Situated 300m east of the main entrance to Lingaraj Temple in old Bhubaneswar, the 13th century Purbeswara (Purbeshwar) Temple is a great example of how dilapidated ancient monuments in the city are finding saviours from across the globe.
Whilst there are plenty of examples of monuments in a precarious condition and situation in Bhubaneswar, this is a good news story.
Ten years ago this temple was in a dilapidated condition. A tin sheet had been erected over the remains of the sanctum in an attempt to restrict the seepage of water and the deity, a Shiva Linga, had to be relocated to the jagamohana in front.
The growth of vegetation around the temple compounded the issue, with what remained of the fabric of the building still standing developing cracks and becoming unstable.
So here comes the good news. In late 2011 the British-Australian global mining giant Rio Tinto stepped in and announced that they had plans to adopt the temple.
In partnership with Intach and at a cost of Rs 15 lakh ($19,700) they instigated a program of reconstruction and restoration, which included the repair of the mandap and sanctum, construction of a compound wall to hold back the pressures from encroachment, a small garden and supply of electricity and fresh water.
The adoption of neglected temples at risk in Bhubaneswar is a program created by Intach. Taleswara Temple was the first monument to receive corporate investment, with CESU (an electric distribution company) committing Rs 5 lakh ( $6,500) for restoration work.
Being slightly removed from the heart of the city, Purbeswara temple doesn’t seem to get many visitors and is relatively unknown. It’s a lovely peaceful little compound and clearly the locals love this monument. On my visit the jagamohana was locked, and so I was left to enjoy what there was to see from the outside.
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