Ancient temples in Puthia falling apart for lack of care | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 05, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 05, 2008

Ancient temples in Puthia falling apart for lack of care


Several terracotta plaques went missing from this column of the Baro Annik Temple in Puthia of Rajshahi.Photo: STAR

Several monuments in Rajshahi's Puthia upazila under the care of the archaeology department are threatened with extinction for high soil salinity and lack of standard maintenance due to fund constraints.
Some important monuments like the Pancha Mandop and the Singhadar are already in ruins, due to the indiscretion of some locals, according to the department's documents.
The establishment of Puthia Degree College is threatening the Chhoto Annik Temple and Pancha Ratna Gobinda Temple as they are part of the college campus, becoming hangouts for students.
Shafiqul Alam, a director of the archaeology department, said several letters have been sent to the college authority and the local administration, asking them to relocate the college campus, but they have not yet responded to the requests.
He said fund constraints stand in the way of the department's ability to preserve the monuments. A senior official said they need at least 50 staffers to protect the 12 monuments on the college campus and in its vicinity, but they have only two site attendants on hand.
Officials said most of the monuments including the Chhoto Annik Temple, Baro Annik Temple and Pancha Ratna Gobinda Temple were adorned with terracotta plaques, most of which have been lost due to high soil salinity and lack of proper maintenance.
A vast array of the plaques has also been stolen during the last five years.
Baro Annik Temple is an aesthetic beauty and so is Chhoto Shiva Temple. But salinity and lack of maintenance have robbed them of their splendour. Seventeen statues were also stolen from the Shiva Temple during the liberation war.
High salinity and heist have also cost the Pancha Ratna Gobinda Temple a vast number of its terracotta plaques.
Some temples in the area date back to late 17th century and early 18th century, during the reign of Rani Bhawani, according to the archaeological documents.
Rainwater percolating through small holes has ruined the Rani Bhawani Palace, one of the most important monuments, said an official.

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