Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has urged the Centre to take steps for the preservation of recently excavated ancient Swapneswar Mahadev temple in Puri district of Odisha.
The ruins of the ancient temple that are believed to be dating back to the 6th-7th century have been discovered by a survey team of the Odisha chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). It could be one of the earliest temples of the post-Gupta period.
During a survey of Ratnachira valley and its mountains, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) had recently unearthed the ancient temple dating back to 6th-7th Century CE at Biropurusottampur village in Pipili Tehsil of Puri district, Pradhan said in a request to Union Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy.
Legend has said that Lord Rama drew Ratnachira river to quench Maa Sita's thirst, using her pearl ring to chart its course. Ratnachira Valley is a gold mine of ancient Kalingan monuments, most of which were undocumented up until recently.
The Swapneswar Mahadev temple of Lord Shiva, estimated to be 1,300-1,400 years old, is one of the best-preserved examples of early Kalingan architecture in the region, he mentioned.
"However, I am distressed to learn that the temple's structure is in a precarious state and in need of immediate preservation measures," said Pradhan.
Keeping in the immense historical, spiritual and socio-cultural importance of the temple and heritage monuments in Ratnachira Valley, the Education Minister has sought personal intervention of Reddy in directing the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to undertake all possible measures for preservation of this ancient temple and documentation and conservation of other heritage monuments in Ratnachira Valley.