Lightning struck the famous world heritage Unesco site at Khajuraho on Monday, damaging the top part of Devi Jagadambika temple inside the Western group of temples.
The lightening also killed a teenage girl near the temple. She had come with her family from Chattarpur to see the famous temples.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Khajuraho assistant conservationist Rahul Tiwari told HT over phone that around 2.11 pm on Monday lightning struck the topmost part of the Devi Jagadambika temple.
“Due to lightening, the top part of the temple’s Kalash weinging around 6 kgs and called Beejpurak broke and fell down. The lightening also hit a 17-year-old girl, whom we took to the nearest community health centre from where she was referred to the Chattarpur district hospital. She later died,” he said.
Tiwari said the girl, identified as Shivangi Sharma, died due to shock but no injury or burn marks were found on her body.
According to locals, she was the daughter of Dr Dherendra Sharma, a resident of Basari Darwaza locality in Chattarpur.
She was walking with other members of her family between Devi Jagadambika and Kandariya Mahadev temple when lightning struck her.
She was rushed to Khajuraho community health centre and then referred to Chattarpur district hospital where she died.
Police have lodged a case and begun inquiry.
When asked whether lightening had earlier struck any temple in Khajuraho, Tiwari said there was no documented case of any such incident.
“This is a first of its kind incident here,” he said.
He said it was a rare incident as lightning conductors are fitted on temples in Khajuraho.
He said may be just a part of the heavy lightning was absorbed or it branched while striking.
According to ASI Bhopal circle website, Devi Jagadambika temple, so called after the image of Parvati, was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
“The temple stands on a lofty platform… The sculptural embellishment of the Jagadambi is as rich as that of the best temples of Khajuraho. It is datable to around 1,000 AD,” it says.
According to experts, in Madhya Pradesh, lightning strikes happen mostly in pre-monsoon season and claim many lives across as people generally don’t think that thunderstorms could be life threatening.