500 years old Temple rises from Mahanadi : The Saga of Gopinath Temple

The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts.” ~ Dalai Lama

And somewhere at a greater depth, this quotation by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama proved to be accurate one in case of the recently emerged Gopinath Temple from the Mahanadi river in Odisha.

On a very literal sense, if we try to compute this recent event in this quote, then it would seem like –

Temple of Gopinath= temple of goodness and our heart= the Mahanadi river. Let me explain this metaphor. The Temple of Gopinath is the temple of goodness and benevolence, that has emerged from the depth of our heart and this depth of heart is reflected by the Mahanadi river from where it has emerged. Now let us talk about this bubbling news.

The event is accounted from the district of Nayagarh in Odisha, when the ‘mastak’ or the ‘top’ of the temple emerged from the Mahanadi river. The temple is believed to be more than 500 years old and perhaps is submerged in the river for several centuries. According to archaeologists, that were sent by the organisation of INTACH on the site, the temple is 60 feet tall and is dedicated to Lord Gopinath, a form of Lord Vishnu. So in this sense, it’s a Vaishnava temple. They also believe that the temple was constructed in the late 15th century or in the early 16th century.

According to the reports, and researches, the top of the ancient Gopinath Temple was last seen some 11 years ago. The temple has re-emerged because the water-level of Mahanadi has reduced significantly in the region. As far as the facts given by the locals are concerned, they said there were 22 other temples that are submerged in the river but since the Gopinath temple is the tallest one, so only the top of this temple was visible.

The top (mastak) of the submerged Gopinath Temple, Odisha

The villagers have requested the government authorities to recover and maintain the emerged temple, so that its history can be protected and it can become a tourist spot in later years. In addition to this, INTACH has launched a special project dedicated to the Mahanadi river, which documents the heritage of this river. Currently, Anil Dhir is the Project Coordinator of the Mahanadi Project (INTACH).


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