Treasure trove of 9th-12th century CE idols found in Odisha
A team from the group Rediscover Lost Heritage, Friday claimed to have discovered a treasure trove of old temple idols and panels at Laudanki village near Satasankha on the Bhubaneswar-Puri road in Odisha. The six-member team, which was conducting a survey of the Ratnachira Valley, came across the ancient idols on Thursday, while inspecting the precincts of the ancient Gateswar temple in the village.
Assortment of two dozen artifacts was discovered beneath garbage heap
The village is just 15km from Pipli and 40km from Bhubaneswar. Anil Dhir, the leader of the team, said that the assortment of nearly two dozen artifacts was discovered beneath a big garbage heap at the rear of the temple kitchen. Notably, the team had earlier discovered surface remains of an ancient temple strewn around the complex which comprised of carved stone blocks.
Here are the artifacts found by the team
Deepak Kumar Nayak, the chief coordinator of the RLH group is heading the Ratnachira project. He says that the identified images include a three feet Kartikeya image in Mayurasana, a two feet Ganesh in Ardhaparayanika, a two feet Mahisasishmardini image, a seven hooded serpent image of Manasa besides an assortment of temple panels with intricate carvings of Alasyakanyas, Brushavas, Nara Vidalas, etc.
Brass mask of Lord Shiva was also found
"A small brass mask of Lord Shiva too was found. The antiquities, except the brass mask, can be dated to a period between 9th to 12th centuries CE. The artifacts have been kept inside the temple and the authorities have been informed," Nayak informed.
Images were initially discovered by state authorities in 1999
Local villagers had told the team that many old images had been recovered during the restoration of the temple by the State Archaeology Department in 1999. These images had been kept aside by the authorities for transportation to the State Museum, however, with the temple inundated during the Super Cyclone in 1999, the trove was since lost.
Survey of entire Ratnachira valley should be undertaken: Dhir
"Officials too forgot about the recovered images, and they have since then been lying buried in the garbage heap for the last two decades," Dhir said. Dhir has appealed to authorities to conduct a proper survey of the temple complex. "A survey of the entire 60km long Ratnachira valley should be undertaken and the monuments documented," he said.
Here are the members of the team
According to Dhir, the Ratnachira Valley is a treasure house of many archaeological wonders, most of them being obscure remain unknown and undocumented. Notably, the team members included Conservation Architect, Aloukika Mohanty, Subhashish Dash, Suman Prakash Swain, and Sitakanta Mishra.Share this timeline