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Ancient Temples of Baroli: Prime specimina of Pratihara Architecture

The Baroli Temples are among the oldest temples of, not just the state, but the whole Indian subcontinent.

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Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Baroli Temples

Most of the temples in the complex were built in the 10th century during the reign of Gurjar Pratihara dynasty, and are significant source for understanding the Pratihara architecture style. Situated on the outskirts of Rawatbhata town of Chittorgarh, this temple complex of 9 temples is named after the village Baroli where they’re founded.

Though all the temples were built around a natural fountain (emerged on the rocky bank of the Chambal River), only eight of them are set within a walled enclosure; one being situated almost a kilometer away from the central premises.

Regardless of the location, all these temples are few of the most underrated and finest architectural pieces of their time, as is vouchsafed by many archeologists who have studied its architecture.

The structural design within the complex depicts exquisite stonework with intricate carvings. The Pancharatha shikhara (pinnacle), entrance archway, pillars, and niches, all the various parts of the complex depict superior instances of stonework carving. This feature is especially visible in the most prominent and largest temple of the complex, where every aspect of the building from shikhar to portico and pillars shows elaborate carvings.

The presiding deity of this grand temple is Lord Shiva, who is present in the sanctum of the temple in the form of five Shivalingas. Out of these five amorphous idols of Lord Shiva, one appears like an earthen pot or ‘Ghat’ as called in Sanskrit. It is because of this Ghat-shaped shivalinga the temple is named as Ghateshwar Mahadev temple.

Three other temples in the complex too are dedicated to Lord Shiva, out of which, one is situated in the middle of now dried-up tank. A significant part of this temple had become victim of the ravages of time. The chief idol (Shivlinga), however, still appears almost completely unscathed. The primary deities of the other Baroli temples are Lord Ganesha, Vishnu, Trimurti, and Goddess Durga.

Apart from temples, the complex also houses a sacred step-well, a couple lone pillars, an elaborate hall (called Rangmandapa) attached to the Ghateshwar Mahadev temple, all of which feature the same intricate stonework, demonstrating a perfect of fusion Nagara and Pratihara architecture style that has now become the signature characteristic of the place itself.

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