Giant sea waves swallow centuries-old temple in Odisha
(Sourced from PTI)
The marauding sea that had been eroding the coastline in Odisha's Kendrapara district for decades, devouring one village after another, recently razed to the ground the centuries-old Ma Panchubarahi temple dashing hopes of locals who often offered prayers there seeking respite from the scourge of Mother Nature. The temple was 400 years old and had Dalit women from the fishing community as the priestess.
"In 2018, the state government had relocated 571 vulnerable families from Satabhaya village to the rehabilitation colony at Bagapatia. It was the first such rehabilitation and resettlement initiative in the state for people displaced by sea erosion," the officials said.
However, some of its former residents visited Satabhaya village from time to time to pay obeisance at the temple, although the idol of the deity has also been relocated to the rehabilitation colony. "Locals would perceive the shrine as the only visible sign of human existence in Satabhaya village," said Basant Sahani, one of its former residents.
An official of Rajnagar tehsil in the district said that people in Satabhaya and Kanhupur villages had long been wanting to shift to a safer place, unlike some neighboring hamlets, where locals were skeptical about moving to a new area. The government, after consultations with locals, set up the rehabilitation colony in Bagapatia, he stated.
Shivendra Narayan Bhanjadeo, the trustee of the temple, said that Satabhaya has lost its identity with the caving-in of the shrine. "The distance between the sea and the temple was around three kilometers some three decades ago. Now the sea has successfully gobbled up the centuries-old temple. For all practical purposes, Satabhaya has now lost its geographical identity," Bhanjadeo added.