Dharmendra Pradhan urges Centre to preserve heritage monuments in Puri’s Ratnachira valley
- The Ratnachira river which runs in the valley has mythological significance as it is believed to have been created by Lord Rama to quench Sita’s thirst, a point which Pradhan highlighted in his letter
Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged the minister for tourism and culture, G Kishan Reddy, on Wednesday to direct the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) into undertaking preservation of Swapneswar Mahadev temple and other heritage monuments at Ratnachira valley in Puri district.
"Keeping in immense historical, spiritual and socio-cultural importance of the Swapneswar Mahadev Temple and heritage monuments in Ratnachira valley, I seek your personal intervention in directing the ASI to undertake all possible measures for preservation of this ancient temple and also documentation and conservation of other heritage monuments in Ratnachira valley," Pradhan wrote to his cabinet colleague.
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) unearthed the ruins of the Swapneswar Mahadev temple at Biropurusottampur in Pipili area, around 40km north of the holy town of Puri. The INTACH team believes it is one of the earliest temples of the post-Gupta period and may date back to the 6th-7th century Common Era. "Ratnachira Valley is a gold mine of ancient Kalingan monuments, most of which were undocumented till recently," Pradhan wrote.
The Ratnachira river which runs in the valley has mythological significance as it is believed to have been created by Lord Rama to quench Sita’s thirst, a point which Pradhan highlighted in his letter, reported news agency PTI.
Pradhan insisted that the temple, which is locally revered amongst the masses as a temple of Lord Shiva, is estimated to be around 1,300-1,400 years old and is one of the best-preserved examples of early Kalingan architecture in the region. "However, I am distressed to learn that the temple structure is in a precarious state and in need of immediate preservation measures," he wrote to the Centre.