December 26, 2006

Mysore Oriya initiative in temple restoration

A view of the Cauvery from the time-ravaged temple.

I was skeptical when I first learnt of the Orissa Association Mysore (OAM) temple restoration project. It is a tough task, taking on a 11th century temple that remained neglected for the last 400 years. The initial cost estimate was Rs.12 lakhs. Could the Oriya association mobilize the resources? That an association, with less then a hundred member, could even consider such a venture spoke of their think-big mindset. Or was it naivety? I shared my misgivings with OAM president Mr Dilip Kumar Misra. This was a year ago.

When I met Mr Misra and another committee member Mr Ghanshyam Pradhan recently they said the project cost had risen to Rs.30 lakhs, but added that the pace of progress was encouraging. A Kalakarshana ceremony (a ritual marking the start of inner temple restoration work) was performed at Belagola village, off the Mysore-KRS Road, this October. Mr Misra expected the work to be completed in two years. Details of the project and also the status of progress made so far can be accessed at

To a question about fund-raising Mr Misra had a four-word response - “I believe in miracles”. The progress made till now, from the day when the idea occurred to him and a few others, on the Ganesh idol immersion day in 2003, was in itself the result of a series of minor miracles. “It is as if we are being driven by a divine force,” said Mr Misra, adding that there was no room for pessimism in this scheme of things.

It took the Oriya association well over one year to get official clearance. There was so much of paper work that, after a point, Mr.Misra said he simply signed on, without even looking into the papers. He didn’t want permission to be denied for want of a single signature. Most form-fillings were, anyway, a formality and a bureaucratic requirement. Mr Misra was not complaining. Merely stating what it took to get the government go-ahead for the temple restoration project.

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