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Buddhist Temples in Orissa

Padmapur:
The village of Padmapur in the district of Rayagada is a flourishing agricultural centre today. However, a 7th century inscription found here indicates that the Jagamanda hill, located closeby, once housed the monastery of the famous Buddhist logician-philosopher Dharmakirti. The hill also has 5 Shiva temples dedicated to Manikeswar, Dhabaleswar, Mallikeswar, Nilakantheswar and Podukeswar as well as a perennial water reservoir at the top.

Balasore District:
Sites of interest include Ayodhya, where rich sculptural remains have been found; Kupari, with the ruins of an old Buddhist temple and monastery; Solampur where images of Buddha have been discovered; and Khadipada and Soro, where scattered images can be found.

Buddhist sculpture:
The study of Buddhist sculpture and art from the relics and monuments in Orissa points to the gradual transformation of the Mahayana form of Buddhism into the Vajrayana form of Buddhism by the middle of the ninth century A.D. The large number of Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhist images and figurines found in Orissa suggest that this form of Buddhism found a fertile growing ground in Orissa. King Indrabhuti and his sister Lakshminkara of Uddiyana were great exponents of this form of Buddhism. Uddiyan of ancient India has been identified with Orissa. The introduction of Tantric form of worship in the Mahayana Buddhism ushered in a new stage in the development of the history of Buddhism in Orissa, which attained its pinnacle of glory during the Bhauma-Kara regime.

Apart from the Buddha figures, the other important feature of Buddhist plastic art in Orissa is the representation of Boddhisattva Avalokiteswara in his different forms such as Padmapani, Lokeswara, Vajrapani etc. We also find sculptures of Tara, Manjusri, Amoghasiddhi etc. in this period. A Lokeswara image found at Bhubaneswar, Amoghasiddhi from G.Udaygiri near Phulbani, Buddha in Bhumi-sparsa mudra from Khadipada, and Avalokiteswara Padmapani in standing pose from Khadipada are displayed at the Orissa State Museum in Bhubaneswar. Most of these Buddhist sculptures are very big in dimension. The museum at Lalitgiri preserves colossal Boddhisattva figures in it. Many more such figures are located at nearby Udayagiri and Ratnagiri.


Vajrayana Sculptures:
From epigraphical sources it is known that Buddhism was popular until the end of the Somavamsi rule in Orissa. From these sources, it is also known that the Ratnagiri Mahavihara was a great centre of Buddhism. As if to support this, we have a large number of Vajrayana sculptures at Ratnagiri. These are different forms of Avalokiteswara, Manjusri, Heruka, Jambhala, Kurukulla, Mahakala, Vajrasattva, Aparchana, Vajrapani, Tara, Aparajita, Marichi, Arya Saraswati, Vajra Tara, etc.

Other important sculptures are the Tara figures of Solampur, the three Vajrasattva figures along with a Buddha image from Haripur, Prajnaparamita from Banesvaranasi, Tara image at Banpur, a Maitreyi image at Natara near Kendupatna, Avalokiteswara, Padmapani and Yamantaka images at Kuruma, Marichi and Vajravarahi at Ayodhya, Buddha from Khiching and Buddha figures of Ganiapalli. It is interesting to note that the back slab of a Buddha image at Solampur contains the story of Buddha, from his birth to nirvana.

The excavation at Ratnagiri has revealed that Buddhist art in Orissa developed from about the fifth century A.D. and continued to flourish upto the twelfth century A.D. In fact, Buddhist sculptural art was one of the main constituents of medieval Orissan sculptural art.

Banpur:
Here bronze statues of the Buddhist pantheon have been excavated.

Kuruma:
Here a Buddhist Vihara referred to by the Chinese traveller Huien T'sang has recently been excavated.

Biswanath Hill:
Biswanath Hill is known for its ancient monastery of Dignag, the Buddhist Logician and Philosopher.

Jaugada:
Jaugada forms a part of the Malati range of hills and occupies an important place in Ashokan studies. It is the second place in Orissa where Ashokan rock edicts specially addressed to Kalinga have been inscribed. Here on a clean surface of granite is an edict of Emperor Ashoka which provides valuable information about the pattern of administration followed by the great emperor. About 2 km from Jaugada is Buddhakhol, where visitors can see images of the Buddhist pantheon along with the Shaivite shrines.

Sambalpur District:
The ruins on Gandhamardan Hill are thought by some to be the remains of the monastery called 'Parimalagiri' by Huien T'sang; Ganiapali is an early site which has been recently excavated.

Cuttack District:
In addition to the major site at Lalitgiri, Buddhist sculptures and ruins have been found at Brahmabana (near Salipur, dated to the 10th century A.D.) and at Baneswaranasi (near Narasinghapur, dated to the 8th century A.D.).

Naraj:
A picturesque scenic spot, Naraj was a famous seat of Buddhist culture & learning. The scenic view of the river Mahanadi at the origin of its branch Kathjodi is simply bewitching.

Deogarh:

Prachi Valley:


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