500-year-old Odisha temple submerged under Mahanadi river reappears

Updated on Jun 14, 2020 12:02 AM IST

A 500-year-old ancient temple of Lord Vishnu that was submerged in Odisha’s Mahanadi river sometime in 19th century due to change of course of the river, has resurfaced after 15 years.

An archaeological survey team from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage that visited the village in Nayagarh district, said the top of the Gopinath Dev temple was visible due to the reduction in the water-level of the river.(File photo)
An archaeological survey team from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage that visited the village in Nayagarh district, said the top of the Gopinath Dev temple was visible due to the reduction in the water-level of the river.(File photo)
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByDebabrata Mohanty

A 500-year-old ancient temple of Lord Vishnu that was submerged in Odisha’s Mahanadi river sometime in 19th century due to change of course of the river, has resurfaced after 15 years.

An archaeological survey team from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage that visited the village in Nayagarh district, said the top of the Gopinath Dev temple was visible due to the reduction in the water-level of the river.

Anil Dhir, project coordinator, Mahanadi Project (INTACH), said the top of the submerged temple was discovered in the mid-river near Baideswar in the Padmavati area near Nayagarh district.

“The 60-ft tall submerged temple dates back to late 15th or early 16th century, considering the construction style of the Mastaka and the materials used for the construction. It is made of sandstone and among the oldest temples that have been submerged in Mahanadi,” said Dhir.

The 60-ft temple made of sandstone belongs to Lord Gopinath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple used to be visible frequently 15 years ago, but due to release of water at Mundali barrage the temple was not visible to fishermen.

In the last one and half years, INTACH team led by Dhir has documented submergence of 65 such temples in Mahanadi river that runs through much of western Odisha before draining into Bay of Bengal.

“Whatever heritage has been submerged, we are documenting it. People already knew there was a shrine submerged in the river, but it had not resurfaced in years,” said Dhir.

Sometime in the middle of the 19th century, the Gopinath Dev temple as well as the village named Padmabati was located submerged when Mahanadi River changed its course after 1933 flood.

“The village was submerged under the waters and the villagers moved to higher places to set up a new village renamed as Padmabati. However, the deity of the temple was taken by the villagers and installed in another temple in their present village,” said heritage enthusiast Rabindra Rana.

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