Interesting anecdotes from the past

Magnificent Temple

The topic was made more interesting by slide presentations which Saryu had collected as part of her research on the temple. Friends of Saryu, people who follow her work and those with an interest in history, were present among the audience. Even the sudden downpour didn’t stop people from coming for the short talk.

Saryu began her talk by saying that Jain monuments and everything to do with the Jain community interested her. Saryu had visited the temple in 1972 and the stories around the temple inspired her to delve deeper into the history of the temple, that was in ruins when she first saw it.

She informed that Ranakpur Temple was built in the 14th century. The temple was striking in its magnificence of scale and conception. Built of white marble and intricately carved, the Ranakpur Temple covers an area of 3717 square metres. It lay in ruins for many centuries, but has now has been restored for us to envisage its history, splendour and former glory.

“I collected a lot of information about the temple and even wrote a book on it after my interaction with the pujaris of the temple and the people living in the vicinity. The temple has been handed over to a private Trust and they have taken the initiative to revive it to its original form, without defacing it,” explained Saryu. She said that care has been taken to preserve every pillar, dome and carved structures of the temple.

Saryu used slides to explain the state of the temple then and how it has been refurbished. “It’s not easy to grab the attention of the people unless you present it in an interesting manner. The slides helped the concept come alive,” she said. She was happy that the temple has been revived. “Budgetary constraints and the availability of craftsmen delayed the process. It’s not easy to find people who can work on the structure for a long time,” she said.

 Commenting on whether the young are interested in history, Saryu said that there are a lot of young people who come for her lectures and show keen interest in understanding the past and what structures stood out in the past. “But the interest hasn’t sparked off. I am sure young people will recall the past structures when they visit the place sometime but their interest in understanding the splendour of the structures of the past is shortlived,” she observed.

Among those present in the audience were playwright Girish Karnad, artist S G Vasudev and his wife Ammu Joseph. Sudhindra Rao, a historian said that the history of Ranakpur Temple was brought alive by the slides which gave a clear insight into what the temple looked like then and its state now.

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