Not from stones, this temple in Odisha has been carved out of wood!
Ever heard of a second Konark Temple in Odisha? If not, then read on and discover another lesser known sublime beauty of the culturally pragmatic Odisha. This temple, situated in Buguda of Ganjam district definitely needs a special mention. Also known as ‘Wooden Konark’ due to the massive wooden art pieces and exquisite carvings, the temple is dedicated to the Sun God, hence bearing the name of Biranchi Narayan!
Built by King Srikara Bhanja Deva in 1790, this can be rightly stated as a wonderful architecture of its time. Majorly carved and cut out of wood, it is the only place where the idol of Lord Surya is visible and is worshipped unlike the Sun Temple at Konark. The entire temple rests on about 46 pillars and is a colossal structure comprising of the principal deity and others as well.
It is believed that the main idol which is worshipped here was actually found in Malatipur hills which was then excavated and brought to this temple. Cradled amongst lush green nature, this is a quiet yet inconspicuous place that’s worth visiting.
Another interesting fact is that while the Konark Temple faces East, this temple faces West. Hence the rising sun rays firstly fall on the Konark Temple and the setting rays at the feet of Sun God of the Biranchi Narayan Temple. The structure of the main temple however is similar to that of the Konark Temple. It is built in the form of a chariot which is drawn by seven horses.
The entire ceiling, struts, entrance of the doors besides every other nook is carved and painted exquisitely. Wooden carvings and murals painted on the walls depict short stories from mythology, especially Ramayana and Mahabharata apart from various mythical characters and Lord Krishna’s Vraja Lila.
People come here pray to the Sun God for curing them of physical ailments and to seek the well-being of their family. Legend even says that, Samba, son of Lord Krishna was cursed and was suffering from leprosy during which he worshipped the Sun God for 12 years with deep penance and was finally blessed by the God.
Major festivals which are celebrated in this temple are Magha Saptami, Samba Dasami and Danda Yatra. The road which goes down from this temple has a Jagannath Temple at the end. Both these temples are such strategically built that devotees can have a glimpse of the Aarti going on in both the temples simultaneously, if they stand on the road in between.
Just in case you happen to visit this place, then you need even worry about the accommodation. There are provisions of staying at lodges and hotels nearby besides an Inspection Bungalow near the temple for convenient staying. For other nearby places of attraction, you can also halt at Kubareshwara Temple, Shiva Temple and Buddhakhol which are about 3-4 kms from the Biranchi Narayan Temple!
Pics by: Stitadhi Rath