Heritage Jain temples in Wayanad facing ruin

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Heritage Jain temples in Wayanad facing ruin

The ancient Janardhana and Vishnu temples at Punchavayal, near Panamaram, in Wayanad remain neglected in spite of an announcement by the Union government in 2009 that the two Jain temples would be declared national monuments.

The then Union Minister V. Narayanasamy had announced in the Lok Sabha in 2009 that the Centre would declare as national monuments the Vishnu temple (Vishnugudi) and the Janardhana temple (Janardhanagudi), located at a distance of nearly 700 metres from one another.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) declared the Vishnu temple in Kerala State, a national monument in September last, and the authorities visited the site as part of it, but the restoration work is yet to be launched.

However, there has been no final notification of declaring the Janardhana temple a national monument. A portion of the ‘gopuram’ of the temple had collapsed in rain two years ago and sculptures on the stone walls were destroyed.

Nearly 300 carvings on the huge stone pillars have survived the passage of time. A sculpture of a fishing man, a primitive war scene featuring tuskers, a stone edict in old Kannada script, figures of Jain deities and sculptures of the ‘Dashavathara’ still stand.

The intricate and elaborate carvings on the pillars remain in a dilapidated state due to long years of neglect.

The style of the sculptures and a stone edict on a wall of the Janardhana temple in old Kannada script show these temples may have been built during the reign of the Hoysala or the Vijayanagara dynasties in the Deccan plateau from the 12th to the 14th centuries. The Archaeological Survey of India is claiming that they are awaiting the final nod of the Director general of the ASI to start the documentation work, including drawing and designing as part of the restoration works of the Vishnu temple.

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