Gop: A miniature replica of the Konark Sun Temple, well-known in the region as ‘Mini Konark’ has been wallowing in neglect for decades, locals alleged Sunday.
Located at Baiyalisibati village of Erabanga panchayat under Gop block in Puri district, the picturesque replica needs immediate attention and be restored back to its decade-old lost beauty.
“It is believed that the Mini Konark dates back beyond 12th Century AD, which dilapidated over years owing to lack of adequate maintenance. Weeds have covered most parts of the monument and sandstones used in it have already eroded. State Archeology department should come forward and restore the age-old monument,” a Baiyalisibati resident said echoing the voices of several others.
According to historical facts, at least 1,200 craftsmen who were engaged in the construction of the Black Pagoda at Konark had been temporarily staying in the Baiyalisibati village. The then ruler Langula Narasingha Deb had given the charge of the supervision of the work to his erstwhile minister Sibei Samantaray.
The minister was worried as sandstones were getting washed away by tides after being laid at the construction site. In subsequent times, Samantaray constructed a miniature replica at Baiyalisibati village with due permission from the king.
Later, the craftsmen began worshipping Goddess Gangeswari in the temple to seek blessings for the smooth construction of the Sun Temple. Since those days, the miniature came to be regarded as Mini Konark and its presiding deity Gangeswari is even being worshipped till date.
“Neither the State Archeology Department nor the district administration are interested to restore Mini Konark and it may gradually collapse. We will stage agitation in the days ahead if the monument will not be restored back to its lost glory. We also demand that it should be accorded the status of a tourist destination,” Baiyalisibati villagers Niranjan Sahoo, Bibhuti Bhushan Sahoo, Alok Kumar Routray and others said.