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Chikan patterns adorn this 18th Century Shiv temple

LUCKNOW: Built in 1780 by Raja Tikait Rai, a minister in the royal court of Nawab Asif-Ud-duallah, the Shiv Temple in Kakori is one of the very few temples in and outside the city that sees devotees only during the auspicious month of Shrawan.

Protected by ASI (Archeological Survey of India), the temple is built in an octagonal plan with fluted dome on a slightly raised platform within an enclosure at the sprawling banks of Behta river.

The most interesting fact about the religious monument is that its design is inspired by chikan motifs. The intricate design on the pillars of the temple resembles murri (form of stitch) pattern. “The design of the temple, especially floral and ‘keri’ (mango shape) patterns on the wall are exactly like chikan embroidery. The famous techniques of jaali (net) and murri can also be witnessed on the structure,” said historian Yogesh Praveen.

Decorated with stucco technique, the 330-year-old temple was built with lakhauri (old style bricks) and chuna (lime). Urad Dal (pulses), kapaas (cotton), sheera (sugar syrup) and gond (glue) was used to join the lakhauri.

Another interesting fact about the temple is that it never had a priest. There are three caretakers who serve in shifts and are responsible for cleanliness and security on the premises.

“There is something very serene about this place, it is surrounded by wonderful scenic beauty and has a calm river and farms on its sides. Only in the month of Shrawan or on MahaShivratri, locals throng the place, while a fair is organised in the last week of Shrawan,” said Ram Vilas, one of the caretakers.

There is also an arched bridge similar to the temple’s architecture over Behta river. Two Persian marble inscriptions with the date and the name of the builder are visible on one of the pillars.

Superintending archaeologist Indu Prakash said, “This temple and the bridge over Behta river were both built by Raja Tikait Rai in 1786. Both these structures were protected by ASI under monuments of national importance in 1920.”

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