A fine example of the Bhumija style of architecture that made its mark during the reign of the Paramara dynasty (Paramaras of Malwa) is the Shiva Mandir located in the sleepy village of Bari Kanoda in Damoh district. This west-facing temple has likely been built towards the end of the 12th century by a local chieftain.
The temple has a square pancharatha sanctum with a richly embellished shikhara. On each of the five tiers of the curvilinear shikhara, are miniature shikharas. There are decorative vertical bands on either side of these small shikharas with some traditional elements that are difficult to identify. The external façade is adorned with geometric and floral motifs and linear carved bands.
The most impressive feature of this temple is the intricately carved entrance doorway. There are niche like panels on either side with stunning sculptures of Lord Ganesha, goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna with their respective attendants and smaller sculptures that are difficult to ascertain. Besides these ornate panels, there are interesting repetitive motifs on either side that enhance the main carvings. The bottom panel of the entrance has elephants, auspicious Hindu iconography and what appears to be Lord Shiva in the Nataraja pose.
The Lalata Bimba has a beautiful carving of Lord Shiva with Lord Brahma on the extreme right and probably Lord Vishnu on the extreme left but sadly, that panel has since fallen off. There are smaller panels above this that appear to be the four venerated sages namely the Sanakadis and a panel of perhaps Durga Devi on his left that appears to have faded.
This temple is a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)