The state needs to promote the Maghnowa Doul, a 17th-century place of worship and a protected site in Assam’s Lakhimpur district as a tourist destination, said experts.
As the state celebrates “World Heritage Week” from November 19-25, the government needs to ensure that the temple located on the banks of river Pichala in the district’s Narayanpur, receives a steady flow of tourists.
Constructed during the reign of Swargadeo Pratap Singha in 1643, the temple is also known as Phulbari Devalaya.
Historian and winner of this year’s Heritage Mitra Award of the state directorate of archaeology, Nabin Buragohain said, “The Maghnowa Doul was constructed of 10,55,020 pieces of bricks along with other materials such as stone, jaggery, lime, pulses and scales of fishes.”
Since the temple has immense potentiality of being a great tourist destination, the state government should initiate the needful to promote it before the world, he said.
Classified as a Devi Doul (abode of the goddess), the octagonal temple has sixty sculptures of exquisite beauty on its outer walls fixed on rectangular outlets and stones of serpentine and phallic shape, which the locals worship.
These sculptures depicting different Hindu deities were extracted and stolen by local cattle herders as there was no keeper, priest or protection from the state until recently.
The temple was also desecrated by the invading Maan (Burmese) army in the early nineteenth century.
Sources said that the state government in recent times has undertaken various developmental projects for the preservation and promotion of Maghnowa Doul including the setting up of solar power lamps and paver-blocked entrance ways.
“There is a chance of people getting electrocuted as a high voltage power cable passes overhead through the premise of the monument,” said a local who did not wish to be named.
Locals also said that the Archeological Survey of India had in the past, taken time to approve proposals for the temple’s renovation, leading to unnecessary delay.