Art and Architecture of Baroli Group of Temples

Baroli, also known as Badoli, is located about 50 km southeast of Kota city, resting on the elevated terrain along the eastern bank of the Chambal River. Dating back to the 10th century CE, these structures showcase the architectural style of the Gurjara-Pratihara Empire, which ruled much of northern India during that period.

Nestled within this setting is a natural spring where a group of nine temples, as we find them today, were built. Among these temples, two are dedicated to Vishnu, one to Ganesha, two to Mahishasurmardini, and four to Shiva. These temples mostly trace their origins back to the 10th century CE, except for one of the Mahishasurmardini temples. Constructed from local sandstone, the temples exhibit varying degrees of preservation. Some remain relatively intact, while others are in a state of ruin due to weathering and potential vandalism. The Jodhpur Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) currently manages the entire complex, undertaking efforts for conservation and protection.

Image 1: Rear view of the Shiva and Sheshashayi Vishnu temples, Cluster 1, Baroli group of temples.
Image 1: Rear view of the Shiva and Sheshashayi Vishnu temples, Cluster 1, Baroli group of temples.

Gurjara-Pratihara architectural influences are evident in the design elements of the Baroli temples. The use of the pancharatha (five projections on each side) plan, characterized by a central sanctum (shrine) preceded by an antarala (vestibule or antechamber) and a mukhamandapa (front porch), is a recurring feature. There are two clusters in the Baroli Group of Temples—the first is situated near the entrance of the complex and has three temples (Image 1), while the second cluster is at the backside of the complex (Image 2 and 3) and has five temples. Presently, a causeway joins the two clusters. The ninth temple is situated outside the enclosed complex, at a distance.

Image 2: Satellite imagery locating temples in the Baroli group of temples.
Image 2: Satellite imagery locating temples in the Baroli group of temples.
Image 3: Plan of the Baroli group of temples, Baroli, Rajasthan. (After Dhaky. M.A. ETIA Vol II, Part III Fig 168.)
Image 3: Plan of the Baroli group of temples, Baroli, Rajasthan. (After Dhaky. M.A. ETIA Vol II, Part III Fig 168.)

Temple 1: Shiva Temple

Temple 1 is part of a cluster of three temples situated close to the entrance of the temple complex. The temple is dedicated to Shiva, as indicated by the Shiva linga (aniconic representation of Shiva) in the main sanctum which dates back to the first quarter of the 10th century CE. On plan, the temple has a garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) and an antarala presently, with foundation and architectural remains suggesting it also had a mandapa (pillared pavilion or hall) and a mukhamandapa. (Image 4)

Image 4: Front view of the Shiva Temple (Temple 1), Baroli group of temples.
Image 4: Front view of the Shiva Temple (Temple 1), Baroli group of temples.

Vertically, the temple stands on vedibandha (basal wall mouldings) comprising khura (hoof), kumbha (pot), antarapatta (recessed face between projecting moulding), and kapotapalika (cyma eve cornice) decorated with gavaksha (cow-eye motif) arches at intervals. The jangha (wall) of the temple is plain and devoid of decoration except for the top band, which is decorated with interlacing vandanamalika (festoon of garlands). Above the jangha, a varandika (moulded parapet, elevational member separating wall frieze from the superstructure) is placed, showing a patta (band) with chequers in between two kapotaplikas. The shikhara (superstructure) above the varandika has partially collapsed, But the intact part reveals two bhumis (tiers or storeys) crafted with the brickwork featuring chaitya (dormer window) arch designs. (Image 5)

Image 5: South view of the Shiva Temple (Temple 1), Baroli group of temples.
Image 5: South view of the Shiva Temple (Temple 1), Baroli group of temples.

The temple had a mandapa, which is now lost, but the moulding on the lateral sides and the base of the pillars remains intact. A small pit exists on the proper left of the mandapa. The antarala is shallow and lacks niches and sculptures. (Image 4) The entrance gate of the garbhagriha is simple, with a doorframe featuring panchashakha (five jambs) that are plain except for one shakha (jamb or vertical band). The lalatabimba (lintel) is also plain and might have once been adorned with a divine figure. The garbhagriha is a small, plain chamber with a linga on the floor. The ceiling of the garbhagriha is square and decorated with a full-blown flower motif.

Temple 2: Sheshashayi Vishnu Temple

This temple is situated on the right side of Temple 1, at the corner of the water tank, with Temple 3 at the centre. It is a small north-facing temple. Based on stylistic grounds, this temple can be dated to the first quarter of the 10th century CE. Originally dedicated to Sheshashayi Vishnu, the main sanctum now houses a shivalinga.

The temple’s plan includes a shallow antarala and a small garbhagriha. (Image 6) The foundation of a small mandapa is also visible, suggesting that the original temple included a mandapa as well. The temple features simple, plain vedibandha that include khura, kumbha, kalasha, antarapatta, and kapotapalika mouldings. The jangha is plain but shows pilasters with bands of half-beaded garlands and ardhapadma (half lotus) motifs. The varandika consists of two kapotapalikas and antarapatta topped by a gaggarika (decorative motif comprsing arrow between two spirals). The shikhara above is severely damaged, but a small fragment of decoration remains, showing a miniature balcony with three female figures. (Image 6)

Image 6: Close view of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Sheshashayi Temple (Temple 2), Baroli group of temples.
Image 6: Close view of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Sheshashayi Temple (Temple 2), Baroli group of temples.

The antarala is a narrow passage with niches on the lateral sides, which are now empty. The garbhagriha has a door with multiple shakhas but without decoration. Currently, the lalatabimba is also devoid of divine figures. (Image 7) The garbhagriha is a simple, plain chamber. The ceiling of the sanctum is square and depicts a square within a square.

Image 7: Rear (southeast) view of Sheshashayi Temple (Temple 2), Baroli group of temples.
Image 7: Rear (southeast) view of Sheshashayi Temple (Temple 2), Baroli group of temples.

Temple 3: Shiva Temple

The third temple in the cluster is dedicated to Shiva. It is situated at a lower level than the other two temples, inside a currently dry water tank. Steps on all four sides of the tank provide access, with a pathway on the east side leading to the shrine at the centre of the tank. (Image 8) The temple can be dated to circa 950-975 CE.

Image 8: Front view of the Shiva Temple in the kunda (Temple 3), Baroli group of temples.
Image 8: Front view of the Shiva Temple in the kunda (Temple 3), Baroli group of temples.

The temple faces the east and has a mukhachatushki (four-pillared entry porch) on its east side. (Image 8) A distinctive feature of this temple is the garbhagriha, built in the sarvatobhadra (entrance from all four sides) style, though the rear wall is closed by a screen wall. The temple has a plain pitha (moulded base) with vedibandha carvings that includes khura, kumbha, kalasha, antarapatta, and kapotapalikas. (Image 9) The jangha is plain, with projecting pilasters and a top portion adorned with the ardhapadma motif enclosed by a garland loop. Above the jangha is the varandika, which is carved with kapotapalikas. The shikhara above the varandika is an anekandaka shikhara (multi-spired superstructure). (Image 9) The shikhara is presently severely damaged, revealing its internal structure. The remaining structure shows marks of surasenaka (pediment with trifoliate dormer patterns) on the base of all four sides of the shikhara. Remnants of the mulamajari (central main spire) are decked with a jala of miniature gavaksha dormers. The karnaratha (corner band of the spire) of the current superstructure shows five bhumis. The anga shikhara can be seen just above the varandikas, one over the pratiratha (wall or intermediary offset flanking central offset) and two over the karanratha.

Image 9: Southeast view of the Shiva Temple in the kunda (Temple 3), Baroli group of temples.
Image 9: Southeast view of the Shiva Temple in the kunda (Temple 3), Baroli group of temples.

The mukhachatushki (Image 9) has two pillars at the front and two pilasters at the back. The pillars are plain and consist of an octagonal base moulding supporting the octagonal shaft, which transitions into a sixteen-sided middle section and then into a circular upper portion. At the top of the shaft is a band of ardhapadma matching the top of the jangha. The shaft has decorated brackets supporting the sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapili). The garbhagriha can be entered from the east and the lateral sides. The doors are plain and undecorated. A shivalinga is placed at the centre of the garbhagriha.

Temple 4: Vamana Temple

Temple 4, the smallest temple among the nine temples of the Baroli group, is dedicated to the Vamana avatar (manifestation) of Vishnu and reflects simplicity. Situated to the proper right of the Ghateshwar and Mahishasurmardini temples, it dates back to the first quarter of the 10th century CE.[1] The east-facing temple features a shallow antarala and a small garbhagriha on plan. (Image 10) It stands on the vedibandha comprised of khura, kumbha, kalasha, and kapotapalika mouldings. The jangha is tri-anga and is completely plain (Image 10), while the varandika displays an antarapatta decorated with a chequered design between the two kapotapalikas. The shikhara of the temple has completely vanished.

Image 10: Front view of the Vamana Temple (Temple 4), Baroli group of temples.
Image 10: Front view of the Vamana Temple (Temple 4), Baroli group of temples.

The antarala is devoid of any niche or sculpture. The entrance to the garbhagriha is marked by a chandrshila (moonstone), with a plain doorframe. At the lalatabimba, one can notice a niche with the figure of a four-armed Ganesha, holding his broken tusk, ankusha (elephant goad or bullhook), another weapon, and modak (round sweetmeat).

The garbhagriha is a small chamber with a pedestal fixed in the sanctum. On this pedestal, stands a figure of Vamana (Image 11) on a lotus pedestal. He originally had four arms, all of which are currently broken. He is adorned with jewellery and wears a long vanamala (garland worn by Vishnu). He is accompanied by six attendants, visible at the bottom. Two additional figures are positioned at his sides, near his arms. Notably, the sculpture includes the trinity Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesha depicted in miniature niches at the top. Brahma is shown on the top right, Vishnu occupies the central position, and Mahesha is placed on the top left. All three deities are depicted with four arms, holding their respective attributes. In the central niche, Vishnu is depicted as Yogasana Vishnu, flanked by Varaha and Narasimha on his right and left side in the recessed part.

Image 11: Vamanavatara Vishnu, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Vamana Temple (Temple 4), Baroli group of temples.
Image 11: Vamanavatara Vishnu, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Vamana Temple (Temple 4), Baroli group of temples.

Temple 5: Sadashiva Temple

One of the most elegant temples found in the complex is the Sadashiva Temple, dedicated to Shiva. It has a large bust of Maheshamurti in the sanctum. The temple is situated in the inner compound of the complex and stylistically dates to the first quarter of the 10th century CE.

The temple, referred to as Trimurti Temple by ASI, faces east and currently has a shallow antarala and a small garbhagriha. (Image 12) The platform in front of the antarala suggests it once had a small mukhamandapa as well. The temple has a pitha comprised of mouldings, including jadyakumbha (inverted cyma recta moulding), karnika (knife edge arris moulding), and pattika (rectilinear fillet). Above this pitha is the vedibandha which features khura, kumbha, kalasha, antarapattika, and kapotapalika mouldings. (Image 13) A dwarf figure resembling a pranala (water discharge outlet) is visible on the north wall of the temple.

Image 12: Front view of the Sadashiva (or Trimurti) Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.
Image 12: Front view of the Sadashiva (or Trimurti) Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.
Image 13: Rearview (from the west) of the Sadashiva Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.
Image 13: Rearview (from the west) of the Sadashiva Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.

The gahrbhagriha is made of tri-anga (three planes of an offset) and has a simple jangha, devoid of sculptures. The jangha is minimally decorated with a central horizontal band of kirtimukhas (face of glory) dividing it into two equal halves. (Image 10) The top portion of jangha is ornamented with interlacing vandanamalika (saw-tooth design; decorative motif). Above the jangha is the varandika which features a patta with chequers between two kapotaplikas.

The temple’s superstructure features a saptabhuma (seven-storeyed) latina shikhara (mono-spired superstructure). The shikhara exhibits an integrated jala of gavaksha arches, with the most striking feature on its frontal face. Here, an array gavaksha arches is topped by kirtimukhas and adorned with carved makaras (crocodile) and faces of gajas (elephants) on the sides. (Image 13) Floral motifs and shankhas (conches) further embellish the frontal façade of the shikhara.

The entrance to the antarala is marked by two intricately decorated square pillars (Image 8), featuring depiction of dancing goddesses, flanked by musicians and attendants in the abacus. The goddesses are four-armed, hold a trishula (trident), sarpa (snake), and are accompanied by a rishabha (bull). The brackets above the abacus are crafted in the form of kirtimukha and curvaceous foliage.

The antarala features niches on its lateral walls, which are currently empty. The entrance gate to the garbhagriha displays plain shakhas, but the lower portion depicts river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna, along with shaiva dvarapalas (door guardians). (Image 14) Ganga is depicted on the proper right, holding a water pot and standing on her vahana (mount), a makara. Adjacent to her stands a shaiva dvarapala, holding a trishula. On the proper left, Yamuna is portrayed holding a water pot and standing on a kachhapa (tortoise). Both goddesses are accompanied by a male attendant holding another vessel, which is being touched by both goddesses. Next to Yamuna, a four-armed shaiva dvarapal is depicted holding a khatvanga (club with skull), sarpa, kapala (human head), and one hand placed on his thigh.

Image 14: Details of the doorframe of the Sadashiva Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.
Image 14: Details of the doorframe of the Sadashiva Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.

The lintels above the shakhas depict a dancing Shiva in the centre, accompanied by a musician and a dancer. On the extreme end, goddesses are depicted standing. (Image 14) Shiva is portrayed as ten-armed, holding an akshamala (rosary), khatvanga, damaru (hour-glass drum), sarpa, Kapala, and trishula. His front two arms are making dance gestures, and he wears a jatamukuta (matted hair hairdo) and is adorned with jewellery. The goddesses, depicted as four-armed, wear jatamukutas and hold an akshamala and kamandalu (pot), with their respective attributes in their other two hands.

The garbhagriha is a small chamber featuring a huge bust of Maheshmurti on the rear wall, flanked by a three-headed Brahma and Vishnu. The bust of Maheshamurti, also known as Sadashiva, has three faces. (Image 15) The frontal face, possibly representing Tatpurusha, is completely worn away. The face on the proper right is Aghora, while the face on the left is Vamadeva, reflecting the feminine aspect of Shiva. The Aghora face wears a jatamukuta adorned with skulls and snakes, with raised arched eyebrows, large bulging eyes, and a third eye on the forehead. Despite the deity’s fangs, there is a noticeable smile, and he holds a sarpa in his hand. The right half of Vamadeva’s face is also chipped off. The deity is depicted with a jatamukuta adorned with kirtimukhas and rounded curls and has bow-shaped eyebrows, beautiful eyes, and a third eye on the forehead.

Image 15: Sadashivamurti or Maheshmurti, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) ) of the Sadashiva Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.
Image 15: Sadashivamurti or Maheshmurti, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) ) of the Sadashiva Temple (Temple 5), Baroli group of temples.

On the top right side of the bust, a sculpture of Brahma is carved. He stands on a lotus pedestal with his vahana, a hamsa (swan). His frontal hands are folded in a gesture of veneration, while the attributes of his other arms are difficult to discern due to damage. Similarly, Vishnu on the left side of the bust is depicted with four hands, with the front ones folded and the upper hands holding a gada (mace) and shankha.

Temple 6: Mahishasuramardini Temple

Temple 6 is situated on the proper left of Vamana Temple and to the proper right of the Ghateshwar Temple. Dedicated to Goddess Durga in the form of Mahishasuramardini, this temple shares a slightly larger but similar plan to the Sadashiva Temple. It is notable for being one of the well-preserved temples in the compound, stylistically dating back to the first quarter of the 10th century CE.

The east-facing Mahishasutamardini Temple consists of a mukhamandapa, antarala, and a garbhagriha. (Image 16) The temple’s pitha comprises a jadyakumbha and kapotapalika, on which the base mouldings of khura, kumbha, kalasha, antarapatta and kapotapalika are placed. While the jangha is plain and devoid of sculptures, projected pilasters can be observed. Similar to other temples, this temple also features adornments at the top of the jangha, with a band displaying ardhapadmas enclosed by garland loops. The varandika features two kapotapalikas, with a band decorated with triangular ardhapadma carved between them.

Image 16: Front view of the Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 6), Baroli group of temples.
Image 16: Front view of the Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 6), Baroli group of temples.

The shikhara of the garbhagriha is carved in latina style with nava or nine bhumis. (Image 17) It is intricately carved with a jala of gavaksha motifs. At its peak, there are two amalasaraka ornaments stacked atop each other, with a chandrika positioned between them, with the second amalasaraka topped by a kalasha (pitcher). Additionally, a dhvajadharaka (person holding the dhvaja or flag) is depicted on the rear side of the shikhara. The shikhara of the mukhamandapa is in the Phamsana style (Image 16), with a frontal niche depicting a four-armed Goddess holding a trishula, sarpa, kamandalu and akshamala in each hand. She is accompanied by attendants, with elephant riders depicted at the extreme ends.

The mukhamandapa has two pillars at the front and two pilasters at the back. These pillars are plain and consist of an octagonal base moulding that supports the shaft, which transitions from octagonal to a sixteen-sided middle section before becoming circular at the top. At the top of the shaft, there is an abacus with divine figures and female attendants. The portion above these abacus brackets is carved and supports the mukhamandapa’s roof.

Image 17: Details of the antarala (vestibule) and entrance of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 6), Baroli group of temples.
Image 17: Details of the antarala (vestibule) and entrance of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 6), Baroli group of temples.

The mukhamandapa leads to the antarala, which features niches on its lateral sides. While one niche on the proper right is empty, the udgama (pediment) depicts Brahmani holding a shruk (ladle) and pustaka (book) in her hands. On the proper left, a figure of Parvati is placed, and the udgama depicts Maheshwari. The antarala further leads to the garbhagriha, which features a multi-shakha doorframe. The lalatabimba bears the standing Maheshwari, flanked by goddesses Brahmani and Vaishnavi at the extreme ends. (Image 17). The udumbara (threshold) displays a mandaraka (projecting central part of the ornate threshold, usually round) adorned with a lotus stalk, flanked by a kirtimukha on both sides. Seated four-armed goddesses are depicted at the extreme ends.

The garbhagriha is a small square chamber with a long slab on the proper left. The walls of the sanctum are plain, and the square ceiling features another square carving. On the floor, there is a yonipatta (womb-shaped base slab of the linga), upon which rests a sculpture of Mahishasuramardini. (Image 18) The presence of yonipatta suggests that the temple might have originally been dedicated to Shiva, and later the sculpture of the Goddess was placed.

Image 18: Mahishasuramardini, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 6), Baroli group of temples.
Image 18: Mahishasuramardini, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 6), Baroli group of temples.

The Goddess is depicted standing on the back of the asura (demon) Mahisha, who is represented in the form of a buffalo. Presently, the sculpture of the Goddess lacks a head, and her arms are broken. However, a halo is visible around her head, and the remaining attributes include a shield in her left hand. One of her right hands is shown retrieving arrows from the quiver behind her. Her right foot rests on Mahisha’s back, while her left foot is on the ground. The Goddess has already severed the head of the asura, and the detached buffalo head lies on the ground. Two other female figures accompany the goddess, positioned at the bottom of the sculpture. Additionally, her vahana, a simha (lion), is depicted attacking Mahisha’s back. Seated at the top corners of the sculpture are four-armed goddesses, each holding their respective attributes.

Temple 7: Ghateshwar Temple

The Ghateshwar Temple stands as the largest temple within the Baroli group. It is dedicated to Shiva and consists of distinct sections including a mandapa, mukhamandapa, antarala, and garbhagriha. Structurally, it follows a vertical axis, featuring vedibandha, jangha adorned with sculptures in the bhadra (central projection) and a latina shikhara. A comprehensive exploration of the Ghateshwar Temple, its artistic nuances, and architectural intricacies, is presented in a separate article.

Temple 8: Ganesha Temple

On the proper left side of the Ghateshwar Temple sits a smaller temple dedicated to Ganesha. Stylistically, it dates back to approximately the mid-10th century CE. The temple faces south standing on a slender stone platform, and consists of a garbhagriha and a small kapili. (Image 19)

Image 19: Entrance of the Ganesha Temple (Temple 8), Baroli group of temples.
Image 19: Entrance of the Ganesha Temple (Temple 8), Baroli group of temples.

Access to the temple is through an antarala, marked by a simple gateway adorned with pilasters featuring moulded bases and intricate brackets at the top, embellished with kirtimukha motifs. The antarala itself is a shallow passage with niches on its east and west walls. The niches, currently empty, are topped by udgama pediments, adorned with miniature niches. These miniature niches are installed with a divine couple on one side and a Goddess playing a musical instrument on the other.

The entrance to the garbhagriha is simple, featuring only a square-shaped bharvahaka (load bearer), housing an image of Ganesha. There is a chandrashila with sankha on both sides. The doorframe has shakhas which are completely plain.

On its vertical axis, the temple has a simple and plain vedibandha consisting of standard khura, kumbha, kalasha, and kapotapalika mouldings. The jangha of the temple does not have any ornamentation, niches, or sculptures. (Image 19) The mouldings above it are adorned with ardhapadmas, enclosed within garland loops. The varandika displays a kantha (recess between the mouldings) design, accentuated by a series of triangular ardhapadmas placed between two kapotapalis.

Atop the varandika sits an urdhvapadma (inverted lotus motif), adorned with the tamalpatras (Bilva leaves). The shikhara above the varandika is damaged, but the intact portion reveals that it is constructed with brickwork. (Image 19) Notably, the bricks display a chaitya arch design, suggesting that the shikhara was adorned once with a chaitya arch motif.

The Ganesha figure (Image 20) in the garbhagriha is broken below the knees, but the posture indicates that it was a dancing image of the deity. The heavily bejewelled Ganesha murti had multiple arms, most of which are now broken except the upper two, in which he holds a sarpa. He has a halo behind his head, carved in the form of a full-blown flower. His ornamentation includes a heavy mathapatti (headpiece) that comprises a kirtimukukha at the apex and skulls in the beaded loops. The beauty of his head is further enhanced by the presence of two ardhachandras (half-moons). His long ears are adorned with buds of two different kinds. He wears a heavy necklace, armbands, and a yajnopavita (sacred thread) around his shoulder through the waist.

Image 20: Ganesha, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Ganesha Temple (Temple 8), Baroli group of temples.
Image 20: Ganesha, a detailed view of the presiding deity in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Ganesha Temple (Temple 8), Baroli group of temples.

Temple 9: Mahishasuramardini Temple

The temple, dedicated to Goddess Mahishasuramardini, is situated outside the protection wall of the ASI, where the other eight temples of Baroli are located. Presently, the temple is in a dilapidated condition, and many parts of it have fallen and are scattered around.

The west-facing temple comprises a garbhagriha, antarala, and a mukhamandapa. Currently, the mandapa and the antarala are completely torn down, and the broken parts lie scattered on the ground. (Image 20) The temple has a developed base consisting of bhitta (foundation or first moulding above the jagati) at the lowest layer, surmounted by a pitha comprised of jadyakumbha, karnika, and kapotapalika mouldings. Above the pitha, base mouldings of the vedibandha are placed, which include khura, kumbha, kalasha, antarapatta, and kapotapalika. The walls are plain and display pilasters capped by the grassamukha (kirtimukha or face of glory) band. The shikhara is severely damaged, but the intact portions suggest that it was built in the latina style, similar to the other temples of the group. (Image 21)

Image 21: View of the dilapidated Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 9), outside the boundary wall of the complex, Baroli group of temples.
Image 21: View of the dilapidated Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 9), outside the boundary wall of the complex, Baroli group of temples.

The garbhagriha can be entered through a door, which is simple and shows floral decoration on two thin shakhas. At the bottom of the doorframe, a female dvarapala is shown standing and holding a weapon. The left side of the doorframe has fallen apart but can be seen on the ground along with other broken parts

The small chamber of the garbhagriha has plain walls and a pedestal on which the Goddess (Image 22) is placed and still worshipped. Presently, the details of the sculpture cannot be seen as the face of the Goddess is smeared in vermilion, and the body is covered with clothes. A sculpture of Ganesha is also placed on her left.

Image 22: Draped in clothes the Mahishasuramardini sculpture is housed inside the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 9), Baroli group of temples.
Image 22: Draped in clothes the Mahishasuramardini sculpture is housed inside the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) Mahishasuramardini Temple (Temple 9), Baroli group of temples.

Remains of the foundation of another temple can also be seen close to the Ganesha Temple in the complex. On plan, it shows a garbhagriha and an antarala, with a shivalinga placed on the floor of the garbhagriha. Among the noteworthy architectural remains found in the temple complex is an ornately carved torana, situated near the Trimurti Temple. Although the arch of the torana is missing, scholar M.A. Dhaky has noted its similarity to the torana of the Ghateshwar Temple, dating it to the mid-10th century CE. The main adornment of this torana includes apsaras (celestial damsels) engaged in various activities, their forms captured from multiple angles. Each pillar depicts three female figures and one male figure on the lower octagonalsection of the shaft, while the upper portions of the pillars are decorated with loops and chains of bells. Within the complex, situated near the Ganesha Temple lies a cross-shaped water tank, with steps provided on each side to reach the water.

An examination of these temples reveals extensive damage, with many having lost significant portions such as the shikharas and mandapas. While adhering to a common architectural plan consisting of a mandapa, antarala and a garbhagriha, with a vertical arrangement of vedibandha, jangha, and shikhara, each temple exhibits distinctive features. Temples 1 and 2, found in the first cluster, exemplify simplicity, while Temple 3, situated in the water tank area, shares similarities with the 10th century CE Pandrethan Temple in Kashmir, distinguished by its anekandaka style shikhara and intricate jali (lattice) work. In the second cluster, the Trimurti and Mahishasuramardini temples, though small in scale, display remarkable intricacy and attention to detail in their decorative elements. Both incorporate animal motifs into their design, along with depictions of daily life, where women depicted standing in balconies and engaging in conversations. The artist’s attention to detail is evident in these intricately carved imageries. The Vamana Temple is the smallest, while the Ghateshwar Temple stands out as the largest in the complex. Additionally, the ninth temple located outside the complex, though sizable, has suffered extensive damage and requires attention.

The temples in Baroli serve as a prime example of 10th century CE temple art and architecture, representing the pinnacle of the Pratihara style. Although they showcase the grandeur of temple art and architecture from this era, these temples also bear the marks of significant damage. Although efforts have been made to restore and protect these monuments, they still require ongoing scholarly attention and local awareness to ensure the preservation of Baroli's cultural heritage for future generations.

Footnotes:

[1] Dhaky, Encyclopedia of Indian Temple Architecture, vol. II, 326.

Bibliography

Archaeological Survey of India, Jaipur Circle. Temples of Badoli. 2003. https://asijaipurcircle.nic.in/publication/publication/BADOLI%20KE%20MANDIR%20AND%20TEMPLE%20OF%20BADOLI.pdf

Archaeological Survey of India, Jaipur Circle. Ghateshwar Temple. n.d. https://asijaipurcircle.nic.in/Ghateshwar%20temple.html

Deva, Krishna. Temples of North India. New Delhi: National Book Trust, 1969.

Dhaky, M. A. Encyclopaedia of Temple Architecture of North India Beginning of Medieval Idiom c AD 900-1000, Vol II, Part III, New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 1998.

Pal, H. Bhisham. Temples of Rajasthan. Vol IV. New Delhi: Himanshu Publication, 2006.

Tripathi, K. L. The Temples of Baroli. Ambika Prakashan, 1975.