IT WAS a historic occasion. The scions of Holkar dynasty made a public appearance after a long time together. Usha Raje Malhotra, daughter of Yashwant Rao Holkar, performed bhumi pujan for construction of Malhari Martand temple at Rajwada along with stepbrother Richard Holkar, her husband Satish Malhotra and sons Dilip and Ranjit this morning.
MP Sumitra Mahajan, Divisional Commissioner Ashok Das were also present among others.
Khasgi Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Charities Trust headed by Usha Raje will spend around Rs. 1.50 crore on building the temple of Malhari Martand, the Holkar clan’s deity, at the rear of the seven-storeyed protected monument of State Archaeology Department. The project will take 15 months to complete.
Made of wood, the Holkars’ temple of Malhari Martand (a combined form of Lord Shiva and Surya) was destroyed in 1984 fire that had caused huge damage to the edifice. Whatever remained after the blaze have been converted into a garden surrounded by two square courtyards (Tulsi kund and Ganesh kund).
The temple restoration project has proposed creation of the new structure using bricks, reinforced cement, wood and stone to revive its original glory.
The temple entrance from the north will lead to the sanctum sanctorum connected by a square corridor. The pillared aisles and arcades on ground, first and second floor are expected to serve as art gallery.
The other courtyard (Ganesh kund) will be developed as a hall that can accommodate 300 persons and an open-air theatre with provisions for acoustics. Besides, there will be a place for cooking and allied activities.
The idol of Malhari Martand is presently placed in a makeshift temple near Ganesh Hall on the ground floor. The idols will be relocated in the new temple after its completion. Himanshu Dudwadkar and Shreya Bhargav are project architects.