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SAMBALPUR: A NEW look is in the offing for the 16th century temple of Lord Shiva, Mandhata temple, at Maneswar in the city. Municipal engineer, Basanta Kumar Padhy said desiltation of the water body and construction of an inner protection wall has been completed at the cost of `18 lakh. A decision has been taken to construct a pathway surrounding the water body, develop a lawn and construct cemented chairs on the bank. Some other beautification works will also be carried out. “Our work will gain pace after  the rainy season,” he said. A total of 54 turtles, which were in the water body, have been taken out from the pond to facilitate the renovation and beautification. The civic body has built a small tank as a temporary home for the turtles till the completion o f the wat erbody ’ s beautification.

The temple at Maneswar, which was built by the first king of Sambalpur, Balaramdev, in the 16th century, is one of the most famous Shiv temples of the region. Historians said in the undivided  district of Sambalpur, a large number of Shiva temples were built during the Chauhan rule. The most important among them are the Asta Sambhu Pithas. Mandhata temple in Maneswar is one of the eight Asta Sambhu Pithas. Murali Pujari, a priest of the temple, hoped that after completion of beautification works, the number of visitors will increase.