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Koraput: An ancient statue believed to be representing Jainism has been reportedly discovered on Friday during a temple restoration and excavation of nearby sites at Subai, a place of archaeological importance in Koraput district.

According to reports, State Archaeology department has been undertaking restoration of neglected shrines in the district. During the restoration of the Subai Jain temple, excavators discovered a statue and some remains of temples, a few distances away from the Jain temple.

Gopinath Bisoyi, the contractor engaged in the site excavation said, "We were completely unaware of existence of another temple nearer to the mentioned site. While excavating the proximity areas, we discovered a precious statue. There are chances of getting more valuable artefacts and ancient statues if further excavation is carried out in the surrounding areas."

"We got the information about one ancient Jain statue being discovered from the excavation site in Subai. We will conduct a comprehensive study on the sculpture and preserve it at Koraput Museum," Akshay Kumar Sethi, the District Culture Officer of Koraput told OTV.

"Although, it has been excavated from a Jain temple, superficially, the sculpture appears like a statue of 'Lord Vishnu'. After a detailed study and examination we might be able to arrive at any conclusion regarding its identity and Geologic Time Scale (GTS)," Sethi added.

Priyabrata Patra, a local history researcher said, "Koraput beholds a rich cultural identity since the reign of Nanadapur ruler Vijaya Chandraksha Deo. He was under the subsidiary alliance of Puri rulers and often sent soldiers in the time of need."

"When Vijaya Chandraksha shifted his capital from Nandapur to Jeypore, it is believed that he converted himself into Jain and erected many temples during the era. For many years, the temples remained intact, however, people from tribal communities took the statues to different areas with belief that they were statues of 'Lord Shiva'," Patra further added.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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