The leaning temple of Huma
The main temple, dedicated to Lord Bimaleswar, and other smaller temples in the compound lean, though at different angles. But the pinnacle is perpendicular to the ground.
A MARVEL: Theories abound but devotees firmly believe that Viswakarma designed the structure.
Experts are foxed by this temple because Silpasashtra, the traditional manual for temple architecture, does not mention such edifices.
Located on the banks of the Mahanadi, the 17th century temple of Huma leans at an angle of 47 degrees to the west. Not only the main temple but also the smaller temples in the compound and the gateway lean, although at different angles! What is even more puzzling is that while the edifice leans, the pinnacle is perpendicular to the ground.
This temple, dedicated to Lord Bimaleswar, is a Saivite shrine in village Huma, 28 km Sambalpur, the premier western Orissa city.
Believed to have been built in 1670 A.D. by King Baliar Singh, the fifth king of Sambalpur's Chauhan dynasty, this temple has baffled historians and architects over the years. There have been some theories, none of them very convincing, that seek to explain the strange phenomenon. Some of the most popular theories are the tilt is due to some defect in construction, due to weak foundation, due to the displacement of the rock bed.
No visible crack
But there is no visible crack on the body of the temple which is a rather small structure. All these combine to disprove the theories and the impression gets credence that the temple would not lean unless built like that. There is, however, a legend associated with this temple. The story goes that the lingam around which the temple is built was originally discovered by a cowherd. One of his cows would go into the jungle everyday and return without any milk.
The bewildered cowherd followed the cow one day and was amazed to find the animal standing over a black rock spraying it with its milk. It did not take the cowherd long to realise that the rock was in fact a Sivalinga and he began worshipping the God there everyday.
Huma is a picturesque place that attracts many picnickers. A large fair is held here on the Siva Chaturdasi day in February. A flight of steps connects the temple to the river which has an abundance of fish. The devotees offer food to these fish which are never hooked as they are considered devotees of Lord Siva. Interestingly, the leaning temple is no mystery to the people of the village. They firmly believe that it was built by Viswakarma, the divine architect! Sambalpur is at a distance of 300 km from the state capital of Bhubaneswar and is well connected by bus and rail service.
While Sambalpur has a number of lower, medium and a few top end hotels, a cab can be hired to reach the leaning temple of Huma. But make your own food arrangement.
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