Terracotta temples at Maluti in Dumka
Dumka, Jan. 5: Maluti, the village of temples, has ultimately received the attention it deserves.
This centuries-old village — it once boasted of 108 temples clustered in a diameter of 350 metres — near Shikaripara in Dumka will come alive at Republic Day celebrations in Delhi this year.
According to sources, a tableau depicting the rich heritage and terracotta works of the village will be part of the R-Day show this time. The authorities concerned in Delhi have already informed the state about the decision.
“It’s a matter of great pride for the people of Jharkhand that the state’s proposal to showcase Maluti temples in the Republic Day parade in Delhi has been approved,” Vijay Kumar, the deputy director (public relations) told The Telegraph.
SKMU’s history teacher Surendra Jha has been given the responsibility to guide artists to ensure that the tableau, which is being prepared in Calcutta, represents the “original” temples.
This apart, local tabla maestro Lalanji Maharaj is composing a 56-second background score, while a group will perform the tribals’ dasai dance during the R-Day show.
As many as 108 temples were built under the Baj Basanta dynasty between the 16th and 17th century.
However, in the absence of a conservation plan and government’s apathy, three dozen — mostly shiva —temples have reduced to dust over the years. The remaining 72 temples, too, are heading towards extinction.
In its report titled ‘Saving Our Vanishing Heritage’, the Global Heritage Fund in 2010 had identified Maluti’s temples as one of the 12 sites across the globe that were on the verge of irreparable loss and damage. The agency had cited insufficient management as a primary cause.
Interestingly, the temples’ architecture resembles no particular style, like Nagara, Vesar or Dravida. Artisans, who were believed to be from Bengal, had designed these temples on their own.
Sources said the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had undertaken renovation of the temples around five years ago, but the villagers were not happy with the work.
“The ASI did not maintain the originality of the temples, which bear exceptional terracotta inscriptions,” rued Vikash Kumar of Barmasia village.
A subsequent move of the district administration to make Maluti a tourist destination also failed to materialise.
A guest house, which was constructed around five years ago at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, is yet to become functional in the absence of other basic amenities.
The prevailing Maoist fear has also been a deterrent.