Sunday, 24 April 2016

Bimala Temple

The Madala panji states that the temple of Vimala was constructed by Yayati Keshari. Structures of the temple are built in both sand stones and laterite stones. The temple faces to the eastern direction. The shrine of Vimala is believed to be a suitable place for Tantric form of worship. Purusottama kshetra or Puri is regarded as one of the several Sakta pithas enumerated in Tantra Chudamani, Kubjika Tantra and Jnanarnava Tantra and it is here that the navel of sakti had fallen.

The main Vimala Temple features are its sandstone and laterite walls, the Vimana, Jagamohana – assembly hall, Nata-mandapa or festival hall and Bhoga mandapa or hall of offerings. 

The vimana is a Rekha deula (a tall building with a shape of sugarloaf), 60 feet (18 m) in height and in shape of 15 feet (4.6 m) square. It stands on a 2 feet (0.61 m) platform, which is decorated with lotus and other floral designs and scrollwork. The outer wall of the vimana is divided into 5 parts (from base to top): pabhaga, talajangha, bandhana, upara jangha and baranda.

The jagamohana or mukhasala is a pidha deula (square building with a pyramid-shaped roof), 35 feet (11 m) in height with a 25 feet (7.6 m) square base. It stands on a 2 feet (0.61 m) high platform, which is decorated with floral designs and scrollwork. The outer wall is divided into 5 parts, as in the vimana. The niches and intervening recesses of the first part are adorned with Khakhara mundi niches (having amorous couples and erotic scenes), Naga pilasters, scrollwork, jaliwork and floral motifs.

The natamandapa is a pidha deula, 22 feet (6.7 m) in height and in shape of rectangle 35 feet (11 m) in length by 18 feet (5.5 m). It is probably a later addition to the original temple, which consisted of the vimana and jagamohana. It stands on a 3.5 feet (1.1 m) platform. The five divisions of the outer wall are undecorated. It is topped with a small pyramidal pinnacle. The natamandapa has four door ways, one on each side of the wall. Inner walls of the natamandapa are adorned with Pattachitra-style traditional Orissan paintings, depicting sixteen forms of the Hindu Goddess, including the Mahavidyas.

The bhogamandapa is a pidha deula, 20 feet (6.1 m) in height and in shape of 15 feet (4.6 m) square. It stands on a 4 feet (1.2 m) platform. The five outer wall divisions are undecorated. It is topped with a small pinnacle. An eight-armed dancing Ganesha and a 12-armed, six-headed standing Kartikeya (both are the sons of Parvati ans Shiva) occupy niches on the western inner wall. The ceiling has floral paintings with a lotus design in the middle, suspending downwards.The bhogamandapa has four doorways, opening on each side. Two female gatekeepers guard each door. A flight of steps at the eastern doorway serves as the main entrance of the temple.

The Goddess-oriented festival of Durga Puja in the Hindu month of Ashvin (October) is celebrated for sixteen days, culminating with Vijayadashami.[8] On Vijayadashami, Vimala is worshipped by the titular Gajapati king of Puri as the goddess Durga, who is believed to have slain the demon Mahishasura on this day.
As the goddess is believed to assume a destructive aspect during the Durga Puja, women are debarred in the temple as they are considered too "weak-hearted" to witness this terrible form of the goddess.

The only time in the year when separate food is cooked for the goddess is when she is offered non-vegetarian offerings. During Durga Puja, Vimala is offered non-vegetarian food and animal sacrifice, traditionally offered to the Hindu Mother Goddess. The goddess is considered to assume a destructive form during the festival and the meat is considered necessary to placate her. In strict secrecy during the pre-dawn hours, animal sacrifice of a he-goat is offered in the temple, while fish from the sacred Markanda temple tank are cooked and offered to Vimala, as per Tantric rituals. The rituals have to be completed before the doors of the main sanctum of the vegetarian Jagannath are opened at dawn and the first morning aarti is offered to the god. Vaishnava devotees of Jagannath are debarred from the temple. Only a few who witness the ceremony are given the Bimala parusa (Vimala's cuisine) as prasad. The animal sacrifice and the non-vegetarian offerings to Vimala produced protests.