An ancient temple believed to be 500 years old has reportedly been found in Mahanadi River in Odisha. The 60-feet temple, believed to be built in the late 15th or early 16th century, was located recently during a documentation project of heritage sites in the river valley.
The temple, that remained submerged in Mahanadi, was recently found in the mid-river near Baideswar in the Padmavati area in Cuttack, said Anil Dhir, project coordinator of the Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) in Odisha.
Considering the construction style of the 'Mastaka' and the materials used for the construction, the temple is believed to date back to the late 15th or early 16th century, Dhir said. He added that INTACH would approach the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take steps for relocating and restoring the temple as they have the required technology to do it. The state government should also take up the matter with the ASI, he said.
Stating that INTACH has so far located as many as 65 ancient temples in the Mahanadi River during its documentation project, Dhir said many of the temples in the Hirakud reservoir too can be dismantled and reconstructed. Nearly 50 ancient temples were lost due to the Hirakud dam, he said.
INTACH project assistant Deepak Kumar Nayak, who with the help of a local heritage enthusiast Rabindra Rana located the temple, said he was aware of its existence. The temple was dedicated to Gopinath Dev, he said.
Dhir, who had earlier led the Old Jagannath Sadak and the Prachi valley documentation projects, said INTACH Odisha had launched its project on the documentation of the heritage of the Mahanadi valley early last year. A systemic survey of all the tangible and intangible heritage of the entire length of the Mahanadi, from the source to the sea, covering a distance of nearly 1,700 km, is in its final stage of completion, he said.
According to him, the richness and diversity of the Mahanadi valley have not been studied properly till date.
With PTI inputs