Uttarkashi: Historical and cultural landmarks include the Shani Temple in Kharsali, Uttarkashi, and the mythical Shani temple in Kharshali gaon, where Mother Yamuna formerly lived as a mother and in winter. But a serious menace threatens these hallowed places, endangering their very existence.
An Endangered Heritage
The four and a half-story Shani temple, built of stone and wood, had structural problems in the fourteenth century. The walls of the temple developed cracks, and the wood that was used to build it started to deteriorate, placing the structure in danger of serious harm. In addition, the foundation of the legendary Shani temple in Kharshaligaon was seriously damaged during Mother Yamuna’s winter visit last year, endangering the temple’s stability. Despite efforts to correct the issue, the threat still exists.
Deterioration of Structure
These amazing temples are deteriorating as a result of the ancient building technique that uses Gujakhunti and Thuner wood for the stones. The stones, which were carved utilizing the age-old Gujakhunti method, are now prone to degradation and shifting. Although these temples were originally built with anti-quake technology, more recently, hazards have emerged from government system incompetence rather than seismic activity, putting these architectural wonders in grave danger.
Issues and Proposals
Seeing the impending danger to these temples, devoted Shani Dev devotees Kamal Nath, the former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, and his spouse Vinayla Jain have offered to take up the task of restoring these mythical landmarks. They have played a significant role in the past ten years in planning elaborate celebrations for Shani Jayanti and Baisakhi twice a year. Their passion to cultural conservation is demonstrated by their commitment to maintaining the sacredness of these shrines.
The blessings and permissions that the Pashwa of Shani Dev recently granted upon the Vinailha Jain family for their renovations serve as even more evidence of their dedication. The restoration project has officially begun with the ceremonial laying of a foundation stone, an essential first step in the preservation of these historic structures.
The Legendary Architectural Style of Gujakhunti
The Gujakhunti architectural style, which draws inspiration from mythology, is characterized by the interlacing of stone columns and timber beams to form the major structural feature of these temples. This method creatively combines stone and wood to produce sturdy and eye-catching constructions. But now that time has worn these temples down and the bureaucratic systems have neglected them, irreversible destruction to them is a real possibility.
The Shani temples located at Kharsali and Kharshaligaon are not only important historical sites but also serve as archives for our mythical and cultural legacy. The danger they confront necessitates quick thinking and action in order to prevent these architectural marvels from disappearing into the past. The dedication of selfless people such as Vinayla Jain and Kamal Nath is a ray of hope, indicating our shared duty to save our sacred historical monuments.
Not only are these temples important architecturally, but their restoration and preservation are also urgently needed since they represent our dedication to respecting and preserving our cultural heritage for coming generations.