To restore the lost glory of the ancient town of Bilaspur, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has suggested conducting a technicality feasibility study about the condition of ancient temples that are proposed to be relocated. In 1954, the town of Bilaspur along with several temples was submerged in the Gobind Sagar reservoir of the Bhakra Dam. Of the 30 temples that were submerged a dozen of them, built in Nagara style and dating back to the 8th and 19th centuries, were of great archaeological importance.
ASI has now declared the 12 submerged temples as monuments of national Importance and has begun working on its plan to relocate these temples. A few days ago at a meeting the ASI suggested the state government should rope in an expert agency to conduct a feasibility study on the scope of work about relocating the temples.
Meanwhile, Upma Chaudhary, additional chief secretary (language, art & culture), said her department was working on restoration of these temples. “At a meeting with ASI we decided to conduct a study for which an expert agency will be roped in. before starting the relocation we have to be sure about the condition of these temples,” she added.
The dozen temples have been submerged in water for years and a few of them may have been damaged by remaining covered under silt for months. “We want to ascertain how many temples are in a condition to relocate from the existing site to another one,” an ASI official said. ASI superintending archaeologist KC Nauriyal said efforts were on to relocate these temples. “These are of national importance as it belongs to our rich history and we have suggested a study on the scope of work, so that further work would be executed,” he told this reporter.
A government official said: “The department wants to start the work as soon as possible as people often take away pieces of sculpture when the water recedes. These include the Shiva and Vishnu temples and they become visible during summer when the water level of the Bhakra Dam reservoir recedes.”