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Parashurameshvara Temple (IAST: Parasuramesvara) also spelt Parsurameswar, located in the East Indian city of Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is considered the best preserved specimen of an early Orissan Hindu temple dated to the Shailodbhava period between the 7th and 8th centuries CE. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and is one of the oldest existing temples in the state. It is believed to have been built around 650 CE in Nagara style and has all the main features of the pre-10th century Orissan-style temples. The temple is one among the Parashurameshvara group of temples.

Parashurameshvara Temple has a vimana, the sanctum, and a bada, the curvilinear spire over its roof, rising to a height of 40.25 ft (12.27 m). It is the first temple to have an additional structure called jagamohana, compared to the earlier temples that had only the vimana. Though the temple is dedicated to Shiva, it contains sculpted images of Shakta deities, which are otherwise normally part of Shakta temples. The temple is the first in Bhubaneswar to contain depictions of Saptamatrikas, namely, Chamunda, Varahi, Indrani, Vaishnavi, Kaumari, Shivani and Brahmi. The temple is maintained and administered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a ticketed monument. Parashurashtami is the major festival celebrated in the temple during June-July every year. The temple is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the state of Odisha.

History

Parashurameshvara Temple is one of the Parashurameshvara group of temples, considered to be the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar. Some historians believe Parashurameshvara Temple to have been built in the early 8th century CE., subsequent to the construction of the Satruguneswar, Bharateswar and Lakshmaneswar temples in the late 7th century, although K.C.Panigrahi places the date as 650 CE. Fergusson believed that the temple might have been initiated at around 500 CE. A mid-7th century date is agreed by most scholars based on style and the presence of the eight planets which appear over the door to the inner sanctum as the later temples portray nine.

Parashurameshvara Temple was built by the Shailodbhavas, who had Shiva as their family deity. The Shailodbhavas also respected the Shakta deities and depicted Shakta images on the walls of the temple. The temple was repaired in 1903, with some changes in the roof of the inner sanctum, whilst retaining most of the original structure.Being located in the eastern coast, Parashurameshvara, like other Orissan temples, was not much affected by Muslim invasions of the 12-13th centuries. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a ticketed monument.

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