• By Mohit Midha
  • February 1, 2024
Flying Apsaras, also known as Flying Vidyadharas.
  • Briefly know Deopahar Temple Assam and see some lovely pictures of its ruins that are deep inside a forest.

Images by Mohit Midha, Text compiled by Editor.


I got to know about this temple from ace traveller and organiser Mohit Midha. He was kind enough to share pictures on facebook and permit esamskriti to share. Here is matter from other sites with pictures by Mohit.


From Assam Government site – “Near the site Deoparvat hill. On top of the hill is an ancient temple that was destroyed during the earthquake of 1897.” The Shiv Temple is located in Golaghat district of Numaligarh.

Climb to hill top. 

From this travelogue by Jitaditya N, “Deopahar ruins are basically remains of a large temple. There are some sculptures scattered all over the hilltop while the base of the temple, or probably that of the sanctum sanctorum is intact. I took multiple rounds of the temple and observed the sculptures closely. There are scores of them showing various deities, animals, and plants. Experts have compared them to late-Gupta era works found in various parts of India and so we can safely assume these ruins to be around 1000-1400 years old in absence of any clear documentation. In fact, certain Kirtimukha portions looked strikingly similar to stuff I have seen in Morena and unlike anything I have seen in Assam.” Album Padawali Temple Morena near Gwalior Pics 8 and 11

Temple base still intact protected by a tin sheet on top.

  Flying Apsaras. 

“However, the most famous part of the temple are the one’s still intact on the base, the faces sculpted along the circumference. Who are they? Local accounts sometimes mention them as flying apsaras nymphs while some mention them as flying Vidyadharas. However, they also looked like traditional bharabahaka sculptures to me. 

The pre-Ahom classical antiquity of Assam is extremely underrated and it was pretty well-connected with the trends of the rest of India even then.” 

Bijit Dutta wrote, “Statues found here were those of Tripuraswar Sawharar Rudra Brikhyarupa Rudra, Tripura-Surbadhar, Fangananm Siva, Jyano, Sridhari Rudra, Lakshi-Narayan, Haragowris Rashlila, Sarpadevata, Deosalar Khutu, Pranayam dhyan, Telbrikhya, Padma-Sakra, Ram and Ravana, Sugriba, etc.

According to a write up by Mayank college, “The overall creative style and design of the building blocks strongly reflects influences of the later Gupta era. There are huge door jambs with foliage of drooping petals, encircling creepers with animal and sculptural representations of female door keepers with coronets and huge perforated Patrakundalas. Other sculptural representation found are of Kirtimukha, Kalamakaras, Fangananm Shiva, Sridhar Rudra, Lakshi- Narayana, Hara Gauris Rashlila, Sarpadevata, Pranayam dhyan, Padma Sakra, Ram and Ravana, Sugriba etc. and panels with curvings of figures depicting episodes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana.”

Now pictures by Mohit Midha.

Panel. Probably part of the temple gateway. 

Looks like a scene from the Ramayana. Bird could be Jataku, also found in a Lepakshi Temple of Andhra Pradesh. 

Please help decipher.

Impressive panel. One sculpture shows playing of a musical instrument. 

Right looks like Ganesha. 

Please help decipher.

Looks like man getting legs pressed. Note long hair and ear rings. 

Women in combat. Interesting.

Please help decipher. Missed clicking Kirtikukhas (meant to ward away evil) that are found in most temples across India. 

Right seems like a Trishul. Person under snake hood.  

How to reach - It’s around 4 kms from Numaligarh Tiniali and 5 kms from Numaligarh town. Get down at the Numaligarh diversion on highway and take a shared vehicle going towards Numaligarh town. It is app 61 kms from Kaziranga National Park. “Direct buses and rental cabs are available from nearest railway junctions of Furkating, Sarupathar, and Kamarbondha to reach this place. Rental cars are available at Dimapur and Jorhat airports to reach Deopaha.”

Also read

1. Assam government site

2. Album Kaziranga National Park 

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