March 25: A cluster of 17th century temples built by Dimasa kings and a Shiva shrine, ruined by years of neglect, are set to get a facelift.
The central project, to be undertaken in collaboration with the state tourism directorate and the Cachar administration, will turn these two sites into tourist destinations.
The Shiva shrine lies at Bhuban, 35km southeast of Silchar town, while the temples are at Khaspur, 12km east of the district headquarters town. The Union tourism ministry has sanctioned Rs 54.70 lakh and Rs 25.43 lakh for the development of the two historical sites.
Cachar district deputy commissioner Gautam Ganguli said the improvement of tourist infrastructure at Bhuban would be completed in two phases.
To begin with, he said, a concrete staircase would be built on the pilgrims’ way facilitating a hassle-free ascent for the pilgrims to the 3,000-feet-high Bhuban hill’s ancient temples of the Bhubaneshwar and Bhubaneshwari idols. This step was considered first as the number of the pilgrims swell to about 10 lakh during the Shiva Ratri.
In the next phase a paved concrete road would be built at the height of 3,000-feet to facilitate the pilgrims access to the temples, he assured.
Khaspur, on the plains in the district’s tea bowl of Udarband block, is also visited every year by hordes of tourists who, apart from quenching their thirst for history, savour the scenic surroundings of this ancient capital of the Dimasa kingdom.
Historian Debabrata Dutta, who was principal of a Silchar-based college for many years, suggested extensive exploration in the wooded sanctuaries surrounding the hillocks at Bhuban.
“More idols could be found in the hill areas that remain desolate except on Shivratri,” he said. The idols of Bhubaneshwar and Bhubaneshwari, each carved on 3X9 square ft blocks, speak volumes about the artistic skills of the craftsmen.
Residents of Cachar accuse the Archaeological Survey of India for neglecting these archaeological splendours.
The president of the Dimasa Samaj Unnanayan Sanstha, Amal Barman, said: “Except for occasionally sprucing up the Khaspur and Bhuban structures, nothing worthwhile has been done by the ASI to save the structures.”