The Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is considering taking a closer look at the previous BJP government’s plan to build a temple at Divurumpola in Sri Lanka, believed to be the site of Sita’s Agnipariksha.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government first spoke about the temple in 2010, but there was little progress on the ground for six years. In between, he had claimed that necessary permissions had been obtained from Sri Lankan government and the Centre. When the then Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Sanchi in 2013, Chouhan had again raised the issue.
Finally, in 2016, an official team visited the site of the proposed temple. The BJP government then claimed that a Bengaluru-based firm had prepared a design and that construction would be over within a year or so. The expected cost was between Rs 12 and Rs 14 crore.
The site of the proposed temple is located on the premises of a Buddhist monastery in Divurumpola, about 15 km from Nuwara Eliya, a city in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Local people believe that the ornaments worn by Sita are still buried under a raised platform there.
S K Mishra, former principal secretary to Chouhan, told The Indian Express that the government had sanctioned Rs 1 crore for the temple but the money remained with the tourism department and was never used. He said the priest-in-charge of the monastery was all for the temple but was allegedly booked by the Sri Lankan authorities for cutting an old tree without official permission. Before the BJP government could revive the project, it lost power in the state.
Law Minister P C Sharma, who also holds the charge of religious affairs and trusts in the Kamal Nath government, said the government could think of reviving the project but only after studying all aspects in detail.
“We don’t want to do nautanki like the previous government by making announcements only for the sake of announcement. It is under consideration but we won’t make any announcement before anything concrete happens. I am discussing what has been done and what is possible,’’ the minister said.