Friday, April 06, 2007

Bihar's Kamasutra temple in neglect

Hajipur (Bihar), April 6: A 17th century Shiva temple in Hajipur District of Bihar, which propagated Kamasutra, the ancient Sanskrit treatise on the art of love, is today lying in utter neglect, with the place giving a safe heaven to stray dogs and hooligans.

Built in 1669 by one Suba Kaji Hira Lal in Nepalese art form, the Shiva Temple is said to be the first of its kind constructed with a specific motive to propagate the cycle of creations. The temple, known as Nepali Kothi, has over eighty carvings depicting different poses as stated in Vatsayana's Kamasutra.

Though devotees worship the Shivalinga or, the phallic symbol or Shiva but the temple is also known for its unique artistry. "It was to bring the attention of people of all religions to the cycle of creation, these 84 carvings (depicting the Kamasutra) in wood were made," said Suba Hemant Jha, a local priest.

Hordes of people used to visit the temple, and the old ritual is still followed though on a lesser scale. But with the passage of time, the temple's paintings and the carvings have worn out, requiring urgent conservation.

"Today, this temple is under the jurisdiction of the Bihar government. It has not even appointed a priest or any security, let alone any other arrangements (for worship), " lamented the priest. The temple comes under Bihar government's Tourism Department.

It's minister says, they have plans to refurbish the temple to its past glory and bring it in the State's tourism circuit. "The Bihar government is very concerned about its future.

The State government has allotted 22 lakh rupees for its maintenance. It is our intention to promote this place as a tourist destination. We are already looking into its upkeep, strategies to ring in tourists will follow suit," averred Nand Kishore Yadav, Bihar's Tourism and Railway Minister.

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