temple in Mahanadi
A 500-year-old temple submerged in river Mahanadi has resurfaced in Nayagarh district, in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Image Credit: ANI

Nayagarh, Odisha: An ancient temple in Odisha's Nayagarh that was submerged in Mahanadi river has resurfaced. The temple, believed to be around 450 to 500 years old, was submerged during a flood in 1933.

The archaeological survey team of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) recently claimed that they discovered an ancient submerged temple in the Mahanadi upstream from Cuttack.

"The temple had submerged a long time back but around 11 years ago, the temple started emerging again. Now the temple is visible a little bit above the water level. A research team is also working on it," said a villager.

The temple was successfully located after repeated attempts by Anil Kumar Dhir and his Project Assistant Deepak Kumar Nayak of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

The top of the submerged temple was discovered mid-river near Baideswar in the Padmavati village near Nayagarh. The 55-60-foot temple dates back to the late 15th or early 16th century, considering the construction style of the Mastaka and material used for construction.

According to INTACH Chief Anil Kumar Dhir, the temple of deity Gopinath, a form of the Hindu deity Vishnu dates back to the late 15th or early 16th century.

"This temple has a very old history. This temple is around 450 to 500 years old. Lord's idol from this temple was taken to another temple. We are working on a project--documenting the Mahanadi valley so we were in search of this temple. Around a week ago we were informed that the upper surface of the temple is visible," said Dhir.

"It is in a good state of preservation. The temple should be re-established as we have technology with us. This is not the first submerged temple that has been recovered by us," he added.

The region where the temple has been found used to be regarded as 'Satapatana'. Padmabati village was part of Satapatana which is a combination of seven villages. The temple was dedicated to deity Gopinath Dev.

With the river changing its course due to flooding 150 years ago,   the entire village was submerged in 1933 during a flood.

Anil Kumar Dhir said, there are around 65 temples in the area that are underwater but only 'mastaka' of Gopinath Deba temple was visible for some years as it was the tallest.

Deepak Nayak, who with the help of a local heritage enthusiast Rabindra Rana located the temple, was aware of its existence as the submerged top portion used to be visible in summer.