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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Jajpur: Days after an ancient Shivling and remains of a temple resurfaced from the Baitarani river near Dasharathpur in the district, another Shivling and other rare ancient sculptures were found from the riverbed at Devi Gada Ghat in the district on Thursday forcing the locals of the area to demand government's intervention to restore those rare artefacts.

As per reports, the Shivling and other remnants of an ancient temple were found during lifting of sand by excavators from the riverbed. The sculptures included one Shivling, one stone carved Nandi idol and one idol of Goddess Laxmi- all reportedly made from Black Marble stones.

As far as the origin of these idols are concerned, there are varied opinions from locals and intellectuals. If the villagers' account of their origin is to be believed, these idols belong to the Bhouma-Kar dynasty between 8th and 10th Century AD while some intellectuals believe those to be from Somavamshi Dynasty (Between 9th and 12th Century).

Jayanta Goswami, an intellectual said, "This is Jajpur and this area is a confluence of Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism. These idols probably belong to the Somavamshi era when King Yajati Keshari had held the Dasashwamedha Yajnya near Baitarini river in Jajpur."

"The government should take the historic significance of this area into account before allowing indiscriminate sand lifting from the river bed. All these ancient artefacts could have been recovered unbroken had they done the sand lifting carefully," said Goswami.

Alleging that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is in a deep slumber, a local, Samarjit Mohanty said, "Jajpur is an ancient place and there are thousands of ancient sculptures and artefacts scattered all around the Baitarini river bank and riverbed. The ASI doesn't care to excavate those. They don't even care to come here and take a look at these remains which speak volumes of their apathy."

It is pertinent to mention here that Dasarathpur village of Jajpur district witnessed a footfall of thousands of people after the remains of a Shiva shrine were found in the Baitarani river here on March 16. The remains of the temple and an ancient lingam were reportedly found near the Siddheshwar Temple in the locality.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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