Shiva Mandapika Temple, an early example of Shaiva Siddhanta in Central India is located in the historical city of Mahua, formerly known as Madhumati. This 7th century temple known locally as Small Siva Temple is the oldest surviving temple of this village.
The temple stands on a low platform and is built as a pancharatha with a garbha griha, a mandapa and an ardha mandapa though the mandapa has since fallen off. It would appear that this temple might have been built without a shikhara over the sanctum or that it has fallen off or was desecrated.
The ardha mandapa is supported by two rather plain pillars and two pilasters. Interestingly, the entrance to the sanctum is bereft of decoration and carvings. There are some markings on the lintel of gavākṣha in the middle and on either side.
Yamuna is seen standing on the left on a tortoise with an attendant. There are foliage patterns on the left side but the right side is strangely bare.
This temple has one of the earliest experiments of recessed niches in the external facades. Four pilasters on each side have three niches with the middle one occupied by Lord Ganesha, Devi as Mahishasura Mardini and Lord Varaha on the three external walls.
The panels on either side of the central niche have animals, foliage and human figures. A sizeable section of the carvings on the temple are now 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)