goddess Parvati. There is a recessed Bandhana with a series of animals carved within it.

The outer walls of the main temple are decorated with the figures of Ajaikapada Bhairava, Uma-Maheswara, amorous couples. The interior of the Jagamohana displays images of a bull, Shiva-Parvati and Kartikeya. The lintel over the entrance door leading to the sanctum contains eight planets instead of the regular nine planets of the later temples of Odisha.

This Beautiful Temple is on the Way of Odagan-Bhanjanagar Main Road. It is only 13 Km From Bhanjanagar and 5 km From Belaguntha towards Odagaon. 

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