Malkangiri: Remains of an ancient temple have been discovered from the Balimela reservoir in Chitrakonda area in Malkangiri district. The old remains of the shrine believed to be of a Shiva temple surfaced from the ground of the reservoir after the water level receded.
The remains which were found under the water at Panasput village in the remote and cut-off Chitrakonda area, are believed to be of a temple constructed by the erstwhile royal kingdom during its reign in the district.
Not only the remains of the temple, but also a number of ancient idols of Hindu Gods and Goddess were found in the vicinity of the site. Locals have been worshiping the idols since generations.
“Ancient idols emerged from the hill forest areas and our generations had been worshipping them. We have been hearing from our grandparents that these idols had been installed by the erstwhile royal dynasty that existed some centuries ago. There were idols of Lord Ganesh, Karttik and others,” said Nakula Pangi, a resident of Panasput.
Another local echoed similar views over the discovery of the ancient idols and remains of temple.
“We had been hearing the tale of the idols and the temple from our ancestors. There are idols of Lord Ganesh, Devi Laxmi, Saraswati and others. We want a temple be constructed there with installation of these old idols bearing historical importance,” said Jagannath Hantala, another villager.
Researchers and historians, however, have difference of opinions regarding the temple. The shrine dates back to late 1400s during the period of Matta Mayur community, historian Dr Debasish Patra said.
“A Nilakentheswar temple was built by the Matta Mayur community in late 1400s in Chitrakonda area. During the rise of Saivism, a number of temples dedicating to Lord Shiva were constructed across the district. Historical relics suggest that Sri Chaitanya had visited Chitrakonda during his Odisha tour in late 1510. During his visit, the downfall of Saivism started.”
Some say that the erstwhile kind Jeypore Mallik Mardan Singh Deo had built the temple, which is said to be the second biggest structure in the State. It is believed that the king had built the shrine in order to expand his dynasty.
Some others opine that these are the remains of Ballava Narayan temple believed to be constructed by the rulers of Nandapur in Udadi area in Malkangiri in 1500s.