Another excellent example of the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the Guptas is the ancient brick temple of Mahadeo Baba in Parauri village in Kanpur Nagar district. This charming brick temple, though relatively unknown and relegated to obscurity for centuries sits in the midst of stunning natural beauty.
Archaeological excavations conducted in the late 1800s and early 1900s revealed striking similarities between this temple and the ones built in Deogarh and Bhitargaon. Historians opine that this temple located around 4 kms north-west of Bhitargaon was also built in the 5th century.
The most interesting feature of this temple is the rare circular sanctum sanctorum that has been built exactly as per the tenets of the Hindu scriptures. It is to be noted that this temple has been designed as a hexadecagon (sixteen-sided polygon or 16-gon).
This west-facing temple had an ornate entrance that precisely cut through three sides offering a beautiful view of the Shiva Linga consecrated in the sanctum sanctorum. For some unknown reason, parts of this temple began collapsing and the earliest pictures taken in the late 1800s show the sides already severely damaged.
The walls were richly embellished with sculptures adorning the projecting niches. It is likely that the shikhara was constructed over a flat roof base with a hollow chamber in-between. Today, one can only see the foundation and lower parts of the original temple.
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)