Odisha’s Ancient Temple: A heritage exploration team of Indian National Trust For Art & Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Bhubaneswar Chapter has documented the ruined remains of an ancient temple in the bank of Bhargavi River near Anandpur village of Satyabadi Tehsil in Puri district. The upper section of a carved doorjamb, Amalaka Shila and number of detached stone blocks are seen scattered in the vicinity. The site, on the bank of the Bhargavi River, is in an open field outside the village.
The villagers had earlier informed Anil Dhir, the Chapter Convenor of INTACH, Bhubaneswar about the archaeological remains. The INTACH exploration team, led by Deepak Kumar Nayak reached the spot and made a preliminary survey of the finding.
The team found an upper section of a detached doorjamb carved in the classical Kalingan style along with a Lalatabimba containing a beautifully carved image of Goddess Gajalaxmi. The stone panel has a tri-dhara design which was a common style of Kalingan Temple doorjambs of Somavamsi and Eastern Gangas period.
While the upper end the first Dhara has a Jalapatra design, the middle one is a combination of flying Bidyadhara and Gandharvas and the lower one is a Daali Dhara. It can be speculated that the mid-sized temple may have crumbled down due to floods, as the site is in the floodplain of the Bhargavi. Its period, based on the iconography seen can be assigned to the 15th Century CE.
According to Deepak Nayak, the finding at Anandpur village is truly an interesting one. According to the locals, the region was referred to as Sasan Badi in ancient times. There are many legends about the existence of a temple of Gopinath Krishna which lay on the bank of the Bhargavi.
The Intach team, during its survey of the Ratnachira Valley has earlier discovered a large number to temple-stone blocks scattered in different villages. In the nearby Sankha village, many such temple remains exist. The Amalaka Shila of an ancient temple has converted to a Brundabati Chaura and is placed at the Dasa sahi of the village.
Anil Dhir, the Convenor of INTACH BBSR Chapter is of the opinion that River Valleys of Odisha are representatives of great cultural, social and religious aspects of the land. There are thousands archaeological sites and monuments which remains in a state of negligence and unnoticed. The State Archaeology Dept and the Archaeological Survey of India should conduct proper surveys of the many monuments that are lying in utter neglect. The State Archaeology Dept. should take this to notice and further research needs to be carried out, added Dhir.
Amiya Bhusan Tripathy (IPS) Retd. the State Convener of INTACH has expressed that Intach is creating awareness about the neglected heritage of the State. He said that villagers and stakeholders are now getting in touch with Intach and reporting about such neglected heritage sites.
INTACH is tirelessly working in the different River Valleys like Prachi, Mahanadi, Ratnachira, Bhargavi, Daya etc. for the listing and documenting the heritage. The exploration team included Deepak Kumar Nayak, Suman Prakash Swain and Bikram Kumar Nayak.