Bihar's Mini-Khajuraho Nepali temple in Vaishali district is crying for attention

Published on : 06:21 AM Apr 13, 2022

The 18 century Nepali Temple also popularly known as the Chhawani temple situated on the confluence of the Ganga and Gandak rivers in the Vaishali district of Bihar, billed as Mini-Khajuraho of Bihar, is in shambles.

Vaishali (Bihar): The Kendriya Mahadev temple in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, attracts tourists in hordes for its magnificent architecture and the manifestation of sensual art in its supreme form etched on the temple walls. But this Nepali temple, which was stated to be built during the 18th century is in a state of utter neglect. The erotic art engraved on the wooden doors and other fixtures and fittings of the Nepali temple speaks volumes of its glorious past. Earlier, tourists from various parts of the country used to visit this place. Now, the place has become a haven for loiterers, drug addicts and anti-socials. The caretaker didn't get salary and he was found selling snacks on a mobile cart to eke out his livelihood.

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The archaeology department had taken the responsibility of giving a facelift to the temple. "Officials from the department visit the place occasionally and we didn't see any change at the ground level," said a local of the area. The temple was constructed in the 18th century by a Nepal king. However, as per popular belief, in the 18th century, a king from Nepal ordered his commander Matbar Singh Thapa to construct the temple at Konhara Ghat in Hajipur of Vaishali district of Bihar. The temple had a connection with Nepal Army and its commander, hence, in the local parlance, it has coined the name Nepali Chhawani meaning Cantonment where troops and their families are housed.

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Even today, devotees throng the place to take a holy dip during the auspicious occasions and also pay obeisance to Lord Shiva in the sanctum-sanctorum of the temple. A burning ghat is also located near the temple. Mahant Arjun Das, who stays in the vicinity of the Nepali temple, said, "The temple was constructed in the 18th century and had several precious statues of Gods and Goddesses made of Astadhatu (combination of eight metals). The temple also had a unique Shivalinga. These precious items are missing since 2008. On 17 pillars of the temple, sensual art has been presented remarkably. I have never seen an erotic artwork done on a wooden structure in anywhere else."

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"The temple architecture speaks volumes about the Kamasutra art. The temple finds mention in the Shiv Purana also," said Das. Nishant Kumar, a local person, said, "I am seeing this temple since my childhood. The work on the wooden structure is eye-catching. The sensual art gives the message to people that those seeking the blessings of the Lord should leave their physical desires outside before entering the sanctum-sanctorum of the temple for the worship of the Lord." "The Kamasutra postures also give the information about reproduction and procreation. Those who indulge in seeking pleasures, can have glimpses of this artwork on the temple walls and go home after seeing them," said Nishant.

Now, the temple is in shambles. The premises has become a haven for gamblers, drug addicts and anti-social elements. The temple structure and artworks are weathering away due to the lack of proper upkeep. In 2018, the Archaeology Directorate of the Bihar government had allotted funds to the Building Construction Department for Nepali temple renovation work. But, the department dragged its feet giving excuses they didn't have expertise (engineers) to carry out such type of temple renovation work.

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