Despite being a major tourist attraction for its historical significance, the Adinath Temple in Moheshkhali upazila, Cox’s Bazar is slowly falling to pieces because of the authorities’ negligence in preserving this heritage site.
Locals claimed that while the government is undertaking major development projects in Moheshkhali including the tourist spots, little is being done for the restoration and preservation of the centuries-old temple.
Situated on the summit of Mainak Hill two kilometres north of Moheshkhali municipality, Adinath Temple is not only a tourist spot but also a centre of pilgrimage for Hindu devotees.
According to the local legend, the temple was erected more than 3,000 years ago in honour of Hindu God Shiva.
Thousands of Hindus from around Bangladesh and the neigbouring countries have been visiting the temple at the beginning of spring to offer their devotion to Shiva for hundreds of years.
“The temple is not just famous in the country, but also around the world,” said Purnachandra Dey, president of Moheshkhali Adinath Temple Committee. “Yet, not enough has been done to preserve this tremendous historical site.”
A 10-day fair also takes place around the time of the pilgrimage, drawing both the Hindu pilgrims and non-Hindus to the site.
“Every year, the fair becomes a beautiful festival of interfaith harmony and celebration of culture,” said Babul Sharma, general secretary of the Cox’s Bazar District Puja Celebration Committee. “All the elements of Bangali folk culture are highlighted during this festival.”
But without the government’s patronisation to protect this heritage site, not to mention the general neglect of local administration, the temple is slowly decaying and its past glory fading, said Mahbub Rokon, a local senior journalist.
“This year, the authorities took steps to install security cameras and rest rooms at the site. But restoration of this temple needs work on a large scale. The government should include the temple in the mega tourism development project in Cox’s Bazar,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
When contacted, Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Md Ali Hossain said the government had a huge plan in the pipeline for the development of the entire district. “That includes the renovation of Adinath Temple too. This will be developed into a modern tourist spot,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Locals said they hoped the government would soon take appropriate measures to restore and protect the centuries-old temple.