The Murals of Biranchinarayan


Sri Sri Radha Krsna
Biranchi Narayan Temple Mural

Jan 30, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A survey of Orissan temple murals.

In yesterday's Feature on "Mural Painting at Raghurajpur" an Orissan temple famous for its beautiful murals was mentioned -- the Biranchinarayan Temple. Also known as the 'Wooden Konark', the presiding Deity of this temple is Sri Biranchinarayana, who is also known as Viranchinarayana.

Sri Sri Radha Krsna
Biranchi Narayan Temple

Biranchinarayan Temple, also known as Bruddha Khola Temple, is located in the temple town of Buguda, about 92 km from Chhatrapur, in Ganjam District of Orissa. It was built immediately after the famous Konark temple, by King Srikara Bhanja (or Bhanjadeva), who ruled from Ghumusar in 1790 A.D. Some date the temple's construction at 1777 A.D.

Sri Biranchinarayana at Buguda

The deity of Sri Biranchinarayana was recovered from the ruins of Malatigada fort in the Malati hills near Kendupadar, and was installed here at Buguda. Temple legend states that a cowherd boy was caring for his herd when his foot struck a metal plate at the foot of a hill. The villagers then dug up the life-sized image of Suryanarayana, who was transported to Buguda, where he was installed in the temple built by the King.

Biranchinarayana Sanctum Sanctorum

Biranchi Narayan Temple is built in the form of a chariot driven by seven horses. Unlike the great stone edifice at Konark, the Biranchinarayan temple is built from wood. While Konark faces east, the Biranchi Narayan temple faces west. And while the rays of the rising sun fall on Lord Surya at Konark, here at Biranchinarayan the rays of the setting sun fall on Surya's feet.

Sri Sri Radha Krsna
Biranchi Narayan Temple Ceiling

Biranchinarayan Temple is famous not only for its murals, but also for the exquisite wood carvings that ornament its ceilings, struts and walls. Numerous bas relief panels depict the Lord's incarnations, pastimes and transcendental associates, including Krsna's Vraja-lila, and scenes from Mahabharata. Notable among the mural themes are many pictorial narratives from Ramayana.

Ramayana Scene

As evident in the pictures, some of the murals date back to the time of the temple's construction. Others are obviously more modern, but also showing signs of age. And still other artwork appears quite new. There was apparently a period of temple renovation, circa 1820, done by the patronage of a distant relative of King Srikara Bhanja.

Sri Jagannath Temple, Buguda
Photo courtesy TheDashd, CC 3.0

Among the temple festivals held here are Rath Yatra, Danda Yatra and Durga Puja. At the other end of the main road in front of Biranchinarayan is the temple of Lord Jagannath. The temples are situated in such a way that devotees can see the arati of both the temples at the same time from either of the temples. The image below of Lord Jagannath is one of the Biranchinarayana murals.


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