Baloor temple in a shambles

Anil Paba
World Heritage Week is celebrated every year from November 19th to 25th by the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The prime objective of the Heritage Week is to increase awareness of our diverse cultural heritage and celebrate the message of solidarity.
Granting an annual budget of nearly Rs 975 crore, the ASI under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR), Act is directly responsible for 3691 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains of National importance. According to Article 51A (f) of the Constitution of India, ‘it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.’
The term ‘Monuments’, in the present context, denotes the remains of buildings, etc., of historical interest. The need for the preservation of monuments arises, therefore, mainly from their importance in relation to the requirements of knowledge about past achievements as well as the methods through which they were achieved.
No doubt, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has carried out a large number of excavations in the country, which have added much knowledge of India’s past. These excavations have revealed a number of Prehistoric sites, Harappan, Pre-Harappan, Post- Harappan, Regional Chalcolithic, Iron age and early historic sites besides a large number of historic sites. But for the discoveries made at these sites, the extent of the knowledge about India’s history and culture would not have been what it is today. But much of the Indian history still lies much below the ground, and there are still numerous missing links in the Indian history.
Every year we celebrated various events, to raise awareness and educate the general public about the importance of their own traditions, cultures and the importance of saving and preserving them. But there are still a large number of unprotected monuments in India, and there is little documentation of their current status. It is a pity that formerly these most important and precious relics of the past glory of the country were allowed to remain in a lamentably neglected condition. Unprotected from the destructive and disintegrating influences of the weather, not to say of earthquakes, the ancient monuments particularly those uncared gradually crumbled to ruins.
The temple popularly known as Bloor Temple belongs to 10th century A.D is the live example of our shamble heritage. This beautiful temple has remained in a(lawaris) dilapidated condition for centuries together. Unfortunately, hitherto this beautiful temple has not been reported either by the State Archives and Archeological Department, Jammu or by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
At a village called Garh Baba Baloor in Tehsil Majalta of District Udhampur, there are the ruins of an ancient temple and historical boalis. The temple is situated near the Government Girls Middle school, Garh Pamasta (zone Babey), towards Udhampur Kathua Road and left turns to Bharnara morh, covering a distance 3kms Bharnara , Janswal road and about one km by foot to reach Garh Pamasta.
The ground plan of the temple is a square about four feet above the ground. The temple stands in a square position having 9 feet each in length and breadth. It has one door facing towards the South, the other the sides covered with chiseled stone without the use of any mortar. The main entrance of the temple is very small but very attractive having 38 inch in length and 24 inch in breadth, which shows the artistic skill of the locals. In the garbhagriha there is a beautiful sculpture of Baba Bloor as per locals having length 30 inch and breadth 17 inch along with other two sculptures. According to Balwan Singh (Pujari), the temple has 6 kanals ,9 marlas of land around the temple. Some portion of the roof of the temples has been crumbled but protected by the branches of a big tree. The ruins of the temple are still lying around the temples. The beautiful sculptures of the Apsaras has been damaged but can be preserved by the expertise of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and much more can be known by excavating the site. This beautiful temple has unique architecture than Krimchi and Babbor’s temples. According to Pujari this area has been witnessed more than 100 water baolis. At present only three baolis belong to the same periods still survive and in a restorable conditioned.
According to reports, there are approximately 7, 00,000 heritage structures in India. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) administers 3691 ancient monuments and archaeological sites. The rest came under the state archaeological department, private trusts and other bodies. These monuments belong to different periods ranging from the prehistoric period to the colonial period and are located in different geographical settings.
They include temples, masques, tombs, churches, cemeteries, forts, palaces, step wells, rock-cut caves and secular architecture as well as ancient monarchs and sites which represent the remains of ancient habitation.
A Hindu temple is a symbol or rather a synthesis of various symbols. It is conceived in terms of the human organism which is the most evolved living form. The names of the various limbs of the human body from the foot to the hair on the crown of the head are applied in architectural texts to different parts of the temple structure. To the Hindu, the temple is the abode of God who is the spirit immanent in the universe. The temple therefore, is known by such terms as devalaya, shivalaya and devayatana. Temples with these distinctive characteristics are ubiquitous throughout north India and are found as far south as the Tungabhadra valley. As a natural consequence of the distribution of the style over such extensive territories, regional variations came into being. Despite a basic homogeneity in essential aspects, the various styles followed their own course of evolution and developed local peculiarities and idioms according to the indigenous by their art traditions and political and cultural environs. After the 7th century, the evolution of the northern temples had largely a regional pattern, often influenced by powerful dynasties.
India is an ancient civilization and one of the richest nations in terms of cultural heritage. Unfortunately, India’s built heritage is under constant threat from the various natural disasters that visit the country every year.
Since the U.T government of Jammu and Kashmir seeking the information regarding restoration of Ancient Temples/ Mosques/ Gurudwaras/ Churches etc; to increase the tourist potential. It is my personal appeal to the government to restore the temple in its original shape without further delaying.
I, also requested to the superintendent Archaeological survey of India(ASI) to have a visit to the site and start excavation as well restoration of the temple.
(The author is Director Amar Santosh. Museum Udhampur and Co convener INTACH Udhampur-Sub chapter of INTACH Jammu Chapter)