Khiching And the Tourist Attractions :
Odisha is famous throughout the world for her rich cultural heritage and beautiful temples. A group of temples and other archaeological remains belonging to medieval period are of great interest and tourist attractions of the place. Khiching in Mayurbhanj district became a flourishing centre of art under the Bhanja rulers7 who traced their descent from one Virabhadra Ganadanda who was born out of an egg of a pea-hen and was brought up by sage Vasistha. Khijjinga-Kota or modern Khichinga is described as the capital of the rulers of the Adibhanja royal family, and therefore it is reasonable to attribute the architectural activity to their patronage. Whatever may be their political allegiance, their relationship with the Bhoumakaras is unmistakable.
During the time of excavation by archaeological survey of India in the year 1908, several images of gods and goddess where found including the images of Buddha. These are preserved in a museum housed within the temple compound, which was constructed by Maharaja Purna Chandra Bhanja in the year 1922.8
That museum now accommodates a large number of sculptures and decorated pieces of stone belonging to the old temple. The museum has the life size excavated idols Durga, Ganesha, Parsavanth, Tara, Parvati. Ardhanageswar, Vaishanami, Nandi, Kartikeya, Avalokiteswar, Dhyani Buddha, Mahishasuramardini, Uma, Maheshwara, and female devotees on display. The museum has exhibits like the copper and iron implements terracotta figurines, seals, ornaments, potteries, coins stone tools and Various fragments of the temples. The courtyard of the museum has several sculpted parts of ancient temples on display in open. The presence of Buddha and Avalokiteswara idols suggest a commendable amalgation of religion and culture.
A visit to Khiching will remain incomplete without visiting the nearby village Kesna. One will come across sculptures carving idols and household objects, like their forefathers. Khiching museum was the second oldest museum in Odisha. During Bhanja period Sj. Sailendra Prasad Bose (Birbal Babu)9 was the 1stchairman of that Khiching Museum. Khiching also famous for Muguni Toki & Black chlorite items.
KHICHING AND THE TEMPLE OF KICHAKESWARI :
Khiching is one of the state identified tourist centers of Mayurbhanj famous for Goddess Kichakeswari, the temple named after her. The Kichakeswari temple at Khiching of Mayurbhanj District is a burning magnificent example. The most important Sakta Centre in northern Odisha is Khiching which has earned its famed for its goddess Kichakeswari, the patron the deity of the Bhanja rulers of Mayurbhanja. The name Khiching is a corruption of Khijjing or Khijjingakotta, the capital of the early Bhanja rulers.10 is site is an indication of being major centres of civilization around the 8th to 12thcentury AD.
23 Kms from Karanjia, a sub-divisional headquarter of the present Mayurbhanj district, 250 Km from Balasore, 350 Km. from Bhubaneswar & 150 Km. from Baripada in the Mayurbhanj district of North Odisha. There is a good road network connecting it to all these places and regular tourist buses are available. The large temple of the town is dedicated to Kichakeswari, the family goddess of the ruling chiefs of Mayurbhanj. Rich in architectural splender and exquisite beauty chiseled on its outer surface, it is the most impressive monument of Khiching and under state protected monuments of Orissa.
The present Kichakeswari temple, originally dating back ti the seventh or eighth century A.D. was reconstructed from the ruins of an earlier temple in the early 20th century.
In 1924-25 construction of a new temple for goddess Kichakeswari was proposed and accordingly J.A. Page, Assistant superintendent of the Archaeological survey of India, gave a plam of Indo-Aryan style of temple design. After the death of Maharaja Purna Chandra Bhanj Deo in 1928, the progress in the matter was delayed for new years and the work for the temple began before the close of the 1933-34 completed by the end of 1941.
The deity was installed on 14thMarch, 1942 a midist pomp and ceremony. The temple is made up of Black chlorite which faces towards the east and consist of rekha vimana and stands over a high platform of 1.20 meters and Rs.85,000/- was spent. The height of this temple was 68 ft.11
The temples of Khichinga do not possess any Jagamohana, a feature also found at Bajrakota and Kualo. The sculptures recovered from the place are beautiful specimens, and in then, because of the geographical position of Khichinga, we find a fine synthesis of the Orissa and the Pala style.
As Nihar Ranjan Ray observes, “while the qualities of largeness and round smplitude of modeling and movement are shared by khiching with the rest of contemporary Orissa, the psychological expression of the faces and metallic smoothness and precision are more closely related to contemporary Bihar and Bengal.12 The, sculptures, which probably belong to the 10the and 11th centuries, show how the traditional Orissan style was strengethened by the assimilation of new elements.
The temples of Khiching belong to a matures phase, and the sculptures such as Naga and Nagis in treatment are akin to those of mukteswar temple, but for our purpose we have included them under the Bhauma epoch as the Bhanja rulers who ruled from Khiching probably used the Bhauma era in their copper plites, and possibly owned allegiance to the Bhaumas at one stage but later on emerged as de facto rulers.
Taken as a whole the period of the Bhaumakaras was a creative one in the sphere of art and architecture. The temples have many things in common with those belonging to the earlier phase, but the development of the style can also be seen. For example the rectangular Jagmohan of the earlier times continues, but a distinct advance over the older design is introduced by building its roof on the contilever principle, then, at some later stage, this feature is discontinued and we find only the Deula without any Jagamohana.
The elevation of the Deula is somewhat similar to the earlier type, but as the Kanakesvar temple testifies, attempts were made to increase its height. The sculptures of the period are no longer treated in low relief but become bold and impressive. As the style progress there are reasons to infer that possibly a Jagamohana of the pyramidal form was also invented, to match the tall Deula.13