300-yr old Baldevjew temple facing decay

Kendrapara: Despite the State Archaeology department having deputed an experts team to inspect the temple, the 300-year-old Baldevjew temple dating back to the reign of `Marahattas` is facing decay, the temple management says.

"The temple has become a monument of neglect. Safety of servitors, priests and thousands of devotees visiting daily is at stake. The state archaeology department had deputed an experts team to inspect the temple towards the later part of 2010 year. But nothing has come of it as yet," Nrusingha Charan Patri, a servitor, said.

About a year-and-a-half, the summit structure (dadhi nauti) of the medieval place of worship had developed a major crack while one month later, some portions of bhog ghar (lord`s kitchen) had caved in.

"There is no denying the fact that the temple is in urgent need of conservation. But paucity of funds has delayed renovation of the heritage site," B D Panda, Deputy Director, Department of Culture, said.

However, the conservation project would be undertaken very shortly with the 13th Finance Commission grants for state-protected heritage sites have been earmarked in this regard, Panda said. "We are expecting the project proposal receiving government clearance after the poll-related model code of conduct is withdrawn," the official added.

However, refusing to read much into the promises, Girish Chandra Kar, President, Tulashi Khetra Unnayana Parishad said the SAD (state arachaeology department) inspected the temple but repair work is yet to move an inch.

"As bureaucrats are dragging their feet on conservation measures, the cave-in of the vital summit structure is writ large on the wall."

Ashwini Kumar Satapathy, in-charge Superintendent of state archaeology department, said "a number of structures in the temple are in need of repair and maintenance. However there is no immediate cave-in threat to the structure. The `dadhi naitu` or the summit structure of the main temple where the cracks had developed would be taken up under limestone plastering work.

"The department is also thinking of taking concrete steps to prevent corrosion of temple`s exteriors. Besides the snana mandap, Mukhadwara, Maunsimaa temple and vasudev temple merit attention for conservation," he added.

The temple was built in 1707 year during the Marahatta subedar rule in this part. It`s a four-way structure and is devoid of architectural design. The Marahatta style of temple building was mostly simple without intricate stone cravings, Bijoy Kumar Rath, archaeologist and former superintendent of state archaeology department said.

About a year back, an on-the-spot inspection by archaeologists was followed by an announcement about a comprehensive blueprint being readied to give the crumbling structures a much-needed facelift.