Odisha: Ruins of ancient temple found in Bhargavi river bed
A heritage research group team on Thursday claimed that it had stumbled upon the possible ruins of an ancient temple of 13-14th century Common Era in Odisha's Puri district. The four-member team of the Rediscover Lost Heritage, which is currently listing archaeological monuments of the Ratnachira Valley, found the ruins near the mouth of the Bhargavi river in the Balanga area, 31km from Puri.
Remains were found scattered inside river bed, surrounding areas: Nayak
Project coordinator Deepak Nayak said, "The remains of the ancient temple were found scattered, both inside the river bed and the surrounding areas. The temple may date back to the 13th-14th century Common Era or earlier, considering the iconography of the antiquities."
Many blocks have been carted away by villagers for construction
"Many of the blocks have also been carted away by villagers for construction. A stairway from the river bed to the steep bank has around two dozen of these carved ancient temple blocks," Nayak stated. According to team leader Anil Dhir, Ratnachira Valley is a treasure house of many archaeological wonders, most of them being obscure and unknown as they have not been documented.
Here are the artifacts discovered by the team
The team found broken images, pillars, door jambs, and a multitude of minor broken artifacts. They also discovered carved stone panels, some of which have been affixed in the sides of the nearby Akhandalamani temple, which was made about a century ago.
'Nagakanya' images were seen in many carved stone blocks: Nayak
"We came across an intricately carved lintel section of a broken door jamb. The central figure is a beautiful Goddess Gajalaxmi image. Nagakanya images were seen in many carved stone blocks, besides a lot of fine filigree work of the older temple," Nayak said. They discovered a large block in the middle of the river that appears to be the foundation of the temple.
Team documented hundreds of sunken stone slabs on river bank
There are hundreds of huge sunken stone slabs documented on the bank, possibly once used in the temple's construction. "Some of the stone slabs -- sandstone and laterite -- have consistent and identical holes on both their sides, suggesting the use of iron clamping. Many were damaged and ruined by machinery used for sand mining," Nayak said.
Dhir appealed to state authorities to conduct survey of valley
"Considering the bulky size of the stone slabs, one can imagine it was not a small temple but a mid-sized or bigger temple," Dhir said. He appealed to the State Archaeology Department to conduct a proper survey of the Ratnachira valley and document the monuments.