Nearly 6 decades after remaining submerged underwater, an ancient Shiva temple has surfaced in Damguda village in the Chitrakonda area in the Swabhiman Anchal region in the Malkangiri district of Odisha.
As per reports, the shrine was submerged during the Balimela Dam project construction in 1961 but it resurfaced following the drying up of the reservoir. Besides the ancient temple, several idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses were also discovered. According to historian Debashish Patra, the temple was built towards the end of the 1400s during the growth of the Mattamayura sect. The shrine had surfaced after the reservoir was emptied by the dam authorities.
The temple was constructed during the rive of Saivism in the State. Several temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was built around the same time. However, other historians have opined that the said Shiva temple was constructed by Jeypore Mallik Mardan Singh Deo to expand his kingdom. The newly emerged shrine is considered the second largest structure in Odisha. Some historians also argue that the shrine was built by the rulers of Nandapur in the Udadi area in 1500s. Reportedly, Sri Chaitanya had also visited Chitrakonda during the Odisha tour of 1510.
While speaking about the matter, a Panasput villager Jagannath Hantal informed, “After remaining underwater for more than six decades, the shrine along with a five feet idol of Lord Ganesh and ‘Pakhiraj Garuda’ has resurfaced, bringing the ancient history of the region to the fore. Our forefathers used to tell us that there was a temple in Damguda which was constructed by the kings. The resurfacing of the shrine is an indication that finally good time has arrived for the inhabitants of this region.”
T Padmanav Dora, the Tehsildar of Chitrakonda, said that he would contact the Department of Culture on Sunday (June 27) and will urge them to preserve the shrine and the idols. Meanwhile, the devotees have lined up to offer Puja and see the idols.