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Rediff.com: Independence Day Special 2011

Last updated on: August 8, 2011 12:38 IST

'The credit is in India's roots and its stories'

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Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo

In our Independence Day Special on the India You Didn't Know, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, the Member of Parliament from Bolangir, marvels at the architecture of a 9th century temple complex in Orissa.

One aspect about India that I like very much is its people. I think the people of India have a fantastic capacity to brave all kinds of hardships and yet come out with one of the most creative solutions I have ever seen. The credit really goes to India's roots and its stories that most of people have held on to.

One of India's treasures is the collection the collection of tantrik temples built in the 9th-10th century in Ranipur-Jharial in Bolangir, Orissa. They were built by the Somavanshi Keshari kings. They say there were about 400 temples, which covered about half a mile in length and a quarter of a mile in width.

The main temple there is the Chausathi Yogini temple, the architecture of which I am yet to see anywhere else. It is an open temple, with a kind of a dome. It is like an arena with 64 yoginis. Yoginis are goddesses and peculiar to them, all 64 Yoginis have different hairstyles.

This is essentially a Shiva worshipping peeth. The main Shiva temple has a 20 meter high Shiva idol. This was one of the highest brick temples of that time.

This Yogini cult and temple is a tantrik tradition, which the people of the area used to practice in the old days. There are not many temples left, but even now if you walk around the campus, you can see all kinds of tantrik inscriptions on the dome.

It is an amazing complex because temples keep popping up everywhere in the half a mile walk. It is just lovely!

Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, 37, is the Biju Janata Dal MP from Bolangir, Orissa, and hails from the former royal family of Bolangir. He spoke to Sahim Salim in New Delhi.

Earlier in the series: 'Indians have a sense of humour'
'A Hindu couple praying at an Islamic shrine illustrates what makes India work'
'They looked African but spoke Gujarati'
'See the Ganga aarti at least once in life'


Image: Somesvara Temple, Ranipur-Jharial in Bolangir, Orissa
Photographs: Courtesy: Indira Gandhi Centre for Performing Arts website