1,000-year-old Shiva temple in Thane to get a facelift

1,000-year-old Shiva temple in Thane to get a facelift

The temple is located around 60 km off downtown Mumbai and is one of the oldest Shiva temples on the coastal Konkan coast

The Maharashtra government has earmarked Rs 43 crore for the project. Credit: DH Photo/Sagar Kulkarni

The surroundings of the nearly 1,000-year-old spectacular temple of Lord Shiva in Ambarnath in Thane district is getting a major makeover that would see the creation of several world-class facilities for devotees and tourists.

The temple is located around 60 km off downtown Mumbai and is one of the oldest Shiva temples on the coastal Konkan coast.

The Maharashtra government has earmarked Rs 43 crore for the project.

“Several years ago, I visited the temple and saw the lack of facilities. It is time that facilities are augmented,” Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday.

The project is being spearheaded by Thackeray’s close aide and state’s Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde and his son Dr Shrikant Shinde, who is a Shiv Sena MP from Kalyan. “I am regularly reviewing the status of the project,” Dr Shinde said on Monday.

The temple comes under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

“The temple is of immense heritage value and a lot of people go there to see it and pray before Lord Shiva....trekkers, nature lovers, heritage enthusiasts, and experts too regularly visit the temple premises and the surroundings,” said heritage enthusiast MP Joshi, who stays in the Ambarnath-Badlapur suburbs.

The temple’s exterior and interior are adorned with exquisitely carved images of Hindu architecture, idols and animal decorations.

Built in the 11th century, the Shiv Mandir of Ambarnath is also known as Ambreshwar Shiva Temple and known locally as 'Puratana Shivalaya'. It is located off the Waldhuni River and is around 2 km off the Ambarnath suburban railway station of the Central Railway.

It is in ‘bhumija’ form, and if completed, would have been close in form to the Udayesvara Temple, also known as Neelkantheshwara Temple, in Udaipur, Madhya Pradesh, and the Gondeshwar Temple at Sinnar.

The Ambarnath Shiva Temple, built in the classical style by the Shilahara king Chittaraja, was later renovated by his son Mumunni around 1060 AD. The Shilahara kings started out as vassals of the Rashtrakutas in the Konkan region, with the Chalukya kingdom to the south. The Shiva temple at Ambernath is located just a few miles away from the ancient trade route that leads right up to the Deccan plateau.

As far as the augmentation of facilities is concerned, Rs 20 lakh would be spent in Phase I while the rest Rs 23 lakh will be spent in Phase II.

The revamp would see a new amphitheatre, parking space, children’s parking area, garden and bus stop. The Waldhuni river bank would also see a beautification.