Kendrapara (Odisha): A government civil construction work has led to the chance-discovery of ruins of 17th century Hindu temple in Odisha`s Kendrapara district.
A two-member team of experts from state archaeology department (SAD) on Thursday inspected the site near the district Collectorate here and examined the three-foot-tall stone-structure, official sources said on Friday.
Construction workers were digging the boundary wall of planning and coordination department office building at a place in front of the district collector’s office here when their tools struck a large stone structure.
The stone structure has been taken possession of by the district administration even as the chance-discovery has sparked off a raging debate over the genesis of the temple.
SAD archaeologist Sachindra Rajguru said the stone structure dug out from the site could be that of a summit structure otherwise called ‘Dadhinauti’ of a Hindu temple. "From the character of the stone, we are of the view that the structure is of 400 to 500 years old", he said.
"We inspected the site where the discovery was made and came across several stone blocks which are quite old. It might be construed that the place of the construction work once housed a temple. The spot must be replete with ruins of the temple," the archaeologist said.
"After on-the-spot inspection, the department has asked the district administration to stop any form of digging or excavation work at the site and to ensure the safety of the relics lying beneath, the SAD would conduct another survey by experts very shortly", said Superintendent, SAD, B P Roy.
The administration following SAD’s advice has stopped construction work at the site where the district planning and coordination office building was being planned to be set up.
Recently the said plot was under unauthorised occupation and occupants were evicted, said Collector Kendrapara Durga Prasad Behera.
The stone structure believed to be of a temple has been preserved at the Collectorate building, he added.
Meanwhile, researchers opined that the ruins of the temple were that of the Baldevjew that was demolished during the reign of Mughals. The Baldevjew temple in its present shape and form was later rebuilt in mid-18th Century during the reign of Marathas.
Researcher Basudev Das said the relics that have been found are that of Baldevjew temple.
"There is plenty of historical proof of it. Hunter’s history of Orissa, Dr Harekrushna Mahtabh’s Orissa history and journal of Bihar and Orissa research society , volume-2, part-3, page-382 throws ample light on the destruction of Baldevjew temple during the Mughal rule," he said.
Thus the urgent need of the hour is that an archaeological excavation of the site needs to be conducted to unravel the temple relics, Das said.
Meanwhile, Tulashi Unnayana Parishad, a local socio- cultural outfit, has stepped up demand for preservation the temple relics inside the safety of the collectorate building.
"The site needs be conferred protected status and archaeologists should undertake the excavation of the site without further delay," said Girish Chandra Kar, the outfit secretary.