A 200-year-old Hindu temple that was buried in sand along India’s Penna River for almost a century has been rediscovered, reports Asia News International (ANI). The temple, called Nageswara Swamy, is located in the town of Perumallapadu within India’s eastern state of Andhra Pradesh, according to the New Indian Express.
Nageswara Swamy was buried by sand and sediment from the river as the Penna meandered and shifted its course, reports S. Murali for the Hindu. State archaeologist Ramasubba Reddy tells the publication that the temple may have begun to be swallowed by sand dunes when the region saw massive floods in 1850.
"Now, some enthusiastic youngsters dug up the temple. We have plans to rebuild the temple to perform pooja," Perumallapadu resident Pothugunta Varaprasad tells the New Indian Express.
According to India.com, about 35 young people, miners by some accounts, who had returned home to the area due to COVID-19 restrictions heard about the ancient temple from the town’s elders and set about helping to clear away sand. The diggers wanted to keep going, but local authorities stopped the excavation fearing it might damage the ancient structure.
Though not fully exposed, the temple’s remnants have already attracted crowds of people wishing to see or worship at the historic religious building, which local folklore says was consecrated by Parasurama, an avatar of the god Vishnu, per the Hindu.
Another Perumallapadu resident, Vara Prasad, tells ANI that the centuries-old temple is “quite popular with the villagers,” and that the plans for the temple’s reconstruction will depend on consultations with priests and elders as well as the condition of an idol to the Hindu god Shiva located within the temple.
Reddy tells India.com that the site will soon be inspected to determine next steps for its excavation and preservation in addition to meetings with local representatives.