Saturday, November 06, 2004


Submerged Himachal temples to be relocated


[India News] Nov 5

Shimla, Eight medieval temples in Himachal Pradesh that have been lying submerged inside a lake for decades will now be relocated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The 15th century Nagara style temples in Bilaspur town, 90 km from here, have been lying submerged under the Gobind Sagar Lake, the backwards of the Bhakra hydro project built nearly four decades ago.

The tops of some of these stone temples are visible when the water level drops in summer.

"We have approached the ASI to transplant these temples as the water is damaging them," said an official of the department of language, art and culture.

The department has sanctioned Rs.1 million ($22,000) as the initial funding for the project.The temples will be moved to a nearby area at a higher elevation.

Izhar Alam Hashmi, and assistant archaeologist at ASI, said this was a rare project."Since the Bilaspur temples have been buried in water for decades, considerable damage has already taken place. If the temples are not transplanted soon, this rich heritage might be lost for ever," he said.

Each stone and other pieces removed from the temple will be given a number so that they can be placed in the same order at the new site to retain their original design.

"A similar relocation work was carried out at the Nagarjuna Konda temple, buried in a lake in Andhra Pradesh" he said.The ASI has started working on the design and drawings of the Bilaspur temples.

"Before starting the dismantling work, we will first erect a wall around the lake and drain out the water by running motors," Hashmi said.Experts are also hoping to find antiques and pottery from the dry bed of the lake.

--Indo-Asian News Service

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