Mahadev Temple Pali, Korba Chhattisgarh

November 10, 2023

The Mahadeva temple at Pali comes under the Korba district of Chhattisgarh. It is situated around 50 km from Bilaspur.  It is constructed over a 3 feet high platform, the temple is east-facing. It is situated next to a water reservoir. The temple has a garbhagrha, antarala and an octagonal mandapa. The mandapa has not survived fully. Its octagonal shape is achieved by cutting off the corners of a square. This is probably the only temple in Chhattisgarh with an octagonal mandapa.

The temple is composed of vedi-bandha, mandovara, and baranda. The architecture of the temple is based on sapta-ratha plan. The vedi-bandha has five moldings.  The mandovara is divided into two stories, separated by a bandhana of a single molding. There are carvings of Lord Kartikeya and Lord Shiva-Andhakantaka on the southern wall, Lord Surya and Lord Nataraja in the west, and Goddess Chamunda and Lord Nataraja in the north. The lower niches have dikpalas. The niches on antarala walls have Goddess Durga in the south and Goddess Saraswati and Lord Harihara in the north. The shikhara of the temple has survived partially; the present structure is its restored version. Only five bhumis of the shikhara were evident. The shikhara is decorated with geometric designs and floral motifs.

The mandapa is octagonal. The roof of the mandapa is constructed with seven concentric circles, each one reducing its circumference while moving up. With its external embellishment gone, this now gives a domical shape on the outside. The temple door jambs have river goddesses at the bottom, Goddess Ganga on the right, and Goddess Yamuna on the left. Lord Shiva is accompanied by navagrhas with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu at the sides.

The Antarala has two niches on each of its walls. The upper niches have Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. In the lower niches, ascetics are shown in standing posture. Inside the mandapa, there are various sculptures showing ascetics and royal personnel.

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