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date: 11 December 2019

Bhitargaon [Bhītaragaon]locked

  • Michael D. Willis

Extract

[Bhītaragaon]

Site of a 5th-century ad brick temple in Uttar Pradesh, India. The temple at Bhitargaon is the best-preserved example of 5th-century brick architecture in northern India and is especially noted for its in situ terracotta plaques and pyramidal superstructure. The building (Skt śikhara; 21×14.6×10.9 m), orientated towards the east, has a square cella entered through a ruined rectangular vestibule. Externally the cella has prominent projections (bhadra) on each side. A podium (vedībandha), dominated by a tall moulding with a curved top (kumbha), runs around the base of the structure. Above the podium, the wall is divided into sections by attached pilasters with pot-like bases, capitals and elaborate abaci. Some of the niches between the pilasters retain their original terracotta plaques with images of Shiva and Vishnu in various forms. The entablature (varaṇḍikā) consists of two heavy cornices with an intervening recess containing terracottas of animals and mythic creatures. The rectilinear superstructure is damaged, but the surviving portions show that it was ornamented with tiers of arched niches in varying sizes; some of the niches contain terracotta busts and full figures of deities. There were other brick temples in the vicinity, but these are now completely ruined....

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