12th century Shiva temple lies in sheer neglect in Madhya Pradesh

  • Padma Shastri, Hindustan Times, Alirajpur
  • Updated: Apr 09, 2015 16:38 IST

A 12th century Shiva temple with exquisite stone carvings and an imposing 120-foot high shikhar (top) lies in neglect at Malwai village, about 215 kilometres from Indore.

And the point of worry is that the state archaeology department has no immediate plans to restore it and project it as a major heritage site of western Madhya Pradesh.

Indore division archaeology department deputy director SN Raj said the department undertook the temple restoration work in 2005.

But, it was confined to campus fencing and raising a tiled platform which leads to the sanctum sanctorum.

The platform can accommodate over 100 people at a time.

He assured that the department would look into the restoration work again now that it had been brought to the department’s notice.

The historicity

The temple was built by the Parmar rulers who ruled Malwa from 10th to 13th century.

The archaeology department's technical assistant DP Pande, who has done a research on Parmar temples, said the Parmars were Shaivaites by faith and loved to build intricate carved-stone temples across western Malwa.

The artisans were trained in Hinglajgarh, which is located in Mandsaur district, bordering Rajasthan.

The Malwai temple is made of yellow sand stone. It's located on the ancient trade route which was used by the caravans and the tourists from north India to reach Gujarat.

At present the temple remains have the sanctum sanctorum which has an elevation called shikhar. The shikhar bears carved images of Hindu deities and floral designs.

The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum too are heavily decorated with floral motifs and images of temple attendants holding lotuses.

The sanctum sanctorum has five small black stone shivlingas, which experts say, were made after the original shivling was destroyed. The temple had a sabha mandap (corridor) which leads to the sanctum sanctorum.

But, it collapsed over a period of time and the large stone blocks with damaged carvings which can be found lying hither thither on the temple campus are believed to be its remains.

The temple shikhar is a two-storeyed structure with carvings on three sides. Its outer portion above the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum has fallen off exposing large stone slabs placed one above the other as its base.

Archaeology department officials said these stone slabs had to be re-set as they were on the verge of falling. "We will call experts for it and prepare an estimate. But it’s a long process," Raj said.

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