A group of experts from Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) found a temple that dates back to the late 15th or early 16th century in the middle of Mahanadi river near Baideswar in the Padmavati area in Cuttack on Sunday.

The temple resurfaced due to a significant decrease in water levels according to Anil Dhir, project coordinator, Mahanadi Project (INTACH). It would have resurfaced some 15 years ago but due to the construction of Mundali barrage, it submerged more due to the release of water.

The 60-ft tall sandstone temple is of Masataka construction style. It is amongst the oldest temples that have been submerged in Mahanadi.

Cause of submergence

Temple dedicated to Gopinath Dev, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu was submerged in the middle of the 19th century due to a natural shift in the course of the Mahanadi river as a result of a major flood in 1933.

Rabindra Rana, a local heritage enthusiast informed that:

“The village was submerged under the waters and the villagers moved to higher places to set up a new village renamed as Padmabati. However, the deity of the temple was taken by the villagers and installed in another temple in their present village”.

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Plans of restoration of temple by ASI

Dhir shared his plan of contacting the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take measures for relocating and restoring the temple as they have adequate technology to do so.

He said, “We will soon write to the ASI requesting it to take steps to relocate the temple to a suitable site. They have the required technology to do it. The state government should also take up the matter with the ASI”.

Dhir informed that INTACH Odisha launched its survey project on the documentation of the ancient heritage sites in the Mahanadi valley early last year and is now in the final stage of completion.

They will soon publish a multi-volume report of around 800 monuments that they have found submerged in the valley.

Amiya Bhusan Tripathi, the state convener of INTACH, called this ambitious project as the ‘pilot project’ of the trust as it is the first of its type study on any river in India.

Anil Dhir mentioned that many of the ancient monuments have been destroyed, or are in a condition of absolute decay due to negligence by authorities.

Around 50 ancient temples were lost due to the extensive flooding after the construction of the Hirakud dam. These temples too can be dismantled and reconstructed by the government.

Image credits: Google Images

Sources: Hindustan Times, Swarajya and News 18

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This post is tagged under: submerged temple, temple in river, temple found, India, Odissa, Orissa, Mahanadi River, oldest temple, Hirakud dam, village, diety, Lord Vishnu, restoration of ancient sites, temples submerged in rivers, ASI, INtach, Cuttack, ancient heritage sites, near Baideswar, Padmavati, Gopinath dev, Odisha

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