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200-year-old Gurudham Temple renovated, abuzz with creativity

Varanasi: Historic Gurudham Temple, a 200 years old unique architecture with philosophical symbolism in bricks that remained neglected for decades in Varanasi, is full of youthful energy, attracting art students, theatre group artists and others.

To mark the World Heritage Week (November 19-25), a series of events like photo exhibition, competition of poster/rangoli/poster making, painting workshop, essay writing and talks have been organised at the temple by the regional office of the UP state archaeology department.

Built in 1814 by Raja Jai Narain Ghoshal of Khidderpur (Bengal), the temple is octagonal in shape with eight entrances and eight courtyards. All detail of construction like measurement of cubicles, veranda and dome, number of stairs and height and pictures inscribed on its eight gates, defines one or more symbolic explanations. Located in Durgakund area, Gurudham Temple is believed to be a tantrik temple and also regarded as a place to achieve spiritual elevation.

The temple remained in oblivion for long. Due to negligence and encroachments, it become a hotspot of illegal activities like gambling. The old brick structures of the temple continued to decay and backyard was used as a garbage dumping site.

Efforts of its renovation and protection were started in 2013 with the fund of Rs 138.19 lakh sanctioned by the 13th Finance Commission in 2013, regional archaeological officer Subhash Chandra Yadav said. Soon the restoration work was started with the use of mortar prepared with ‘gur’, ‘bel’, ‘urad dal’, ‘surkhi’, and red sand. The decaying plaster was cleaned and filled with mortar without making any chemical or physical change in the original structure, said Yadav, who has been looking after the temple and other archaeological sites of UP government in this region since 2011.

“With our limited resources, we are trying to protect this historical monument,” Yadav said, adding that events are organised here regularly with the help of local theatre groups and fine arts students to create awareness about the protection of heritage. The theatre group members have been allowed to practice dramatics in the temple as they find the place peaceful and full of positive energy, he said. The temples originality is not being hurt in the renovation process, he added.

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