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India >Himachal > Ruins Of Bathu Temple   by D.C. Sharma                         Pongdam Lake    Bird list       Map & overview 

Location :- 67 km from Dharamsala near Jawali village in Distt Kangra Of Himachal Pradesh.    A neglected Heritage !


Three kilometres east of Dhameta, a small town in Kangra, there stands a cluster of antique, unique, tall temples which remain dipped in water for eight months: but stand exposed to the human eye only during March  to  June: While these four months attract pilgrims to these temples, the other eight months  attract tourists, fishermen and multitudes of a variety of unique colorful birds migrated from islands of various continents of the world. Throughout the year, this place, commonly known as "Bathu ki Larhi"  (a string of Bathu stone-structures) enjoys the unique distinction of being  a popular tourist spot.

Before 1974, this cluster of unique artistic temples would attract pilgrims from all over the country, throughout the year, Then there  was only the  flowing Beas water near them, and no dam water engulfed  them as it does today. It was in 1961 that the work of Pongbam was started, giving it the final shape in 1970. 

This dam, which now  occupies the vast stretch of land falling within the boundaries  of Terris , Dhameta , Bharmad, Jawali, Nagrota Suriyan, Dada-Sibha and Dehra, was filled with dam water in 1974; carrying water of the Beas, and those of the rivulets of Gajj, Vool and Bundeir. This water level (1410 feet) uprooted a large number of inhabitants, green flourishing trees were got cut, crops were' done away with as the dam was filled with tonnes of rain water.

Bathu ki Larhi is   a cluster of eight  temples covering a vast area which used to have strong  protection walls which are now falling and crumbling in the strong current of water.

In spite of the fact that for the last 30 years this cluster of temples remains dipped in the  water for eight months every  year  yet their stone structure has the same natural colour, beauty and lusture as it used to have when they were actually constructed. Such is the durability of Bathu stone, a quality preferred in the entire Himachal. Only the colour of plaster and those of the bricks has undergone a change. The stone images set on both sides of this gate, one image being of Mother Kali and the other of Lord Ganesha. Before one enters the temple complex, one has to pass through another main gate, all of whlch indicate how this culster of temples was covered withi two protection walls in order to save  them from foreign invaders, There are also protection walls and protection. towers, now in crumpled shape, but show how those days'defence system was par  excellence

The broken Images of Lord Vishny and Sheshnag, the antique artistic ladders with images of Hindu gods inside the temple domes, amply prove how the Hindu architecture was simply at its peak. The chisel and stone work on Bathu stone is superb.. 

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