MALKANGIRI: An ancient Shiva temple which went under water six decades back has surfaced from Balimela reservoir at Damguda village under Panasput of Swabhiman Anchal here.
Submerged during construction of Balimela Dam Project in Chitrakonda in 1961, remnants of the shrine resurfaced after the reservoir dried up. The remains include a number of ancient idols of Hindu gods and goddesses.
Historian Debashish Patra claims the temple is believed to have been constructed in the late 1400s during proliferation of Mattamayura sect. The shrine resurfaced after dam authorities recently depleted water in the reservoir.
The resurfacing of the temple has sent villagers of Damguda on cloud nine. “After remaining under water for more than six decades, the shrine along with a five feet idol of Lord Ganesh and ‘Pakhiraj Garuda’ has resurfaced, bringing the ancient history of the region to the fore. Our forefathers used to tell us that there was a temple in Damguda which was constructed by the kings. The resurfacing of the shrine is an indication that finally good time has arrived for the inhabitants of this region,” said Jagannath Hantal of Panasput.
Chitrakonda tehsildar T Padmanav Dora said he will contact Culture department on Sunday to visit the site and take steps to preserve the idols that have surfaced from the reservoir.
Officials of the department can confirm the exact details of the ancient shrine after doing research on it, he added.
Meanwhile, people of the region are making a beeline to the site to catch a glimpse of the shrine and idols on the vast tracts of the dried reservoir and offer puja.