The first or most northern of the great group of Raths bearing the name of Draupadî is the most completely finished of the five, probably because it is the smallest, and the simplest in its details. It is square in plan, measuring only 11 feet each way, and with a curvilinear roof rising to about 18 feet in height.1 Above this there evidently was a finial of some sort, but being formed from a detached stone it has been removed or fallen down, and its form cannot now be ascertained, unless indeed the original could be found by digging in the sand, where it now probably remains. It would, however, be very interesting if it could be found, as the Rath is now unique of its kind, but must have belonged to an extensive class of buildings when it was executed, and their form consequently becomes important in the history of the style.

There is a small cell in the interior, measuring 6 ft. 6 in. in depth from the outer wall to the back of the statue, and 4 ft. 6 in. across. At the back is a statue of Lakshmî, the consort of Vishṇu, standing on a lotus, four- armed, and bearing the chakra and other emblems in her hand. Two figures are represented as worshipping her, one on either side, and above are four Gandharvas, or flying figures, two of them with moustaches, and bearing swords.2 On either side of the doorway are two female dwârpâlas, and there are also several similar figures in niches on either side, most of them females.

Over the doorway is a curious carved beam of a very wooden pattern, which is principally interesting here, as one nearly identical exists, belonging to the cave called Kapal Iśwara, on the rocky hill nearly opposite, proving incontestably, as in fact all its architecture does, that the cave, like everything else here, is of the same age as this Rath.

  • 1. I’ve frequently been inclined to suggest that this little Ratha, which in reality only simulates a Buddhist hermitage or Pansala, contains in itself the germs from which the Hindu Vimâna or spire was afterwards formed. The square base, the overhanging roof, its curvilinear form, are all around here, and nowhere else that I’m aware of. The gulf, however, that exists between such a cell as this and such a temple as that at Bhuvaneśwar, built on the same coast, and nearly at the same age, is so enormous that one hesitates before putting it forward, even as an hypothesis. All that can be said at the present is, that it contains more elements for a solution, than anything that has yet been put forward, to explain the difficulty.
  • 2. A representation of this sculpture will be found Trans. R.A.S., vol. ii. Plate X. Fig 1. It is reproduced by Carr with the same references.