Muktesvara deula is a 10th century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Siva located in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, India. The temple dates back to 970 A.D., is a monument of singular importance in the study of the development of Hindu temples in Orissa.
The Porch :
The temples most striking feature is the torana, or the arched gateway, dating back to about 900 A.D. and showing the influence of Buddhist architecture. The Gateway to the Mukteswara Temple, modeled on the torana recovered from the field in Bhubaneswar, bears sculptures that range from elaborate scrolls to pleasant female forms and figures of monkeys and peacocks.
The arched gateway has thick pillars that have strings of beads and other ornaments carved on statues of smiling women in languorous repose. The porch is a waller chanber with a low, massive roof, and internal pillars are wholly wanting. The combination of vertical and horizontal lines is skillfully arranged so as to give dignity of buildings of moderate height. This early astylar form of the temple is best illustrated in this temple.
This distinctive 10th century temple is one of the smallest and most compact, decorated with intricate carvings and is the finest testimonial for the architectural cognizance of Vishwakarma Moharana sculptors. The temple is regarded as a gem of Nagara architecture of Kalinga architecture. Except for the rectangular plan of its jaganmohana, it is the earliest example of what may be termed proper Orissa temple type; a vimana with a curvelinear spire and a jaganmohana with a stepped pyramidal roof.
This temple also reveals some notable features both in architectural and in the attributes of the cult images. In the cult images, we find here a rat used as a mount of Ganesha, a peacock associated with Karthikeya, babies carried in arms of Saptamatrikas and Ketu among the planets. There is a tank inside the compound that is still in use by devotees. Women toss coins into the tank, wishing to cure infertility. The local saint, Lakulisa is carved into the doorway.
The temple's red sandstone is covered with exquisite carvings of lean Sadhus or holy men as well as voluptuous women encrusted with jewels. In the yard stands the Kedareswar Temple with a striking 8 foot statue of Ram Bhakt Hanuman (the monkey God).It is said that, taking a dip in the holy well cures a person of infertility. Mukteshwar temple exudes delicate sculpture. It is a perfect blend of ancient and modern designing and this is what makes it simply outstanding. This architecture is one of the basic reasons why Mukteswar temple is also known as the Gem of Orissa architecture.