A stunning example of 10th century temple architecture of the Kalachuris of Tripuri also known as Kalachuris of Chedi is the Kodal Shiva Temple located in the remote Kodal village in Damoh district. This east-facing temple has the most exquisite sculptures of that period adorning the external façade.
This centuries-old temple is built on a low moulded platform and originally had a mandapa. The mandapa unfortunately has been completely damaged over the years and only fragments remain. The pancharatha sanctum has a Latina shikhara that is reasonably preserved up to the fifth tier. The upper portion of the shikhara that most likely would have conformed with the Nagara style of architecture has since fallen off.
The most interesting feature of this temple is the intricately carved entrance doorway. The bottom panel has elephants, what appears to be lions and a Shiva Linga in the middle flanked by some figures that maybe gods. On either side of the doorway are Ganga and Yamuna flanked by their attendants. There are four carved panels on either side with beautiful figures.
Uma Maheshwara sits in the middle of the Lalata Bimba with the Navagraha devathas. One can see the Sapta Matrikas dancing on the lintel with Lord Nataraja in the middle and Lord Ganesha and Lord Virabhadra on either side.
There are sculptures of Lord Nataraja, Lord Shiva as Andhakantaka, the celestial beauties known as Surasundaris, Lord Vigneshwara with Vighneshwari Devi, traditional Hindu iconography and repetitive floral and geometric motifs on the facades.
There are ruins of a math found within this complex that locals say used to be a centre for learning in the ancient times. It is believed that the original structure and its surroundings are of great antiquity. Locals say that if excavations are conducted, it is very likely that one will uncover objects and wealth of the ancient past.
A number of devotees throng this temple in the auspicious month of Shravan. This 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)