All photographs are mine. Click on the images for descriptions.
Mogul Tamsa (ମୋଗଲ ତାମସା) : A traditional play satirizing Mughal rule in Odisha. Written by the poet Bansiballabha Goswami about 280 years ago in an eclectic mix of Odia, Bangla, Urdu, Farsi & Hindi. Based in Bhadrak, the plot derides one 'Mirza Saheb' & portrays Hindu-Muslim harmony in the region. This was organised by the state culture department as part of the monthly folk-art performances. This excellent troupe (from Sanket Cultural Association) was led by renowned Guru Badal Sikdar.
Scenes from the play. This is the pankha-waali character, bearing a fan.
Scenes from the play. This is the paana-baali character, who sells 'paan's.
Scenes from the play. This is the gauduni character, the milkmaid.
Ancient pond aside the Markandeswara Deula, Puri.
Royal boats move across the Narendra in the Chandana Jatra.
Today is Rukmini Bibha, the day when Krishna-Jagannatha & Rukmini-Lakshmi are married. The couple are depicted in many examples, but perhaps the finest in Kalingan sculpture is this image housed in a small shrine in the village of Chaurasi.
Suna Besa of Balabhadra at Puri. This is the annual golden attire on top of the rathas, in which several tonnes of ancient jewellery are used to adorn the deities. How majestic he looks! Managed to get some shots.
Subhadra in Suna Besa.
Gaja-Lakshmi in architrave. The serene, bejewelled goddess sits on top of a lotus while attendants with fly-whisks stand on either side. Two elephants pour water. This image, symbolising auspiciousness, is an inevitable part of every Kalingan shrine. Mukteswara, 9th-century, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Ancient Bindusagara in the heart of Bhubaneswar, looking glorious as always. It is named so because drops of water 'bindu' collected from tirthas across the country were collected and poured into it during consecration, these drops forming the entire lake or 'sāgara'.
Matali (ମାତଳୀ)— the sarathi or charioteer of Balabhadra's ratha Taladhwaja. The three rathas each have their sārathī, yaksha, aswa, gandharva, raksaka, bhairava, dwārapala, chārana and more. #RathaJatra
Jaleswara Deula, 12th-century, Kalarahanga. Legend goes that a Kesari king who lived in the fort of Saranga Gada was devoted to Lingaraja. Each day he would visit the shrine built by his ancestors and worship the deity. However in the rainy months, it was not possible to travel so far; so Shiva ordained the construction of a temple beside a lotus pond that he frequented himself. So the king did and thus this shrine is called Jaleswara, lord of water(s). Shiva is fond of remaining submerged in water and Jaleswara is especially revered during the rainy months.
Gajapati Dibyasingha Deba completes a ritual and offers gifts to the newly-wedded couple.
Madanamohana and Lakshmi together in the Gajapati's palace (Srinahara). The newly married couple is ritually served by the king and queen of Odisha, a gesture depicting Jagannatha's overlordship of everything, including the royalty.
Yogini emerging from blazing fire. Face disfigured, one hand broken— yet so stunning! Her upraised fist wielding the sword is exceptionally realistic, as is the dynamism of the pose she assumes. 9th-century Chausathi Jogini Deula, Hirapur, Odisha. Swipe for a closer view of the delicately carved fist.
Parvati of Markandeswara, Puri. Wedding procession on Sitala Sasthi.
Markandeswara of Puri, all decked up for his wedding procession on Sitala Sasthi.
The imposing Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The third largest Kalingan temple, its construction was initiated by the Somavamshi ruler Jajati Kesari and completed by his successors in the 11th-century. It is of the kailasa-type according to Śilpa Prakāśa & Mādalā Pānji.
According to Kalingan silpa-sastras or architecture-treatises, temples can be divided into 36 major categories. One of them is kailāśa and is considered Shiva's favourite. The sribatsa-khandaśāla is likewise considered Vishnu's favourite, an example being the Jagannatha Temple.
Bindusagara right now. Today is Bhaunri (ଭଉଁରୀ), the last day of Lingaraja's Chandana Jata boat rides.
Krishna dances with his brother in a performance of 19th-century poet Dukhisyama Dasa's Krusna Lila. Once upon a time very popular in Ganjam, the original performance was split into 48 parts performed over an entire year. Now, it is as good as dead. #Odisha
Veteran Guru Haribandhu Reddy presents 19th-century poet Dukhisyama Dasa's Krusna Lila. Once upon a time very popular in Ganjam, the original performance was split into 48 parts performed over an entire year. Now, it is as good as dead. #Odisha
A yogini associated with fire, 9th-century Chausathi Jogini Deula, Hirapur, Odisha. In this ancient circle of goddesses many flamelike motifs recur— some symbolising birth (the fire of the newborn baby's room), others death (the fire of the cremation pyre). #TemplesOfKalinga
Grinning Bhairaba from the 9th-century Chausathi Jogini Deula, Hirapur. Imagine sitting face-to-face him on a dark moonless night, away from the commotion of the village, only a flickering earthen lamp and your ritual paraphernalia with you. Enough for several nightmares. Look at the eyes, the fangs and the composed grin — the excruciating detail of Kalinga's sculptors continues to surprise me.
Dwarapala, either Nandi or Mahakala from the 11th-century Brahmeswara Deula at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It was constructed by the queen Kolabati Debi (କୋଳାବତୀ ଦେବୀ), mother of the Somavansi king Udyota Kesari. One of the many Kalingan temples conceptualised by the women of yore.
Bindusagara, the sacred lake in the heart of the ancient Ekamra Khetra, present-day Bhubaneswar. Legends narrate its origin when Shiva plunged his trident into the earth to quench Parvati's thirst. Today, countless Kalingan temples built over centuries adorn its banks.
Ananta Basudeba Deula, built in the 13th century by Chandrika Debi, daughter of Anangabhima III. It is the only significant Vaishnava shrine in Bhubaneswar, a city where Shiva reigns supreme.
Indra, Gandhi Garabadu Complex, datable to the 12th or 13th century. He holds a prominent vajra in his right hand, a seldom seen astra. Though heavily eroded, I find the proportions pleasing.
Ananta Narayana, probably 8th century, Bindusagara. This is one of the earliest Odishan images of Vishnu with four ayudhas in his four hands. Sudarsana is a pillar, just like near Jagannatha.
Varaha. 13th-century Ananta Basudeba Temple, Bhubaneswar. One of the finest creations of the Ganga period in my humble opinion; look how supple the curves of his torso are, how intricate the jewelry & chakra are, and the fine curls of hair on his boar-head.
Nrusingha, probably from Ganga period, Bhabani Sankara Complex, Bhubaneswar.
ରଙ୍ଗାପୟର - the word this reminds me of. Varaha's feet sprinkled with coloured abira on Dola Purnima at 13th-century Ananta Basudeba, Bhubaneswar.
With half closed eyes, Shiva is depicted lost in the music and although several centuries have eroded the carving, one can still appreciate the fine hand that the sculptor possessed.
Mother and child, plinth of the 10th-century Sari Deula, Bhubaneswar.
Vajramastaka (ବଜ୍ରମସ୍ତକ) of the Mukteswara Deula, Bhubaneswar. The two beings on both sides of the central motif appear to be Shiva’s ganas. They climb onto the emblem, grabbing chains in their hands and frown at people who want to harm the temple. The vajramastaka is a motif meant to protect the temple; and 1000 years later, we are fortunate to have this marvel intact.