The Hall Of Dance
of dance or Naata Mandir ( locally called Bhoga Mandap )is in front of the porch on a
separate basement. There is an intervening space of 30 feet (9.144m.) between the eastern
flight of the porch and the Naata Mandir. The height of the Pitha or basement of the Naata
Mandir is almost equal of the Pitha of the Sun temple. Local people call it as Bhoga
Mandap or the Hall of offering.
But taking its type of construction and the architectural execution it is more appropriate to call it the Hall of Dance or Naata Mandir. The roof of this Naata Mandir has been collapsed. Only remains of its walls stand.
The height of the platform on which, the Naata Mandir has been built is 16'.5'' (5.003 m.) i.e. about equal in height with the platform of the main temple (16'.6'' or 5.029 m.). The Pitha is divided into three parts. The bottom part of the Pitha is 2'.4'' (711 cm) high from the ground level. It is decorated by lotus petals and creepers. The second portion of the Pitha is of 9'.7'' (2.92 m.) high and is full of small temples around. There are also innumerable dancing girls all around with musical instruments. Besides, beautiful elephants and creepers are seen in this portion. The third portion or the top of the Pitha is of 4'.6'' (1.37 m.) high. There are lotus petals, flowering creepers and dancing girls all around the Pitha.
The temple walls have been built on this Pitha. The floor area of the Pitha is of square size, the length and breadth each being 52 feet (15.85 m.). Leaving a bordering space of 1'.9'' (533 cm.) in all sides the walls of the temple have been erected. The roof of the temple has been collapsed. There stand only four pillars inside the temple each being of 9'.9'' (2.97 m.) high and in breadth.
The Naata Mandir seems to have number of doors. But such doors have no sign of being fitted with door jambs or leaves. So the Naata Mandir looks like a Mandap. It is popularly called as Naata Mandap or Bhoga Mandap. Where as there is only one door in the eastern side of the Naata Mandir, there are three doors each in west, north and south. It seems that these doors were construction by keeping in view the different zodiac position of the Sun, so as to facilitate its rays to pass through the temple at different times of the day.
There are four flight of steps in four sides of the Naata Mandir. All the four flight of steps for the hall do not seem to have been built at the same time as a number of beautiful motifs were completely overlapped by the latter ones. Only the southern one is not built against such ornamental faced, probably being the first one meant for bringing the cooked offering from the kitchen-hall while others are the after thoughts of the builders.
Since the staircase to the east side is also built later, the images of two Gaja-simhas (Rampant lions on elephant) standing in front of it were certainly not existing there in the former days. Those two images were in front of the Mukhasala as stated earlier. The lion is pressing down a big elephant which has caught hold of a man in his trunk. The entire, block is in one stone. The whole image is of 8'.4''(2.54 m.) length, 4'9'' (1.447 m.) in breadth and its height his 9'.2'' (2.79 m.) and is 360 cft. In the opinion of Engineers it is 770 md. 27.48 tonnes is weight.They are installed facing the main temple, but in fact they are to face towards to welcome people coming in.
There are various views behind the logic of this image. Some say this is the problem of wining of spiritualism over materialism. According to others it is also the sign of rising of Hinduism in place of Bhuddhism. It is also a sign of escaping the weaker from the clutches of the stronger.In the space between the Jagamohana and the Nrityamandapa, a beautiful sixteen-sided monolith of 34 feet (10.3 meters) height was standing with the image of Aruna at the to p, which is said to have been removed to Puri by the Marhattas in the 18th century and now seen at the eastern gateway of the Jagannath temple.
The sculptures of this Naat Mandir is regarded as the most charming and best specimen of Orissan Sculptures. This was specially constructed for providing aesthetic pleasure. A cursory glance at this beautiful Mandap or hall from any side will certainly convince one that he is looking at a well arranged drawing sheet. But there does not exist a single erotic figure as we find extensively in other temples here. Most of the architectural features which made the temple so famous were completely buried under the debris and sands, till the early 19th century. So visitors at that time could not enjoy the half of its beauty.
The roof of the Naata Mandir was of the same type as now exists in Mukhasala. This has collapsed in course of time. Some historians are of opinion that there was no roof at all, while others opine that consequent upon the collapse of the Sun temple the Naata Mandir had no necessity to exist. So the then king of Khurda broke the temple and took away the stones decorated with art and architectures to Puri. Now there lies a stone with a lotus carved out in its front near this Naata Mandir. And many scholars opine that this was the center stone on the top of the roof of the Naata Mandir. In this block of stones a beautiful lotus has been carved out and it is of about 5 feet in diameter. There are two layers of petals in this flower. In the inner layer there are a petals whereas in the outer layer there are 16 petals. Each and every petal bears the image of angels in dancing pose. Besides the main group of temples there are a few more subsidiary structures in the compound for different purposes evidently built at different times. One of which is possibly a kitchen-hall, built at the south-eastern corner of the compound. The presence of a number of pillars in three rows , the central ones being higher than the others, show the possibility of covered with tiles of 10'' * 4'' * 1/4'' ( 25 * 10 * 2 cm.) size, properly bent at one of its longer ends for support. Several hundreds of such tiles were found from the site, while removing sand.