Exploring the Ghateshwar Temple: A visual tour

Baroli, located in close proximity to the banks of the Chambal River, boasts a cluster of eight protected temples surrounding a natural spring, with an additional ninth temple situated approximately one kilometer away, outside the boundary. These temples showcase the evolved Pratihara architectural style prevalent in the 10th century CE. These temples are devoted to Shiva, Mahishamardini Durga, Vishnu, Trimurti, and Ganesha.

The Ghateshwar Temple, dedicated to Shiva, is the largest among all the temples in the complex. Its distinctive feature is a rounded, ghata (pot-shaped) Shiva linga, from which the temple derives its name. The temple has unveiled multiple inscriptions scattered across the floor and pillars of the mandapas (pillared hall). Therefore, the temple is more significant from the point of view of epigraphical evidence.

It stands out within the Baroli group, representing the Pratihara style around the 10th century as a magnificent and intricately designed structure. It comprises a pancharatha garbhagriha (sanctum with five offset projections), antarala (vestibule or antechamber), and a mukhamandapa (front porch) supported by six pillars, accessed through a makara-torana (ornamental arch adorned with intricate carvings of mythical crocodile creatures). There is a separate rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals), popularly known as Shringara Chaori located in the front, with the Nandi positioned between the mukhamandapa and the rangamandapa. Notably, this is the sole local temple adorned with sculptured niches on the jangha (wall) that house Andhakantaka and Chamunda figures.

Besides the sculptures depicting Andhakasuravadha and Chamunda, the temple showcases numerous exquisite sculptures of various deities. These include diverse forms of Shiva like Nataraja and Bhairava, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Ganga, Yamuna, and Shaiva dvarapalas (door guardians).

One of the temple’s most captivating aspects is its exquisitely carved ceilings. The separate rangamandapa, along with its four extended porches, mukhamandapa, antarala, and garbhagrhiha (sanctum sanctorum), all boast adorned ceilings embellished with diverse decorative motifs, designs, and patterns. Several distinguishing features contribute to the uniqueness of this temple. These include the previously mentioned makara-torana paving the way to the mukhamandapa, depictions of animals engaged in diverse activities, and the intriguing closed-door motif carved on the shikhara (superstructure).

The temple serves as a valuable resource for comprehending the art and architecture of the Pratiharas from the 10th century CE. It sheds light on several distinctive aspects of this style and represents the confluence of the spiritual, heavenly, and earthly realms in its sculptural scheme, contributing to the temple’s uniqueness.

The Ghateshwar Temple is part of a group of eight temples known as the Baroli group of temples. There are two clusters in the complex. The first cluster is situated near the present entrance to the complex, provided by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The second cluster which includes the Ghateshwar Temple, is situated at the backside of the complex. A causeway leads to the second cluster from where a glimpse of the Ghateshwar Temple can be seen.
The Ghateshwar Temple is part of a group of eight temples known as the Baroli group of temples. There are two clusters in the complex. The first cluster is situated near the present entrance to the complex, provided by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The second cluster which includes the Ghateshwar Temple, is situated at the backside of the complex. A causeway leads to the second cluster from where a glimpse of the Ghateshwar Temple can be seen.
The Ghateshwar Temple consists of a garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), antarala (vestibule or antechamber) and a mukhamandapa (front porch) on plan. There is a rangamandapa (an open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) in front of the temple on the same axis. Both mandapas (pillared hall) feature a phamsana shikhara (pyramidal superstructure) while the garbhagriha has a latina shikhara (mono-spired superstructure).
The Ghateshwar Temple consists of a garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), antarala (vestibule or antechamber) and a mukhamandapa (front porch) on plan. There is a rangamandapa (an open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) in front of the temple on the same axis. Both mandapas (pillared hall) feature a phamsana shikhara (pyramidal superstructure) while the garbhagriha has a latina shikhara (mono-spired superstructure).
The Ghateshwar Temple has a rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) on the eastern end of the east-west axis, which is larger than the mukhamandapa (front porch). The rangamandapa also known as Shringara Chaori has low base mouldings on which large number of pillars stands, supporting the phamsana shikhara (pyramidal superstructure).
The Ghateshwar Temple has a rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) on the eastern end of the east-west axis, which is larger than the mukhamandapa (front porch). The rangamandapa also known as Shringara Chaori has low base mouldings on which large number of pillars stands, supporting the phamsana shikhara (pyramidal superstructure).
The mulaprasada (main shrine) has a mukhamandapa (front porch), antarala (vestibule or antechamber), and garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). The pillared hall is open with a pyramidal shikhara (superstructure). It leads to the antarala and the garbhagriha is a pancharatha (with five rathas or projections on each side) structure with a latina shikhara (mono-spired superstructure) which comprises a sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) at the front, an amalaka (a crowning member of the latina shikhara shaped like a myrobalan fruit) and a kalasha (pitcher finial) at the top.
The mulaprasada (main shrine) has a mukhamandapa (front porch), antarala (vestibule or antechamber), and garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). The pillared hall is open with a pyramidal shikhara (superstructure). It leads to the antarala and the garbhagriha is a pancharatha (with five rathas or projections on each side) structure with a latina shikhara (mono-spired superstructure) which comprises a sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) at the front, an amalaka (a crowning member of the latina shikhara shaped like a myrobalan fruit) and a kalasha (pitcher finial) at the top.
The rangamandapa (an open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) consists of a large number of heavy, ornately carved pillars that support the ceiling. The mandapa (pillared hall) has small projections and kakshasana (seat backs) on all four sides. The east and west sides of the mandapa are open, allowing entry. A pediment at the base of the pyramidal roof is filled with the figures of gods and goddesses.
The rangamandapa (an open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) consists of a large number of heavy, ornately carved pillars that support the ceiling. The mandapa (pillared hall) has small projections and kakshasana (seat backs) on all four sides. The east and west sides of the mandapa are open, allowing entry. A pediment at the base of the pyramidal roof is filled with the figures of gods and goddesses.
The west pediment on the shikhara (superstructure) of the separate rangamandapa (an open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) depicts the trinity. At the centre, Shiva is depicted in his Bhairava form, flanked by Vishnu on his right and Brahma on his left side. There are two other gods, one on each end. The trinity is shown seated while the other two gods are shown standing. A six-armed Bhairava is shown holding his multiple attributes and his aggressive aspect is shown through his fangs. A four-armed Vishnu is shown with his attributes, seated on Garuda and Bramha is also shown seated, holding his attributes. The other two gods are also four-armed and hold their respective attributes.
The west pediment on the shikhara (superstructure) of the separate rangamandapa (an open type of pillared hall used for ceremonial rituals) depicts the trinity. At the centre, Shiva is depicted in his Bhairava form, flanked by Vishnu on his right and Brahma on his left side. There are two other gods, one on each end. The trinity is shown seated while the other two gods are shown standing. A six-armed Bhairava is shown holding his multiple attributes and his aggressive aspect is shown through his fangs. A four-armed Vishnu is shown with his attributes, seated on Garuda and Bramha is also shown seated, holding his attributes. The other two gods are also four-armed and hold their respective attributes.
A beautiful sculpture of Kartikeya can be seen on the western pediment of the shikhara (superstructure) of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall). The God of war is depicted seated, with four faces, three of which are visible in the sculpture. He has eight arms and holds his weapons including a shakti/vel (spear), arrow, and bow. He is holding a cork in one of his hands and his frontal hands are carrying an akshamala (rosary) and a kamandalu (water pot). The slender body of the young war God is adorned with jewellery and yajnopavita (sacred thread). It is one of the most beautiful representations of Kartikey.
A beautiful sculpture of Kartikeya can be seen on the western pediment of the shikhara (superstructure) of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall). The God of war is depicted seated, with four faces, three of which are visible in the sculpture. He has eight arms and holds his weapons including a shakti/vel (spear), arrow, and bow. He is holding a cork in one of his hands and his frontal hands are carrying an akshamala (rosary) and a kamandalu (water pot). The slender body of the young war God is adorned with jewellery and yajnopavita (sacred thread). It is one of the most beautiful representations of Kartikey.
The pediment of the rangamandapa’s (open type of pillared hall) shikhara (superstructure) depicts other gods, including Surya and Vishnu. A standing figure of Surya and Vishnu can be seen on the pediment. A bejewelled Surya holds fully bloomed flowers in his two arms. The four-armed Vishnu is holding his respective weapons with one of his hands in varadahasta (boon-giving gesture) in which he holds an akshamala (rosary). Both deities are flanked by female figures.
The pediment of the rangamandapa’s (open type of pillared hall) shikhara (superstructure) depicts other gods, including Surya and Vishnu. A standing figure of Surya and Vishnu can be seen on the pediment. A bejewelled Surya holds fully bloomed flowers in his two arms. The four-armed Vishnu is holding his respective weapons with one of his hands in varadahasta (boon-giving gesture) in which he holds an akshamala (rosary). Both deities are flanked by female figures.
The rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) is comprised of a multitude of heavy, ornately carved pillars that support the ceiling, crafted in two distinct styles. The outer pillars feature a square base which turns into faceted shapes and transitions into a circular shaft. in contrast, the innermost pillars maintain a square shape and display depictions of deities on the panels at the top, supporting the brackets. There is a Shiva linga at the centre of the hall.
The rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) is comprised of a multitude of heavy, ornately carved pillars that support the ceiling, crafted in two distinct styles. The outer pillars feature a square base which turns into faceted shapes and transitions into a circular shaft. in contrast, the innermost pillars maintain a square shape and display depictions of deities on the panels at the top, supporting the brackets. There is a Shiva linga at the centre of the hall.
The centre of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) has a low-raised platform with pillars that support the central ceiling. Presently, a Shiva linga without a yonipatta (womb-shaped base for the linga) is placed at the center of this square platform. The Shiva linga may have been a later addition to the original design of the rangamandapa.
The centre of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) has a low-raised platform with pillars that support the central ceiling. Presently, a Shiva linga without a yonipatta (womb-shaped base for the linga) is placed at the center of this square platform. The Shiva linga may have been a later addition to the original design of the rangamandapa.
The pillars of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) feature a variety of motifs which are used to decorate these pillars. The square pillars are adorned with the purnaghata kalasha (vase of plenty), an auspicious decorative motif commonly found in Indian temples. The other motifs include a grassamukha, also known as kirtimukha (face of glory), as well as a leaf and beaded loop motif and a half medallion filled with flowers and birds.
The pillars of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) feature a variety of motifs which are used to decorate these pillars. The square pillars are adorned with the purnaghata kalasha (vase of plenty), an auspicious decorative motif commonly found in Indian temples. The other motifs include a grassamukha, also known as kirtimukha (face of glory), as well as a leaf and beaded loop motif and a half medallion filled with flowers and birds.
The ceilings of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) are intricately carved, presenting a variety of ceiling types and motifs. One of the rectangular ceilings depicts a full-blown lotus, with the figure of a divine couple at the centre. The male deity is shown seated, holding his attributes and embracing his consort, who is shown seated in his lap. The central flower is surrounded by four small flowers, each also depicting a divine figure at the centre.
The ceilings of the rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) are intricately carved, presenting a variety of ceiling types and motifs. One of the rectangular ceilings depicts a full-blown lotus, with the figure of a divine couple at the centre. The male deity is shown seated, holding his attributes and embracing his consort, who is shown seated in his lap. The central flower is surrounded by four small flowers, each also depicting a divine figure at the centre.
The rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) has revealed a few small inscriptions, one of which can be seen in the projected area on the west. The inscription is found on the moulding that serves as the base for the pillars.
The rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) has revealed a few small inscriptions, one of which can be seen in the projected area on the west. The inscription is found on the moulding that serves as the base for the pillars.
A Nandi is placed just outside the mukhamandapa (front porch), in the space between the separate rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) and mukhamandapa. The mukhamandapa has pillars and a makara-torana (ornamental arch adorned with intricate carvings of mythical creatures) at the front. The pillars consist of mouldings at the base, shaft, and cushion abacus topped by panels that support the brackets.
A Nandi is placed just outside the mukhamandapa (front porch), in the space between the separate rangamandapa (open type of pillared hall) and mukhamandapa. The mukhamandapa has pillars and a makara-torana (ornamental arch adorned with intricate carvings of mythical creatures) at the front. The pillars consist of mouldings at the base, shaft, and cushion abacus topped by panels that support the brackets.
The eastern pediment of the mukhamandapa’s (front porch) shikhara (superstructure) depicts a beautiful, seated figure of Shiva. The four-armed Shiva holds a trishula (trident) and a sarpa (snake) in his upper hands. In his lower left hand, he holds a kamandalu (water pot) and a pushpa (flower) in his lower right hand which is placed near his chest. Shiva is flanked by two female fly whisk bearers.
The eastern pediment of the mukhamandapa’s (front porch) shikhara (superstructure) depicts a beautiful, seated figure of Shiva. The four-armed Shiva holds a trishula (trident) and a sarpa (snake) in his upper hands. In his lower left hand, he holds a kamandalu (water pot) and a pushpa (flower) in his lower right hand which is placed near his chest. Shiva is flanked by two female fly whisk bearers.
The frontal pediment of the shikhara (superstructure) of the mukhamandapa (front porch) depicts locked doors, which is the most distinct element of the pediment, used here as a decorative motif. These closed doors represent the types of wooden doors that were used in the region during this period. The depiction is noteworthy as it also depicts a variety of heavy locks which were used in the old havelis of Rajasthan. Such representation of doors and locking systems is rarely found in temples, making the presence of these elements as decorative motifs in this temple particularly unique.
The frontal pediment of the shikhara (superstructure) of the mukhamandapa (front porch) depicts locked doors, which is the most distinct element of the pediment, used here as a decorative motif. These closed doors represent the types of wooden doors that were used in the region during this period. The depiction is noteworthy as it also depicts a variety of heavy locks which were used in the old havelis of Rajasthan. Such representation of doors and locking systems is rarely found in temples, making the presence of these elements as decorative motifs in this temple particularly unique.
The mukhamandapa (front porch) is an open hall with a magnificent entrance dominated by a makara-torana (ornamental arch adorned with intricate carvings of mythical crocodile creatures). The pillars of the mukhamandapa are carved with the figures of sursundaris (celestial maidens) and passionate couples, symbolizing the worldly realm. This stands in contrast to the main sanctum where the divine resides in darkness.
The mukhamandapa (front porch) is an open hall with a magnificent entrance dominated by a makara-torana (ornamental arch adorned with intricate carvings of mythical crocodile creatures). The pillars of the mukhamandapa are carved with the figures of sursundaris (celestial maidens) and passionate couples, symbolizing the worldly realm. This stands in contrast to the main sanctum where the divine resides in darkness.
The shafts of the front pillars are adorned with loops of bells and hanging bells. The pillars are adorned with the graceful standing figures of sursundaris (celestial maidens) which are currently broken and damaged. The figural panel at the top of the cushion abacus depicts sursundaris, dancers, and couples.
The shafts of the front pillars are adorned with loops of bells and hanging bells. The pillars are adorned with the graceful standing figures of sursundaris (celestial maidens) which are currently broken and damaged. The figural panel at the top of the cushion abacus depicts sursundaris, dancers, and couples.
The top portion of the pillars of the mukhamandapa (front porch) shows couples engaged in different activities such as love-making, dancing, and tender gestures such as a male figure removing a thorn from his partner’s foot and kissing. On the proper right pillar of the mukhamandapa, one panel shows a couple carrying weapons and embracing each other. The couple is flanked by beautiful female figures holding garlands and scarves.
The top portion of the pillars of the mukhamandapa (front porch) shows couples engaged in different activities such as love-making, dancing, and tender gestures such as a male figure removing a thorn from his partner’s foot and kissing. On the proper right pillar of the mukhamandapa, one panel shows a couple carrying weapons and embracing each other. The couple is flanked by beautiful female figures holding garlands and scarves.
The mukhamandapa (front porch) of the Ghateshwar Temple has an entry through an intricately carved makara-torana (ornamental arch adorned with intricate carvings of mythical crocodile creatures). The torana (ornamental arch) shows makara (crocodile) on each end. These makaras are being attacked by knights with a sword in their mouth. The floral bands emitting from the mouths of the makaras form a pointed arch, above which musicians are shown seated, playing musical instruments, and singing. At the apex, a kirtimukha (face of glory) flanked by two flute players is depicted.
The mukhamandapa (front porch) of the Ghateshwar Temple has an entry through an intricately carved makara-torana (ornamental arch adorned with intricate carvings of mythical crocodile creatures). The torana (ornamental arch) shows makara (crocodile) on each end. These makaras are being attacked by knights with a sword in their mouth. The floral bands emitting from the mouths of the makaras form a pointed arch, above which musicians are shown seated, playing musical instruments, and singing. At the apex, a kirtimukha (face of glory) flanked by two flute players is depicted.
The pillars of the mukhamandapa (front porch) show youthful and charming sursundaris (celestial damsels) with captivating beauty. While many of these figures are badly damaged or lost, the intact figures show the voluptuous bodies of these sursundaris, covered with translucent, fine pieces of cloth, standing on lotus flowers. Their appearance is further enhanced by the jewelleries and elaborate hairstyles.
The pillars of the mukhamandapa (front porch) show youthful and charming sursundaris (celestial damsels) with captivating beauty. While many of these figures are badly damaged or lost, the intact figures show the voluptuous bodies of these sursundaris, covered with translucent, fine pieces of cloth, standing on lotus flowers. Their appearance is further enhanced by the jewelleries and elaborate hairstyles.
The ceiling of the mukhamandapa (front porch) is square in shape and intricately carved with floral motifs and figures of gods accompanied by their consorts. The corners of the ceiling are decorated with half-lotus medallions. The inner square repeats the same pattern and the innermost square depicts lobbed arched four-petal flowers at the centre and on each side. Notably, the corners of the innermost square feature depictions of Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, and another deity with their consorts, flanked by female attendants.
The ceiling of the mukhamandapa (front porch) is square in shape and intricately carved with floral motifs and figures of gods accompanied by their consorts. The corners of the ceiling are decorated with half-lotus medallions. The inner square repeats the same pattern and the innermost square depicts lobbed arched four-petal flowers at the centre and on each side. Notably, the corners of the innermost square feature depictions of Ganesha, Brahma, Vishnu, and another deity with their consorts, flanked by female attendants.
Interestingly, the floor of the mukhamandapa (front porch) of the Ghateshwar Temple is engraved with numerous inscriptions. On paleographic grounds, it can be observed that the inscriptions on the floor are heterogeneous and belong to different periods. Their lack of sequence or order further suggests that they belong to different time periods.
Interestingly, the floor of the mukhamandapa (front porch) of the Ghateshwar Temple is engraved with numerous inscriptions. On paleographic grounds, it can be observed that the inscriptions on the floor are heterogeneous and belong to different periods. Their lack of sequence or order further suggests that they belong to different time periods.
The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) can be accessed through a doorframe which is carved with the figures of river Goddess and dvaralapalas (door guardians) at the bottom and the trinity—Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma on the lintel. The dvarashakas (architraves or doorjambs) are plain except for one, which shows a floral design.
The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) can be accessed through a doorframe which is carved with the figures of river Goddess and dvaralapalas (door guardians) at the bottom and the trinity—Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma on the lintel. The dvarashakas (architraves or doorjambs) are plain except for one, which shows a floral design.
The lalatbimba (lintel) of the doorframe is relatively plain, featuring three large panels placed at the centre and two on the extreme ends depicting the trinity—Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. In the central panel, an ethereal sculpture of Shiva in the form of Nataraja is carved. To the proper left, a sculpture of Vishnu is carved, while to the proper right, a sculpture of Brahma is represented. Nataraja had multiple arms, now all broken, with an elegant posture and glorious face drawing attention. He is accompanied by two musicians who are playing musical instruments. The charming figure of Vishnu is shown holding shankha (conch), gada (mace) and chakra (discuss). The three-faced Brahma is also carved with four arms, now broken, with his vahana (vehicle or mount) at the bottom.
The lalatbimba (lintel) of the doorframe is relatively plain, featuring three large panels placed at the centre and two on the extreme ends depicting the trinity—Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. In the central panel, an ethereal sculpture of Shiva in the form of Nataraja is carved. To the proper left, a sculpture of Vishnu is carved, while to the proper right, a sculpture of Brahma is represented. Nataraja had multiple arms, now all broken, with an elegant posture and glorious face drawing attention. He is accompanied by two musicians who are playing musical instruments. The charming figure of Vishnu is shown holding shankha (conch), gada (mace) and chakra (discuss). The three-faced Brahma is also carved with four arms, now broken, with his vahana (vehicle or mount) at the bottom.
The bottom of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) door frame is decorated with the figures of the river Goddess and dvarapalas (door guardians). On the proper right side of the doorframe, the river Goddess Ganga is represented. The Goddess is shown standing on a pedestal with her vahana (mount), a makara (crocodile), depicted behind the pedestal. She is heavily bejewelled and has a canopy of inverted flowers. Next to her stands a four-armed dvarapala, with all arms broken. He has a beard and his jatas (matted hair) are neatly arranged in layers, and his two attendants are depicted alongside him. At the bottom, a niche is carved which is installed with the figure of Ganesha.
The bottom of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) door frame is decorated with the figures of the river Goddess and dvarapalas (door guardians). On the proper right side of the doorframe, the river Goddess Ganga is represented. The Goddess is shown standing on a pedestal with her vahana (mount), a makara (crocodile), depicted behind the pedestal. She is heavily bejewelled and has a canopy of inverted flowers. Next to her stands a four-armed dvarapala, with all arms broken. He has a beard and his jatas (matted hair) are neatly arranged in layers, and his two attendants are depicted alongside him. At the bottom, a niche is carved which is installed with the figure of Ganesha.
On the proper left side of the doorframe, the river Goddess Yamuna is depicted standing on a pedestal, with her vahana (mount), a kachhapa (tortoise), shown on the same pedestal. Next to her, a Shaiva dvarapala (door guardian) is depicted with his two attendants, one male and one female. Beneath this, a niche is carved, featuring a figure of Kartikeya with three heads, holding his weapon, the spear, in front.
On the proper left side of the doorframe, the river Goddess Yamuna is depicted standing on a pedestal, with her vahana (mount), a kachhapa (tortoise), shown on the same pedestal. Next to her, a Shaiva dvarapala (door guardian) is depicted with his two attendants, one male and one female. Beneath this, a niche is carved, featuring a figure of Kartikeya with three heads, holding his weapon, the spear, in front.
The antarala (vestibule or antechamber) is a rectangular passage that connects the mukhamandapa (front porch) and garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). The ceiling of the antarala is beautifully adorned with three square frames aligned in a row. Each of these square frames is decorated with a full-blown flower.
The antarala (vestibule or antechamber) is a rectangular passage that connects the mukhamandapa (front porch) and garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). The ceiling of the antarala is beautifully adorned with three square frames aligned in a row. Each of these square frames is decorated with a full-blown flower.
The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), square in shape from the inside, features a distinct round or ghata (pot-shaped) linga, from which the temple derives its name, Ghateshvara. On the rear wall, a niche with an udgama (pediment of interconnected chaitya dormers) is fixed, housing a figure of a deity (currently without a head). Adjacent to it is another sculpture of a four-armed Goddess. The sculpture of this Goddess may belong to a later period, as her appearance differs from other sculptures in the temple.
The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), square in shape from the inside, features a distinct round or ghata (pot-shaped) linga, from which the temple derives its name, Ghateshvara. On the rear wall, a niche with an udgama (pediment of interconnected chaitya dormers) is fixed, housing a figure of a deity (currently without a head). Adjacent to it is another sculpture of a four-armed Goddess. The sculpture of this Goddess may belong to a later period, as her appearance differs from other sculptures in the temple.
The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is comparatively plain and simple, except for the ceiling, which has a square shape with four-armed bharavakas (weight bearers) positioned at each corner. Their upper arms are raised upward to support the roof, while their lower arms carry weapons and an attribute. The square shape of the ceiling transitions into a circle, resembling a full-blown lotus, with a lotus bud hanging from the centre.
The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is comparatively plain and simple, except for the ceiling, which has a square shape with four-armed bharavakas (weight bearers) positioned at each corner. Their upper arms are raised upward to support the roof, while their lower arms carry weapons and an attribute. The square shape of the ceiling transitions into a circle, resembling a full-blown lotus, with a lotus bud hanging from the centre.
The pancharatha garbhagriha (sanctum with five offset projection) of the Ghateshwar Temple stands on a vedibandha (basal moulding) comprising a khura, kumbha (pot), kalasha (a pitcher), antarapata (recesses between moulding) and kapotapalika (cyma eve cornice). The jangha (wall) above has a bhadra (central offset), pratibhadra (offset flanking bhadra) and karna (corner offset). The bhadra has a niche installed with the figure of Andhkasuravadha. The pratiratha and karna are plain pilasters. The varandika (moulded parapet) above the jangha displays a checkered band between two kapotapalikas. The shikhara (superstructure) of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is of the latina (vertical mono-spire) type.
The pancharatha garbhagriha (sanctum with five offset projection) of the Ghateshwar Temple stands on a vedibandha (basal moulding) comprising a khura, kumbha (pot), kalasha (a pitcher), antarapata (recesses between moulding) and kapotapalika (cyma eve cornice). The jangha (wall) above has a bhadra (central offset), pratibhadra (offset flanking bhadra) and karna (corner offset). The bhadra has a niche installed with the figure of Andhkasuravadha. The pratiratha and karna are plain pilasters. The varandika (moulded parapet) above the jangha displays a checkered band between two kapotapalikas. The shikhara (superstructure) of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is of the latina (vertical mono-spire) type.
One of the most beautiful and eye-catching sculptures of this temple is situated on the southern wall of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) in the bhadra (central offset). It depicts Shiva in the form of Andhakasurvadha, holding various attributes in his multiple arms. He is carrying a broken weapon which could be a trishula (trident) and is depicted holding the head and skin of a gajasura (a demon in disguise of an elephant). There are three small figures at the bottom of the panel out of which one is Chamunda, on his left, shown drinking from the bowl.
One of the most beautiful and eye-catching sculptures of this temple is situated on the southern wall of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) in the bhadra (central offset). It depicts Shiva in the form of Andhakasurvadha, holding various attributes in his multiple arms. He is carrying a broken weapon which could be a trishula (trident) and is depicted holding the head and skin of a gajasura (a demon in disguise of an elephant). There are three small figures at the bottom of the panel out of which one is Chamunda, on his left, shown drinking from the bowl.
On the north wall of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), Chamunda is depicted with multiple arms, standing on a human body. All her arms are broken except her upper three arms, one of which is carrying a shield. She has a halo around her head with flying celestial shown on both sides of her halo. She has a jatamukuta (crown of matted hair) decorated with a human skull. Her face is damaged, but one can see bulging eyes. She has a thin body with shrivelled breasts and a sunken belly.
On the north wall of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), Chamunda is depicted with multiple arms, standing on a human body. All her arms are broken except her upper three arms, one of which is carrying a shield. She has a halo around her head with flying celestial shown on both sides of her halo. She has a jatamukuta (crown of matted hair) decorated with a human skull. Her face is damaged, but one can see bulging eyes. She has a thin body with shrivelled breasts and a sunken belly.
The shikhara (superstructure) of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is made in the latina (vertical mono-spire) style. The bhadra (central offset) and pratibhadra (offset flanking bhadra) of the shikhara are profusely carved with chaitya (dormer windows) arches and the karna (corner offset) is decorated with chaitya arches and amalakas (crowning member of the latina shikhara shaped like a myrobalan fruit).
The shikhara (superstructure) of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) is made in the latina (vertical mono-spire) style. The bhadra (central offset) and pratibhadra (offset flanking bhadra) of the shikhara are profusely carved with chaitya (dormer windows) arches and the karna (corner offset) is decorated with chaitya arches and amalakas (crowning member of the latina shikhara shaped like a myrobalan fruit).
One of the most interesting sculptures is of a dhvaja vahaka (flag bearer), placed at the shikhara (superstructure) of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). The bearded male figure is shown standing, facing the shikhara, with one leg placed on the floor and the other placed on a lotus pedestal. He is wearing a crown and is heavily adorned with jewels. He is carrying a sword which can be seen hanging from his waist. His hands are shown one above the other, holding a hollow circular disk, which must have been used to hold the dhvaja (flag) of the temple.
One of the most interesting sculptures is of a dhvaja vahaka (flag bearer), placed at the shikhara (superstructure) of the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). The bearded male figure is shown standing, facing the shikhara, with one leg placed on the floor and the other placed on a lotus pedestal. He is wearing a crown and is heavily adorned with jewels. He is carrying a sword which can be seen hanging from his waist. His hands are shown one above the other, holding a hollow circular disk, which must have been used to hold the dhvaja (flag) of the temple.
The sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) is placed above the antarala (vestibule or antechamber) which serves as the frontal pediment of the garbhagriha’s (sanctum sanctorum) shikhara (superstructure). The southern side of the sukanasa is carved with a distinct scene depicting a miniature balcony where three beautiful women are shown talking to each other. Above the balcony, an udgama (pediment of interconnected chaitya dormers) is placed, depicting a four-armed Goddess seated on a lotus seat, flanked by two attendants.
The sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) is placed above the antarala (vestibule or antechamber) which serves as the frontal pediment of the garbhagriha’s (sanctum sanctorum) shikhara (superstructure). The southern side of the sukanasa is carved with a distinct scene depicting a miniature balcony where three beautiful women are shown talking to each other. Above the balcony, an udgama (pediment of interconnected chaitya dormers) is placed, depicting a four-armed Goddess seated on a lotus seat, flanked by two attendants.
The southern side of the sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) is carved with a distinct scene depicting a miniature balcony where three beautiful women are shown conversing with each other. Above the balcony, an udgama (pediment of interconnected chaitya dormers) is placed, depicting a four-armed Goddess seated on a lotus seat, flanked by two attendants.
The southern side of the sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) is carved with a distinct scene depicting a miniature balcony where three beautiful women are shown conversing with each other. Above the balcony, an udgama (pediment of interconnected chaitya dormers) is placed, depicting a four-armed Goddess seated on a lotus seat, flanked by two attendants.
The south face of the sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) shows a monkey sitting on a pedestal just above the balcony scene. The monkey is depicted eating fruit, with a noteworthy expression featuring large, bulging circular eyes and an open mouth. There are many temples in which animals are depicted. As monkeys are notorious in nature, they are mostly shown jumping and climbing but here, these actions are not depicted. Rather, the monkey is shown seated alone, peacefully eating a fruit, which makes it a unique representation.
The south face of the sukanasa (antefix above the roof of the kapila) shows a monkey sitting on a pedestal just above the balcony scene. The monkey is depicted eating fruit, with a noteworthy expression featuring large, bulging circular eyes and an open mouth. There are many temples in which animals are depicted. As monkeys are notorious in nature, they are mostly shown jumping and climbing but here, these actions are not depicted. Rather, the monkey is shown seated alone, peacefully eating a fruit, which makes it a unique representation.