Murals at Dharakote Jagannath Temple


BY: SUN STAFF - 9.7 2019

Mural at Jagannath Temple, Dharakote

Dharakote Temple is another of the Orissan temples in which beautiful mural paintings can be found. Dharakote village is situated in the Aska tehshil of Ganjam district, about 14 km. from Aska. Sri Jagannath Temple is situated there near the banks of the Rusikulya River.

Jagannath Temple, Dharakote 

Although the temple itself is somewhat off the beaten path and not as well traveled by visitors, the Jagannath Temple Rathayatra still draws crowds of devotees each year.

Jagannath Temple, Dharakote 

Dharakote Temple looks somewhat similar to Puri Jagannath Temple, though much smaller in size. While few photos are available of the temple murals, the subject matter is much like the murals at Biranchinarayan Temple: scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana, Krsna-lila, and the Lord's incarnations and transcendental associates.

Sri Jagannath Ratha Yatra - Dharakote

One of the murals depicts Sri Laksmi-Narayana in Vaikuntha, surrounded by attendant sages and devatas. Another panel narrates the pastimes of Arjuna, aiming his gandiva bow at Navagunjara. And in an adjacent panel, recognizing Navagunjara as Sri Krsna's form, Arjuna offers his obeisances. Swans grace the ornamental borders between many mural panels.

Sri Jagannath Ratha Yatra - Dharakote


In an essay entitled, "Eternal Beauty Wandering On Its Way", artist Anshuman Pradhan offers an excellent summary of Orissan temple art and mural paintings. He categorizes the style of murals at Dharakote Jagannath Temple to be in the Dakshini tradition.

"The paintings inside the Jagannath Temple, Puri, follow the mural tradition. The two most important paintings are the Kanchivijaya painting in the Jagamohana of the Jagannath Temple and the Buddha Vijaya painting in the Jagamohana of the Lakshmi Temple inside the same temple complex. The pillared hall of the Jagannath Temple has mural paintings on the walls and ceiling. The ten incarnations of Vishnu cited in Jayadeva's Dashavatara form another mural. The activities of Krishna are also depicted on these walls.

The creation of the world where Vishnu is shown lying on the snake Ananta in the Khirodasagara, and Brahma sitting on a lotus emanating from Vishnu's navel is also a famous painting and is to be seen in the premises of the Jagannath Temple. Another popular painting is Vishnu in the form of a child, resting on a floating banyan leaf and sucking his toe. Kanchi Vijaya is also a famous painting in the Jagannath Temple and it shows Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra on horse back, stopping on their way to the battlefield, to take curd from the milkmaid, Manika.

These are roughly the paintings belonging to the Puri tradition. Besides, there are two other painting traditions of Orissa, the Ganjam or Dakshini School, and the Champamala school. The Puri style is found in Puri and the adjacent areas like Pratappur, Balapur and Raghurajpur. The Champamala school prevails in Sonepur and Sambalpur. The Dakshini tradition prevails in places like Ghumusar, Khalikot, Dharkote, Khemundi, Parala, Icchapur, Trikkali and Manjusa.

The physiognomy in Puri and Ganjam schools is similar, whereas that in the Champamala school is different. It bears the characteristics of Indonesian paintings. The paintings on the temple walls of Vasudeva at Jayantagada and Viranchinarayana at Buguda in Ganjam district belong to the eighteenth century. The paintings of Viranchinarayana Temple are a landmark in the history of mural paintings. These are mostly depictions of stories from the Ramayana; scenes from the Krishna Leela and Dashavatara are also to be found. But the most important are the Ramayana motifs depicting Lakshmana and Jambavana, Ravana, Rama and Sita in Chitrakuta, and Rama-Ravana Yuddha. In these paintings the dramatic element is more obvious and the human figures are painted in a more elegant style. For example, Rama in the Chitrakuta painting is shown as putting a vermilion-mark on the forehead of Sita and his delicate hand gestures are artistically rendered. There is also a painting of the Puri Temple of Jagannath in the Viranchinarayana Temple.

The Jagannath Temple of Buguda contains Krishnalila paintings. There are only a few which have come down to us and these can be compared with the Viranchinarayana Temple paintings. They belong to the nineteenth century as is evident from their colour scheme.

The interior walls of the Jagannath Temple at Dharakote are also full of paintings. The gateway of Vrindavana Chandra Temple and the palace shrine of Goddess Khambeswari also contain very interesting paintings. The themes of the paintings are Ramayana, Dashavatara and Dashamahavidya. The colour schemes show a marked preference for ultra-marine blue and bright chrome yellow; and hence they appear to have been executed during the latter part of the nineteenth century or the earlier part of the twentieth.

Most of the paintings in the temples and maths of Orissa can be placed in the nineteenth century. There are the murals of Emar Math, Bada Odia Math at Puri and Raghunath Temple at Odagaon. The paintings on the walls of Gangamata Math and Gundicha Mandir at Puri, Chaitanya Math at Chikitagada, Srikalika Mandir at Jeypur, Lakshmi Nrushima Temple at Belaguntha, Hatakeswara Shiva Temple at Baghamari, Radhakanta Math at Digapahandi, and Radha Krishna Math at Parlakhemidi all belong to the twentieth century and assiduously carry on the mural tradition of the past."

Ganjam District Mural