Udaipur : A temple believed to date back to the 8th century collapsed in Ayad area of Udaipur following rainfall, raising concerns about other structures in the historic area. Locals came to know about the damage in the morning who expressed discontent with the officials for not having worried about its timely maintenance. Ayad or Ahar is an archaeological site which in the past was known by several names viz Aghatpur, Aitpoor, Anandpura or Gangodbhav Tirtha. The heritage Shivalaya which collapsed on Wednesday night is situated in Gangaudhbhav Kund premises popularly known as Gangu Kund, a sacred place known for a stream flowing from the holy Ganga river.
The Shiva temple is believed to have been built by Rawal All at of Mewar in 950 AD. The upper part of the Shikhar completely collapsed and fell down which has damaged a major portion of the Garbhgrah too, though the Sabha Mandap where the four faced Shivalinga lies, is safe and unharmed informed Kaushal Moondra, a history enthusiast. Since the temple is protected by the state archaeology department, researchers claim the impact of collapse and extent of damage can be only assessed once the debris is cleared. There were three idols in different directions, one that of Chamunda (north), Harihar (east) and Lakulish (south) installed at the garbhgraha of the temple which are feared to have been damaged in the fall.
“The heritage temple is finest example of 8th century sculpture and architecture. Guhil ruler Maharawal All at was driven from Chittorgarh by Parmar king of Malwa Munja Raja. Allat established a new capital at ancient Ahar. He fought and won a battle with a king of Pratihar dynasty known as Devpal. To commemorate the victory, Allat built many temples in Ahar settlement and this Shiva temple is one of them, Pipli scriptures contains the details” explains Dr Vishnu Mali, an expert on temple archaeology.
Another 10th-century temple of Bhaktmani Meera is also situated nearby which is famous for its elevated plinth with intricate carvings and continous panels of sculptures. According to historians, during the eight and ninth century, the Guhil rulers and feudal lords were known for their religious tolerance, generosity and harmony. The temples in the Ahar settlement are examples of the age and hence groups of such worship places and idols can be seen in the area. Several excavations have been carried out by the state Archaeology department in the Ayad area that have revealed the remains of Chalcolithic era in Rajasthan going back to 4000 years. Ancient temples, sculptures,coins, pottery and mounds from the ashes of volcanic eruptions are found in abundance here.