In what could be seen as a blow to the Maharashtra government’s ambitious project of restoration, preservation and area development programme of the eight heritage temples of the state, the Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), under whose jurisdiction five of the eight temples fall, has refused to permit repairs to the main structures.
The state government had recently allocated Rs 101 crore for conservation of the eight temples. As per the announcement by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the budget session of 2021, conservation, preservation and premises development programme of the eight temples was to be undertaken by Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).
A committee was also set up and tenders were floated for the design and detail project report which was completed and submitted to the government and was subsequently approved.
As per the plan, the first phase of the project was to cover Ekvira Temple, Karle, Kopeshwar Temple in Kolhapur, Gondeshwar Temple in Nashik, Anandeshwar Temple in Amravati, and Shiv Mandir Gadchiroli. The temples fall under the ASI jurisdiction and its consent was sought. With the ASI refusing to give consent for the repair works of main temple structures, a government official said they can now only develop the area surrounding them.
Meanwhile, the other three temples on the government list are Khandoba Temple, Aurangabad, Bhagwan Purushottampuri in Beed, and Dhootpapeshwar in Ratnagiri.