Few people from outside Rajasthan may not have heard of Chandresal temple, a 10th century monastery built by Naga holy men, about 12km from Kota.
Though the crumbling stone structure, one of the oldest Hindu monasteries in the Rajasthan, has been declared as a protected monument, the temple complex it is in need of immediate restoration, says Prem Shankar Gautam, the secretary of the Chandresal Mandir Mela Samiti that holds an annual fair at the complex.
“The 10th century structure has been ravaged by time and nature without any restoration and government apathy is leading to its ruins,” he says.
“Despite being declared a ‘protected monument’ by the state archeology department, the walls and several tombs of Naga holy men are in a fragile condition. Some of the walls have even collapsed.”
The temple complex spread across more than 1.2 acre on the banks of the Chandresal River-which is home to crocodile-- was constructed in the early 10th century by Naga ascetics, who were followers of Lord Shiva.
“A large part of the complex is in a dilapidated condition. The main temple, the tombs, walls are in a fragile condition and several of them have even collapsed.
“There is no security in the temple due to which thieves not only have stolen the batteries of the solar lights placed here in 2013, they are digging the temple premises in search of hidden treasure.”
The state government had carried out a survey of the temple for its restoration in 2013 and sanctioned Rs 4.50 crore for its restoration but with the change in government in the state, the proposal is gathering dust, says Gautam.
The state archaeology and museum department was handed over the maintenance of the complex in 2008, says Umrao Singh, the department’s Kota superintendent.
“The department has declared the entire temple complex as a protected monument in 2008 and it has sent a proposal of Rs 2.30 crore for its restoration to the Centre in April, “he says.
Although tourism department had developed tourist amenities near the complex by erecting solar lights and constructing a retiring hall and a parking lot to promote tourism in the area, says Deendayal Nagar, president of the fair committee. “Chandresal is listed as a tourist destination in the state tourism department website. There is a need to restore the temple complex before developing it as a tourist spot,” he says.