Ancient Baijnath temple on shaky grounds

  • Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Apr 02, 2015 12:10 IST

The famous ancient temple of Lord Shiva at Baijnath in Kangra district, believed to be one of the twelve jyotirlingas according to popular legends, is facing the risk of sinking due to repeated soil erosion caused by Binwa rivulet on its banks along the hill side. With no solution in sight, the archeological survey has now turned towards National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, to the find out a way to stabilise the sliding hill.

The temple was constructed on 1204 AD and is situated on the left bank of Binwa river- a tributary of the Beas river. The temple was constructed by two merchants- Ahuka and Manyuka-, but the archeological studies reveal that the temple existed far before the said date. In the porch of the temple, the two-long inscriptions state that before the present temple, there was a shrine of Lord Shiva at the same spot.

The structure represents early medieval North Indian style of architecture, known as ‘Nagara’ style of temple.

However, the soil erosion results in sliding of the hill, particularly during the monsoon season, when the Binwa River is flooded.
Meanwhile, the temple committee has not been able to find a permanent solution to the problem. The government had, however, sanctioned a meager amount to curtail the soil erosion on the hill where the temple, which is being maintained by the archeological survey of India, is situated.

“I have, on a number of occasions, requested the government and the archeological survey of India to find out ways to stop the soil erosion on the hills that is threatening the temple,” Congress legislator from, Baijnath Kishori Lal, told Hindustan Times.

“It’s the construction of a breast wall that can check the land sliding,” Lal added.

When contacted, KC Nauriyal, superintending archaeologist, ASI Shimla circle, expressed concern over the issues and said, “We have now proposed to conduct a study of the hill side to assess the factors resulting in land sliding. The students and experts from National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, will be roped in to study the factor. It’s only after the detailed study that we can look for long term solution,” Nauriyal added.

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