Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Temple collapses & damages in India

Bharat, ever since its presence on the face of this earth, has been the birthplace of temple culture and tradition. For Hindus, temple is not a mere stone, brick & mortar structure but a symbol of body and soul. 

Temple is the meeting place for the mortal soul & the Supreme Soul. Temple is the place where the heart meets its divine pace maker. Temple is the fountainhead that bursts greatest literary works, fine arts and performing arts.

But all these are becoming a distant past in the modern India. The India today is turning a blind eye towards its cultural heritage and ancient history by allowing the temples and other ancient historical structures to collapse

26th May, 2010 – Srikalahasti Rajagopuram Collapses:
The 500 year old majestically erected Rajagopuram of Srikalahasti temple became a heap of rubble on 26th night, taking some 100 odd monkeys buried under the debris. Unbridled drilling for groundwater (tube wells) was the cause for the collapse. Built by the much celebrated monarch of South India, Sri Krishnadeva Raya, this gopuram was a star attraction for both tourists, history and art lovers.

Now, it’s gone, thanks to the negligence by all (people, temple authorities, state govt. & other allied agencies.) It would astonishing to know that the cracks in the gopuram were found as earliest as 1980 and in 1996 some patchwork repairs were carried out with the help of TTD. Since then no one bothered to protect this historical monument erected by Krishna Raya upon his triumph over Gajapati kingdom in Odisha.

12th June, 2011 – A 13th century temple in Hampi Crumbles:

Illegal mining and heavy rains caused a havoc on Sri Varaha temple constructed during 13th century in the world famous heritage center Hampi.

A week ago, the mindless dynamite blasting carried by the lawbreakers have resulted in to the collapse of parts of Vijaya Vithala temple where the mysterious music stone pillars are erected by Vijaya Nagar engineers. As usual and living up to their credibility(!), all the govt. agencies (Central & State) have royally ignored the various threats that have emerged in the recent times. It was a truth that Hampi was destroyed by marauding Muslim armies but who is destroying the remaining of the great city now?

23rd October, 2011 – 160 years old Gali Gopuram comes down:
The gali gopuram of Sri Bhava Narayana Swamy temple, Bapatla came crushing down on 23rd October, 2011 afternoon. This gopuram was built in 1852 as an extended development to the main temple that was built by a Chola king in 5th century AD.

ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) has attributed a reason of 24/7 vehicular movement in the vicinity. Cracks were identified in the structure and the patchworks that were done have failed to hold the structure. People, state govt. departments and agencies like ASI have allowed this “structure of national importance” to do a vanishing act.

3rd October 2012 - Srisailam Gopuram Caves In:

The northern Gopuram of Srisailam temple caves in & collapses. This structure is almost 500 years old and believed to be constructed by Chatrapati Shivaji (then it must be not more than 300 years old). Either ways, it was an ancient monument that collapsed due to negligence of state govt., bureaucrats and temple administration. The last repairs carried out by the concerned authorities dates back to 1965 i.e. nearly 47 years ago (in 2012).

The in-fight between govt. departments has led to this disaster. In other words, it is sheer negligence and red-tapism that made the ancient structure to lose its presence.

20th January, 2013 – Temple wall in Srirangam collapses:

A wall in Srirangam temple complex suddenly collapsed for about 20ft. long and damaged an adjoining house. There are several reasons for the collapse like unofficial encroachments by houses & petty shops, drainage canals etc.

4th February, 2014 – Inner wall collapse in Bildwar Cave Temple:

Chattisgarh, the hotbed of mining industry, has stained its hands with blood of 5 worshippers when an inner wall of a cave temple caved in due to constant dynamite blasting in a nearby coal mine.

Alongside of these human errors, several mishaps and natural disasters are taking toll on the ancient temples of India.
  1. In August, 2007 two famous temples in Tamil Nadu i.e. Kumbheshwara temple in Kumbhakonam and Kapaleeshwara temple in Mylapore, Chennai have received the brunt the nature when a heavy lightning hit the gopurams and damaged them.
  2. A lightning from the blue has destroyed the gopuram of an ancient Bala Tripura Sundari temple in Tripurantakam, Prakasam Dist, Andhra Pradesh. This incident took place on 28th November, 2013.
  3. In an another lighting struck incident, the famous Madhura Meenakshi temple’s east Raja gopuram was partially damaged on 12th December, 2013. This gopuram was constructed during 13th century AD.
  4. An electric short-circuit partially damaged a 4th century AD temple of Ekanatheswari Devi in Chitradurga, Karnataka on 7th July, 2014.
  5. Yamunotri temple in Uttarakhand is constantly being bombarded by the landslides coming down from the Kalindi mountain which is atop the temple complex. Repairs are yet to be done to this complex.
The repetitive nature of damages like lightning and fire are hinting the negligence of all offices concerned. In this era of instant communication, one can quickly learn from the incidents happening in other parts of the country and implement the preventive measures. But the Indians seem to be immuned to quick learning and when they learn, by the time most of the ancient heritage monuments might have sighed their last breath!

God, save us or forgive for the unabashed and unashamed ignorance of ours!