Krimchi Temples- our priceless heritage

Historical buildings and archaeological sites are our historical, cultural, religious and social description of many hues. May be some historians, prejudiced or ignorant or interested in adulterating events to underscore the best – albeit these symbols of heritage, cannot succeed for long if the people keep them alive in hearts and psyche . In other words, if we , while feeling proud of having been in the past as great in building and construction traits, in superb workmanship , in designing, in engineering , in commitment as depicted by such symbols to preserve and promote art of different forms , must carry it all to next generations. That can only be done by religiously preserving every part of such heritage – materially the structure or the monument and academically, go in for extensive research to highlight the hidden treasure of knowledge about them. ‘Excelsior’ has occasionally been voicing concern about sheer neglect of such priceless heritage and has been bringing home the fact both to the Governments as well as to the people as to how both in tandem, could preserve and make wide awareness about our rich cultural and historical heritage – magnificent temples, forts, palaces, buildings , old manuscripts , stone and metal workings, paintings etc, to name a few. A connect between the past and the future can be possible only when we take care of present – all about knowing, describing , exploring and protecting these very rich symbols still standing high and tall with all the majestic glory.
Jammu and Kashmir has been abounding with priceless and bewilderingly magnificent symbols of art but due to multifaceted reasons, most of these have either remained lost in neglect or abandoned in lassitude or have been getting scant attention from all concerned. Krimchi temples , at the elevated terrace on the bank of Birunala stream in Krimchi village in Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir , by their very existence, speak volumes of the past grandeur of architecture and taste of art of the people living here. One of the temples, rather the main temple being 50 feet tall and standing like a solid rock , is testimony of the levels of the engineering heights of the period. Temple No. 3 denotes the beginning of the architectural activities and is comparatively the oldest and the smallest structure. Are they over a thousand of years old and still standing in splendid glory and strength of having survived various onslaughts of time? What material they were constructed with really baffles and bemuses one who visits the complex of seven temples locally known as Pandava temples. Two of the temples having been damaged several hundred years ago must be precisely known whether due to the time factor or due to any other reason since time factor has failed to damage the other ones still standing. Has Indo-Greek architecture any influence on the style and manner of the building of these temples , probabilities if not surmises, must be replaced by historical research.
History in whatever form written about such priceless heritage would have carried little sense had Archaeology not played its superb role . In fact, it is archaeology that provides enough material to historians to decipher their finds . Human civilizations – their advent and even decline are all known due to the efforts of the archaeology . Jammu region needs to get its due from archaeology in finding more which is still hidden deep in the ground needing excavating to unravel and unveil. We are sure , going by the levels of architecture and workmanship and the material used in building these magnificent temples , more about the past – all in glory would be surely known. The younger generation must be made to feel proud of their ancestry and descent, about the rich history, about how Governments were run, about heroic deeds and braveries, about warfare techniques ,about how religion was interpreted for personal enlightenment of knowledge, of compassion, of spiritual bliss and even and salvation but never for anyone’s subjugation.
Should we not know more about the rich temple architecture of this stature? Should not enough research be done to know more about our glorious achievements? Should, at the outset, a craving and deep interest be not generated in the people , more so in the younger generation, to visit such sites and keep them alive? Forgotten symbols and monuments means they are intentionally forsaken and renounced. The more footfall of the ”devotees” to the sites of the rich symbols of heritage, the more shall attention go towards maintaining and preserving them. Governments have no option but to pay the requisite heed to develop the areas around such heritage and to create necessary infrastructure to facilitate people visiting such heritage. Presently, there are problems about roads and accessibility in respect of reaching these temples. Since the link road from the main road is a trying experience for one intending to visit these temples, the same needs to be seriously addressed. When built , probably all the advantages seen then , over a stretch of a thousand years , have turned out to be less advantageous now because of difficulties encountered in reaching these temples. The Government must, under various centrally sponsored schemes for building and widening roads, arrange to construct a pucca road right up to these temples especially the 1 kilometre stretch up to the temples complex. No signposts or markings en-route the temple complex are installed to guide the tourists . Proper maintenance and development of the entire area alone can bestow the quantum of importance and the heritage value on these temples.
We feel that the concerned historical complex being basically religious can become an important centre under religious tourism. We reiterate that both the people and the Government have to play respective roles in injecting an innovative approach to maintain these valuable ancient symbols and must take other required steps towards reviving the lost value and importance of the temple complex. People must be driven with the historical pride associated with the complex and should keep visiting these temples and even celebrating different religious and cultural events intermittently and the Governments must develop the complex as a tourist spot of its own importance. Let the Krimchi Temples legacy be preserved, fairly known about and visited by more and more people.