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The Kaḷinga architectural style (Odia: କଳିଙ୍ଗ ସ୍ଥାପତ୍ୟକଳା) is a style which flourished in the ancient Kalinga region or present eastern Indian state of Odisha , West Bengal and northern Andhra Pradesh. The style consists of three distinct types of temples: Rekha Deula, Pidha Deula and Khakhara Deula. The former two are associated with Vishnu, Surya and Shiva temples while the third is mainly with Chamunda and Durga temples. The Rekha Deula and Khakhara Deula houses the sanctum sanctorum while the Pidha Deula constitutes outer dancing and offering halls.
In Kalinga, the ancient land of Sakta cult, divine iconography existed since the mythological era. Present day research implies that idols (deities) were placed under auspicious Trees in the ancient days. And maybe today a Temple in general carries various minute details and the overall shape of some heritage tree. The various aspects of a typical Kalinga Temple include Architectural stipulations, Iconography, historical connotations and honoring the traditions, customs and associated legends.
According to Manusmṛti there is a specific hierarchy of Command for the management of people involved in they are classified as:
Besides these primary set of specialists, various supportive functions are carried out by other people.
Primarily certain classes of stones are considered auspicious for the construction of Kalinga deula (temples). Shilpa Chandrika, an ancient architecture book define some specific seven varieties of stone as ideal and specific types are used for certain portions of the temple :
Though clay bricks have been used in very rare cases most Kalingan temples are built using these stones.
Various aspects like type of soil, shape of the Plot, location of the plot, availability and type of space and ground water level, etc. are taken into consideration while selecting the site. Color, density, composition and moisture content of the soil discriminates between the best,middle, sub-middle and worst kind of soil. Based on Vastu Shastra, a rectangular, square, elliptical or circular plot of land is selected in order of preference.
This is an intricate and ancient method in Shilpa Shastra, by which the temples direction and the auspicious moment for beginning the sacred construction is determined. Like the present day Geomorphology, Seismology, Topology etc., probably this is some ancient science which guides the architect to understand natural forces and build stable massive structures in Orissa.
The Mukhya Sthaptya (Main Sculptor similar to Chief Architect) creates a scale model based on traditional stipulations and takes the Karta's (producer / financier) approval. In many instances we see such depictions on walls and motifs.
By observing conventional masonry and going through the following steps of the preparation of potā and piṭha the foundation of a temple could be understood:
Keeping the Sanku (the vertical axis through the center of Asṭadala Padma Chakaḍā) as the exact center of Garbhagruha, the ground plan of the proposed temple is engraved by the Sthapati and Sutragrahaṇi with the help of a sharp edged instrument, on the perfectly leveled Piṭha. As temples in every of their details depend on proportions, complex ancient methods are used for correct geometric designing and executing the ground plan (bhunaksa) to ensure long term stability and aesthetic appearance of these huge structures. Simplicity or intricacy of the temple is reflected in this ground plan.
Thereafter, the Bardhanikas set about precut stones, under the strict vigilance of Sutragrahaṇi as per the Bhunaksa, deula gaddanni has started.
Temple architecture in Odisha evolved over a long period of time. Stipulated architectural principles with ample provision for artistic improvisation enabled the progressive generations. Temples in Odisha are based on certain fundamental principles of stability and take their cue from the human body. The superstructure is basically divided into three parts, the Bāḍa (Lower Limb), the Ganḍi (Body) and the Cuḷa/Mastaka (Head). Accordingly, each part is given a different treatment throughout, from the architecture to the final ornamentation of the Temple.