The remains of a 10th century temple along with stone images of different deities were unearthed near the Collector’s office here on Wednesday.
Some workers stumbled upon the remains of the temple while they were digging to build the boundary wall of the district planning office. After the discovery of the temple, the district administration stopped the digging work.
A three-foot top (Chuda) of the temple was also unearthed. Historians claimed it indicates that the original Baladevjew temple was existing there till 17th century.
“The unearthed remains of the temple had perhaps been built in 10th century AD under the patronage of ruling Bhauma-Kara dynasty. But, in 16th century, Muslim invaders demolished the temple,” said Dr Basudev Das, a noted researcher of Kendrapara. “The 400-year-old Juma mosque at the Old Bus stand in the town was built by the Moghul rulers after demolishing the Baladevjew temple at the same site in 1661 as the temple authority refused to pay obnoxious ‘Jijiya’ tax. The original temple was demolished by Khan-i-Duran , the then Subedar of Orissa during the rule of Moghul emperor Aurangzeb on 2nd April, 1661 AD. He constructed a mosque on the foundation of the dismantled temple in 1663 AD. Devotees of Lord Baladevjew took the deity in disguise in a boat through river Govari and kept it in a secret place near Chhedara Jungle,” said Das.
Meanwhile, a delegation of VHP and BJP on Thursday met the Collector Durga Prasad Behera and urged him not to build any building at the site. When contacted, Behera said, “After some workers unearthed remains of a temple, the district administration has stopped the construction work on Thursday. I have also written a letter to State Archaeology Department about it.”
The Department officials visited the site and decided to excavate the site soon. Security has been tightened at the site as it is situated near the Juma mosque, said Ranjan Kumar De, police officer of Kendrapara police station.