The Chitrakarini Temple of Bhubaneswar (Odisha, India): An Investigative Field Study

Santosh Kumar Jha

Senior Faculty, Leather Goods and Accessories Design Department, Footwear Design and Development Institute, Noida, India. Email:

  Volume 2, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/cjad.21.v2n105


Heritage architectural and sculptural expressions are self-explanatory documents, which carries its legacy along with the wheel of time. The Chitrakarini temple of Bhubaneswar is one among such precious monuments, where the then socio-culture knowledge and ideological hemispheres had taken its materialistic identity, through precisely crafted sculptural panoramic expressions. Material wise this temple-structure could be categorized as an example of stone architecture; and is located in the Old Town area of Bhubaneswar, which is the state capital city of Odisha state, India. Goddess Chitrakarini is being worshipped in this temple- as major deity. As the name “Chitrakarini” reflects, this is a temple of “Female Painter” or “Paintress of Life”- and is world’s only known temple, which is dedicated to the goddess “Chitrakarini”- who is the divine sub-form of Goddess Saraswati– the deity of Knowledge in Hinduism. Therefore goddess Chitrakarini, establishes her identity as the goddess of Creative Intellectual Activities. This temple was built during CE 1238 to CE 1264 by one of the Vaishnav king of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty, Narasingh Dev-1. According to local religious and socio-cultural beliefs this monument is dedicated to worship and honor women’s contribution towards the creation, management and maintenance of human life-cycles over this planet. But as observed, now a day this heritage monument is detreating due to multifold issues. This temple is declared as ‘Monument Of National Importance’, under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites & Remains Act’ 1958. This paper critically investigates the present overall scenario of this temple.

Keywords: Temple Conservation, Conservation of Architectural Heritage, Conservation of Hindu Heritage Sites, Conservation of Indian Stone Sculptures, Stone Crafts Legacy in India, Hindu Architecture