A leaning temple located in the Sarah area of Kangra district has been restored by INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) under the aegis of the state government. The nearly 400-year-old temple of a local deity, Bhadrakali, got damaged during an earthquake that devastated Kangra in 1905. The temple got tilted on its foundation and since then it had been lying in that position for over 100 years without any major damage.
Malvika Pathania, state convener of INTACH, said they had approached Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for a financial grant for reconstructing the temple. The Chief Minister gave a grant of Rs 7 lakh for the project with which it had now been reconstructed. She said initially the advice of a geologist from Uttar Pradesh, who was an expert in the restoration of old buildings, was taken for the reconstruction. The geologist had said that the temple at one time had many natural water sources and an inn around it.
The services of artisans from Orissa were hired for the reconstruction. Each stone of the temple was dismantled and numbered so that it could be put back at the same place during the reconstruction. After dismantling the upper structure, the foundation of the temple was dug up to 6 ft. The construction material from a local mine was used so that the originality of the structure could be maintained, she said.
Malvika said the temple had the Shikhar style of old Hindu temple architecture. The architecture of the temple resembled that of centuries-old temples located in Chamba district. Though there was no definite theory regarding the person who got the temple constructed, the locals treated the temple deity as their “kuldevi”, she said.
Encouraged by its success in restoring a temple to its original glory with minimum financial resources, INTACH is now planning to submit a project to the state government for the restoration of temples that have been submerged in the Gobind Sagar and Maharana Pratap Sagar in Pong Dam. Many temples of old Bilaspur state and Guler state have been submerged in these man-made lakes formed after the construction of the Pong and Bhakra dams. Malvika said, “We are proposing that the temples submerged in the lakes should be dismantled brick by brick and restored at another place by hiring the services of experts available with INTACH.”