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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Koraput: Even as a tug of war has broken out between the ruling dispensation in Odisha and the Opposition over legalities for beautification of important shrines in and around the State capital, 500 km down south in Koraput district, two ancient Jain temples lie in tatters.

Due to lack of attention and care by the district administration, these temples, built in 5th and 6th Century AD respectively, may give way any time, fear locals,

According to reports, the 5th Century Jain temple is situated at Phupugaon, a jungle hamlet under Kundura block, is in a dilapidated condition and might crumble any moment.

The other 6th Century monument, located at Gorahandi forest, also shares its own predicament and lies in tatters.

Though villagers in the vicinity are taking care of the temples, the structures need urgent attention as the domes, which are now piles of dismantled rocks, could give way any moment.

Both the temples house some rare idols of Tirthankaras. The inner walls of the singular rock structures, a typicality of Gupta period architecture, are covered by motifs depicting the life and journey of the Jain Tirthankars.

However, locals take the idols for Hindu God Narayan and have been worshiping since ages.

“Every Monday, the temples witness large congregations. There are also large footfalls during other festivals as people throng to offer prayers to Lord Narayan and Lord Nursingha,” said Ghasiram Bagha, a villager.

Both the monuments represent pictures of neglect and apathy by the Koraput administration and Tourism and Culture Department of the Odisha government.

“The temples are in a sorry state and we fear those may collapse at any time. The structures have developed cracks and are crumbling. The archaeology department should make proper research and initiate process to repair the temples. The initiative will definitely help in the development of the area,” said Sourabh Kumar Das, another villager.

When contacted Jeypore Sub-Collector Hemakant Say assured that the district administration would pitch in for the development of the sites.

“With the help of the Archaeological Survey of India, the district administration will conduct a detailed survey on the ancient Jain monuments soon. We will finalise a blueprint for the developmental activities there,” he said.

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