Describe critically the architecture and sculpture of the Muktesvara temple at Bhuvanesvara showing why it is regarded as a gem of Orissan architecture.

The three most important temples of Orissa are Muktesvara temple, Rajarani temple and the Lingaraja temple.
The Mukteswara temple is regarded as a gem of Orissan architecture. It is surrounded by a low enclosure wall embellished with sculptured niches. The temple is entered through an elaborately ornamented makara-torana which forms a unique and fitting entrance to this small but exquisitely ornate and well-proportioned monument. The sikhara is of five storeys and shows on the central ratha a beautifully carved Chaitya-dormer surrounded by a kirtimukha and flanked by two grinning dwarfs.
This is the first temple wherein the shoulder partakes of the projections of Sikhara and the mandapa facade follows the same scheme of ornamentation as the sanctum, with the addition of an ornate projection on each side, surrounded by a pediment and crowned by a lion figure.


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