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Heritage structure lies in sorry state - While a 10th century temple battles cracks, another 300-year-old monument begins crumbling

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  • Published 11.05.11

Bhubaneswar, May 10: The crumbling edifice of the Pabaneswara Shiva temple in the capital marks a tale of neglect. Sharing its fate with many ancient monuments in the Old Town area, the days of the temple seem numbered.

While the nearby Kedar Gouri temple enjoys the attention of devotees and caretakers, this 10th century temple, though still used for devotional purposes, has developed many cracks and has been encroached upon from all sides by private shops and buildings.

Situated on the left side of the road from Parsurameswara to Kedar Gouri, the ancient Kalingan Rekha temple is a single structure made of grey sandstone. The structure does not feature any sculptural adornments since plain stones were used during renovation a few years ago. But the doorjamb at the entrance still has many striking idols and tantric deities that were carved on the temple originally.

“The temple wall is devoid of any structural embellishments since it was renovated and repaired few years ago. However, the superstructure has again developed cracks and the monument needs repair and maintenance,” said historian Sadashiba Pradhan.

Surrounded by residential buildings and shops on three sides, the temple is also threatened by growth of vegetation around it. Many sculptures on the frontal porch lie broken and bear cracks. But the devotees who visit the temple on Mondays and during religious occasions, are not aware of the significance of the heritage site.

“There is a Shiva linga here and we worship it. We have no idea how old this temple is. But sometimes we face problems in even conducting the rituals when water seeps in and fills the sanctum. The door is also blocked by trees,” says Purnima Gorabadu, a devotee.

“Since there is no sign or board here describing its history, we have no knowledge about its heritage. But there are many cracks on it and we are afraid it could collapse completely,” said another local resident.

Meanwhile, authorities at the department of culture say the repair work will begin soon.“The renovation of the temples in the Old Town area would begin soon. We are also planning to install sign boards around the sites so that local residents and visitors would come to know of the significance of the heritage sites,” said Ashok Tripathy, secretary of the department of culture.

He however added that due to a lack of funds, the Orissa State Archaeology is not be able to protect a lrege number of such monuments and this leads to encroachment issues.

“The rules that forbid encroachment around heritage sites are applicable for protected monuments and we are not empowered to take action towards eviction,” he added.