INDIA, June 24, 2020 : An ancient Hindu temple that was submerged in a catastrophic flood 200 years ago has re-emerged, as lower water levels reveal its sunken spire for the first time in decades. The 500-year-old monument to an avatar of the God Vishnu once stood proudly on the banks of the Mahanadi river in Odisha, eastern India, and provided a place of worship for seven nearby villages. But after torrential floods in the 1800s, the river changed course, forcing villagers to abandon the temple and their homes as they disappeared beneath the swirling rapids.
This week, however, the temple re-emerged from the river as the Mahanadi’s water level dropped low enough to reveal the spire once again. Anil Dhir said his team of archeologists had successfully documented many temples of the Mahanadi river valley, but all efforts to locate this 60-foot one had proved futile. “The temple was in the midst of seven villages, collectively called Satapatana,” he said. “Sometime from 1830 to 1850, after catastrophic flooding, the river started to change its course and engulf the villages.
The villages were abandoned and shifted, but the temple was left intact, with the statue being removed and kept in a makeshift place.” A new temple was built and the statue installed there sometime in 1855. That temple exists today. Mr. Dhir emphasizes that there are no plans to excavate the temple presently. “It will be left alone,” he said. “The river is a dangerous stretch at this place, with swift currents. Also, statue thieves may try to get some old pieces from it.”
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