A modern temple has been recently constructed on the directions of an architect hailing from Maharashtra. Inaugurated in 1993 by the Shankaracharya of Puri, the actual construction could commence only in 2002, and concluded quite recently, finally resulting in the erection of an imposing structure over the main Shiva lingam. Though the modern construction is imposing and quite befitting its original historical glory, it sadly has not fully preserved the original design, which can now only be visualised. The site though has indeed gained popularity and is now visited by a large number of pilgrims from the neighbourhood as well as from other parts of the country. The ruins of the ancient temple are now placed at one corner of the premises of the modern temple and do provide useful insights about the original structure. The ruins contain beautifully carved inscriptions, etched on stone in the bygone eras by unknown sculptors.
Further the temple also has a small museum containing several sculptures found during the excavation. It needs to be expanded for proper display of the precious surviving pieces of the art of those times. At present the sculptures are stacked in a small chamber with no natural light, making photography difficult. Developmental activities at the temple are being taken care of by a trust. I could interact with some trustees, who also presented me with a token containing the image of the Modern Temple. It was a very pleasant visit.
There are several more Silent Pages waiting to be fully discovered in the district of Lakhisarai. Several sculptures are routinely discovered in the vicinity of the Ashok Dham and Jai Nagar areas in the district. Home to prehistoric early men as evidenced by the stone-age tools found on the nearby hills, the site had been an important centre in ancient times being situated on the way to Mudagiri (Monghyr), and on the banks of the Kiul and the Ganga rivers. The site had become quite prominent during the Pala rule, as evidenced by the extensive remains at several sites including Ashok Dham and Jainagar. In 1953-54, an image inscription of a chief named Yasahpala was found at Lai near Lakhisarai, dated in the year 32, apparently of the regnal reckoning of the chief’s overlord, who, there are reasons to believe, was the Pala king Palapala.
Though several sites of Lakhisarai have been described in parts by chroniclers including Buchanan, Cunningham and others for their historical remains, the full understanding of its past history still awaits further excavation and research.
More details to soon follow at my blog silentpagesindia.blogspot.in