September 2, 2021: Parashurameshvara Temple is a historic Hindu temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, near Bindu Sagar Pond, Kedar Gouri Vihar, Old Town. The temple, which is devoted to the Hindu god Shiva, is one of Odisha’s oldest structures. A carved sculpture of the six-armed goddess Durga can be found on the temple walls. Saptamatrika figures – a group of seven goddesses are the first to appear in Bhubaneswar temples.
History of Parashurameshvara Temple
Bhubaneswar’s Parashurameshvara Temple is the city’s oldest temple. It is thought to have been built in the Nagara style around 650 CE. The Shailodbhavas, who worshipped Shiva as their family god, built the Parashurameshvara Temple. This temple has a vimana, or sanctum, and a bada, or curvilinear spire, that rises to a height of 40.25 feet above the ground (12.27 m).
It is the first temple to have an additional structure called jagamohana, compared to the earlier temples that had only the vimana. The temple is one of the earliest examples of the Nagara style of Hindu temple architecture, which emphasises vertical structure and can be seen in subsequent temples such as Mukteshvara, Lingaraj Temple, Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, and the Sun Temple in Konark.
The existence of the Devadasi tradition between the 7th and 8th centuries CE is substantiated by Parashurameshvara Temple, Rajarani Temple, and Vaitala Deula. Devadasis were girls who dedicated their life to the worship and service of a deity or a temple, and they usually had enjoyed high social rank.
Significance of Parashurameshvara Temple
Parashurameshvara represents Shiva as the lord of Parashurama, one of the avatars of Vishnu. The temple gets its name from Parashurama’s penance and Shiva’s subsequent blessing, according to Hindu mythology. On the 8th day of Ashadha (June–July), the temple celebrates Parashuramashtami, when the festival image of Lingaraj is carried to Parashurameshvara Temple and feasts.
The existence of the Devadasi tradition between the 7th and 8th centuries CE is substantiated by Parashurameshvara Temple, Rajarani Temple, and Vaitala Deula. Devadasis were girls who dedicated their life to the worship and service of a deity or a temple, and they usually had a high social rank. They were frequently taken to the king’s palace and then performed in front of the wide population.
The Parsurameswar Temple is a must-visit place during the Shardiya Navratri, Maha Shivratri, Shravan Maas, and Diwali festivals because the enormous Mela that takes place during these main celebrations are quite spectacular.
Major beautiful sculptures in the Temple
Despite the fact that the Parashurameshvara temple is a Shaiva mandir, it features sculpted depictions of many Shakta deities like Parsvadevatas on its walls. A carved picture of the six-armed goddess Durga can be found on the temple walls. Saptamatrika figures, a group of seven goddesses, are the first to appear in Bhubaneswar temples. These images are positioned between Ganesha and Virabhadra figures.
All other pictures, with the exception of Ganesha, are shown with their respective vahanas. On the temple’s wall are images of Ganga and Yamuna, as well as an eight-armed dancing Ardhanarishvara, an image of Siva-Parvati, and an image of Siva-Parvati.
In the rectangular niches at the foot of the porch, there are also figures of Vishnu, Indra, Surya, and Yama. On the southern wall is a sculpture of Kartikeya riding his peacock chariot. Other notable carvings include Shiva subduing the demon-king Ravana, who is seen attempting to uproot Shiva’s home, Mount Kailasa. In the temple, Shiva is sculpted as Nataraja in several tandavas.