I started with the lesser-known temples. My main focus was to admire the ancient architecture, capture beauty of the temple façades, and gain some interesting insights into myths and mythology on some of the temples.
I hailed an auto, was so lucky that I got Kumar as the driver-guide who promised me that he would show me around as none other (expedient if he accompanied me). Most locals find it difficult to enter some of the well-known temples, and I figured out why!
Temples in Orissa have certain attributes that are so enduring and attractive. The archetypal colorful lion with its paw up in blessing form, symbolic of Lakshmi temples. The lions on both sides are a riot of colors, bulging large eyes, seated, and is the first welcoming figure nearby the temple arch.
All around the arched entrance and open courtyards are stories and tales of Hindu folklore painted on the walls, bright statues of gods and goddesses ensconced in niches. Ceilings intricate with geometrical patterns.
Kumar failed the test here in explaining the stories of the temples, only locating them was his forte. I had to rely on the priest to tell the tale, and that is when I realised that I should have held my purse strings tighter.
(to be cont)