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  • Nitika Mehra

Which is the Oldest Functional Hindu Temple of India ?

Updated: May 5, 2022

The information plaque erected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the site indicates the dating of the "Mundeshwari Devi Temple" to 625 CE. Hindu inscriptions dated 625 CE were found in this temple. The temple is a protected monument under ASI since 1915 and a subject of archaeological study for the quite sometime. They have restored the temple under instruction from the Union Ministry of Culture. It is located at Kaura in Kaimur district in the state of Bihar, India on the Mundeshwari Hills near Son river and Survuwara (suvara) river. There are many archaeological relics on this Mundeshwari Hill.

Which is the Oldest Functional Hindu Temple of India ?

It is an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Shakti and is considered one of the oldest functional Hindu temples of India. The main deities in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple are of the Devi Mundeshwari (form of Devi Shakti) and Chaturmukh (four faced) Shiva linga. Even though the Shiva linga is installed in the centre of the sanctum, the main presiding deity is Devi Mundeshwari deified inside a niche, which is seen with ten hands holding symbols riding a buffalo, attributed to Mahishasuramardini.

The temple is built of stone on an octagonal plan. It is the earliest specimen of the Nagara style of temple architecture in Bihar. There are doors or windows on four sides and small niches for the reception of statues in the remaining four walls. At the entrance, doors have jambs of carved images of Dvarapalas, Ganga, Yamuna and many other murtis. The temple also has murtis of other popular gods such as Ganesha, Surya and Vishnu. A substantial part of this stone structure has been damaged, and many stone fragments are seen strewn around the temple.

You can Mundeshwari Devi Temple by three ways as described below:

  1. Via Patna, Gaya, or Varanasi road.

  2. Via nearest railway station - 'Mohania - Bhabua Road railway station' located at a distance of 22 km from the temple.

  3. Via nearest airport - 'Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport', Varanasi, located at a distance of 102 km from the Temple.

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