Jharsuguda : Lord Vishnu Idol which some historians claims dates back to 14th Century has been lying idol at Budapali Village, under Lakhanpur Block in Jharsuguda District.
The lord Vishnu idol is lying abandoned, in a small mound called Beldumri (in local language) near the Budapali Village near the backwater of Hirakud Reservoir. The idol has four-handed with a height of around four feet and is enshrined in a roofless damaged brick-walled enclosure meant for the village temple.
As per the Local Villager, Surendra Naik of Budapali said, “ The Vishnu idol was first discovered by three women of the Budapali village in the year 1984 when they had gone to eat guava, they had discovered something hidden inside the soil and when they excavated, then they realised that it is an idol of Lord Vishnu and later informed to the villagers, in the same year the villagers had started puja in that place for next four to five years but after that due to some reason, it was discontinued and since then the idol is lying abandoned. Subsequently, we haven’t informed anyone regarding the idol but now, if the Government’s archaeology department excavate the site, then many other antique and historic items can be discovered which can be persevered.”
However, eminent Historian, Sashanka Sekhar Panda, who has extensively studied and have written on Mahanadi upper Valley sculptures says that this Vishnu idol with his leg missing dates back to fourteen century and the sculpture belongs to Kalachuri Origin. The size of sculptures suggests that previously there was a big temple at the site and if excavated then other remains of the temple can be found.
Another Historian Deepak Kumar Panda, who headed the INTACH survey team on Mahanadi valley heritage have told that right from the Chhattisgarh border to Hirakud Dam the area is quite rich in heritage. There are many temples remains and sculptures. There are few mounds where the remains of the temple are buried. Plenty of the sculptures that have been collected from the submerged temples are kept without care and security. These sculptures should be collected and be kept in a museum at Jharsuguda or any other suitable place in the district.”
Panda who has taken all the pain in exploring the submerged temples of Hirakud reservoir has offered to share all the photographs of the submerged temples if a museum is built in the district.
Simultaneously, he also added that “The industrial houses of the district should contribute in the conservation of heritage, also should contribute for excavation works. Such an attempt would prove and highlight the Antiquity of the industrial District of Jharsuguda.”
Chittaranjan Bagh, a local youth of Budapali said, “We want the government to preserve these idols by building a museum at Jharsuguda. So that the coming generation can know about the historical importance of this place.”