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.

Above text taken from:

“Pasayat, Chitra sen, 1990 ” The leaning temple of Huma in Sambal pur District in Orissa” , Orissa Review , November, pp 20- 23 reproduced in the book “Glimpses of tribal and folk culture by the same author”

Sambal pur districts finds large number of Siva temples built under the royal patronage of Chauhan rulers. The word sambal pur has come from shambhu and it is from here that a tribe derived their name. The
most important among them were thos of the Asta Sambalpur (litt. Eight sambhu or siva) which are

1 Bimaleswar (Huma) 2. Kedarnath (Ambabhona) 3. Viswanath (Deogaon) 4. Balunkeswar (Gaisama) 5. Maneswar (Maneswar) 6. SWapneswar (Sorna) 7. Visweswar (Soranda) 8. Nilantheswar (Niljee)

The Bimaleswar temple at Huma on the south bank of Mahanadi was built by Maharaja Baliar Singh, the second Chauhan king of Sambal pur. Huma is about 24 kms from Sambalpur. It is one of the earliest among
the Asta Sambhu.

There are certain miniature temples, which are also made to lean. The existence of other leaning miniatures as well as the lack of sculptures on the body of the temples, so as to keep it light, proves that the leaning of the temple is deliberate and man made rather than being accidental. It bears testimony to the advanced technical know how of the Chauhan builders of Western Orissa.

The deul slants considerably in two directions. The puzzle is that the porch of the temple appears square and there are no apparent filled in gaps between the porch and deul. Marvel indeed.

The surprising thing is, the main temple tilted to one direction and other small temples tilted to some other direction. And within the temple complex i.e. within the boundaries of temple, everything found
to be in tilted condition including the boundaries.

Lord Bimaleswara is worshipped in the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorium) of the temple. Goddess Bhairavi is worshipped to his left and lord Bhairo to his right.

The kudo fish in the river are so tame that they eat sweetmeats from the tourists. the river ghat is known as machhindra ghat,

Twenty two steps leading to this ghat reminds us twenty two steps of Shri Jagannath Temple at Puri. The water of machhindra ghat is considered to be sacred.

Devotees take their bath here before offering puja to the deity. Sometimes, people offer food to kudo fishes. It is quite fascinating to see these fishes accepting food from the human beings without any fear. This reminds us the Maneswara Saiva pitha where tortoises in the adjacent pond also accept food from human beings without fear

Interestingly, the kudo fishes respond to the call of the priests and come to the steps of the bathing ghat to be fed by the pilgrims. Nobody is allowed to catch them (Senapati and Mahanti, 1971 : 11). Local people consider them as divine creatures and matchha avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu at Huma and Katchhapa avatar at Maneswara. It is believed that there is a secret path from the seat of Lord Bimaleswara to the river Mahanadi and the kudo fishes take shelter at the feet of the deity during the rainy season. Similarly, it is also believed that there is a secret path from the seat of Lord

Maneswara to the adjacent pond. Several myths are associated with kudo fishes. As per the oral tradition, once a woman did not pay any heed to the local people and caught a kudo fish and decided to cut it into pieces. While attempting to cut the fish with her pankhi (locally made knife) she was immediately ransformed into a stone. The stone image of the woman was found on the river bed for many years. Later
on, it has been swept away by the flood water.

The village Huma and its Saiva pitha may be said to be much older than the time of Raja Balaram Dev whose Rajya was once called Huma desha. The following analysis uncovers that the existence of this pitha can at least be dated back to the eleventh century A. D. Learned scholar S. S. Panda (1996 : 34-35) identifies
some significant points that the gateway/doorjamb to the garbhagriha of this temple is of late Somavamsi
period and it is similar to that of the Jagamohana of the Narasimhanath temple of Gandhagiri near Paikmal of Bargarh district. Another significant stone-panel fitted to the wall of the Jagamohana on the proper right of the doorjamb is a broken one, depicting three grahas of the Navagrahas panel which can also be dated to the late Somavamsi period and in all probability was fitted above the doorjamb of the
garbhagriha in its original state. Thus, the doorjamb as well as the broken Navagraha panel can be
iconographically dated to the eleventh century A. D. Furthermore, according to the oral tradition prevalent in the village Huma and its surrounding area, the Ganga king Anangabhimadeva III (1211-1239 A. D.) has constructed this temple. In view of this, it can be said with precision that Huma bears the testimony of an
important place of pilgrimage and a glorious place of Siva worship since at least the eleventh century
A. D. if take these historical relics to be the earliest of all antiquities available at Huma.


“Pasayat, Chitra sen, 1990 ” The leaning temple of Huma in Sambalpur District in Orissa” , Orissa Review , November, pp 20- 23 reproduced in the book “Glimpses of tribal and folk culture by the same author” and

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