Kichakeswari Temple, Khiching

About Kichakeswari Temple Information-Khiching

Kichakesvari / Kichakeshwari / Kichakeswari temple is located at a longitude 85° 49° 58° degree east and latitude of 21° 55° 39° degree north and it is 1220 ft above sea level. The height of the temple is 100 ft (30 m) with the total area measuring 1764sq.ft. The temple faces east.

Built in the glorious times of the royal rulers of Mayurbhanj, this temple has the unique feature of being constructed using chlorite slabs throughout. The construction of this temple is unique and only one of its kind. The temple and sculptures are built in blue fine-grained chlorite an enduring stone with qualities for elaborate ornamentation.

Khichakeswari, known as thakurani or mother goddess, represents an image of eight-armed Chamunda, which has been set-up on the altar of the Lord Shiva temple. According to legend the deity Goddess Kichakeswari was worshipped by king Kichak, a character in the epic Mahabharata. The Chamunda or the presiding deity of the Kichakeshwari temple is a large ten-armed skeletal image with prominent veins, ribs and sunken belly, wearing a garland of skulls and seated on a dead body. The images in the temple are unusually huge and radiate extraordinary beauty- tall and trim, with tender `archaic` smiles, radiating warm-heartedness and refinement. Especially good are a virtually freestanding Mahisasuramardini and a seated Lord Shiva with his wife Parvati, almost 6 ft. (2m.) in height. The temple walls are embedded with a pancharatha on each of its facades, and the tall columnar elements portray a similarity to the fragmentation of lamination as seen on the Karnataka temples of the same era. Here, however, sculpture and ornament continue to flourish, giving a glistening opulence of texture, ornate in its sprightliness. The mukhasala (or the interior room), one of the last on a rectangular arrangement, has an intricately bejeweled roof, one of the friezes portraying an army on the march. The image in the sanctum is a flawlessly preserved Varahi, her outsized figure contrasting with her richly carved ringlets. She holds a fish in one hand.

The temple also houses within its compound the famed Chandrasekhar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The shrine of Chandrasekhar stands majestically intact within the cell along with the plinth, the walls and the shikhara (the spire). The mastaka portion (top portion), which had fallen, has been restored with great care in the first quarter of the present century. The decorations of the lintel and the doorway jambs and the figures of the doorkeepers, Chanda and Prachanda captivate the tourists with their fine carvings.

A brick mound called ‘Itamundia’ situated to the southeast of the Kichakeswari temple complex has a massive image of Lord Buddha. The most noteworthy discovery from this place is the carved bricks, which formed the wall of the main temple. An image of the Buddha enshrined in the lower part of the temple was found during the excavation carried out in 1922. These beautifully carved bricks and the image of Buddha are on display at the famed Khiching museum.

To the southwest of the present Khichakeswari temple is a place called Chaula Kunji where there are 14 pillars, four large and ten small, all monoliths. These pillars were brought to their present position sometime during 1932. It is also called the Natya-Mandir or the temple of dance. This site is in a dilapidated condition. Unless proper care is taken immediately, the pillars may fall down any time. The vast ruins of Kichakagarh or the ruins of the forts lie to the southwest of this site.

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