Monday, June 29, 2015

Mundeshwari Temple | Oldest'(1,652 years) surviving temple of Gupta Age | Kalpana Patowary

           

               
               
               
               

The Mundeshwari Devi Temple (also spelled as Mundesvari) is located at Kaura in Kaimur district in the state of Bihar, India on the Mundeshwari Hills. It is an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and Shakti and is considered one of the oldest Hindu temples in Bihar.It is also considered as the 'oldest functional' temple of world. One of the oldest living monuments in the country, the sanctum sanctorum of the octagonal stone Mundeshwari temple is still intact today. A huge heap of temple materials along with large number of idols lie scattered in the area. It is believed that rituals and worship have been perform adhere without a break; hence Mundeshwari is considered one of the most ancient functional Hindu temples in the world. The temple is visited by a large number of pilgrims each year, particularly during the Ramnavami, Shivratri festivals. A big annual fair (mela) is held nearby during the Navaratra visited by thousands.[13] The worship of shakti in the form of Devi Mundeshwari in the temple is also indicative of tantric cult of worship, which is practiced in Eastern India. Maharaja Dutthagamani (101-77 BC), a powerful independent king of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), had constructed a great stupa and a large assembly of priests attended its consecration ceremony in the Mundeshwari hills. According to experts, the seal acted as passport for Ceylonese pilgrims and ensured safe passage during their long journey through various kingdoms to Buddhist pilgrimage centres in India. Experts believe that earlier routes to Buddhist centres at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh and Kapilvastu in Nepal were via Mundeshwari temple in Bihar's Kaimur district. The inscription of an information plaque erected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the site indicates the dating of the temple to 108 AD. However, there are other versions for the dating stating the Saka era, prior to Gupta dynasty rule (320 AD) in India, and specifically to 105 AD according to the Administrator of the Bihar Religious Trust Board. The temple, a protected monument under ASI since 1915, is substantially damaged and is under restoration.
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