Monday, May 23, 2011

Moodbidri Thousand-pillar Basadi: Alarm over Crash of Ceiling Slab

Moodbidri, Mar 1: Is crass commercialism getting the better of our heritage? There is yet another sign of our history crumbling under the pressure of modernization.

This temple-town, known as Jain Kashi, draws hundreds of pilgrims from all over India and abroad every day. The Jain community woke up to an alarming story the other day.

A ceiling slab on the right hand side of the Bhairadevi mantap in the precincts of the famed, historical Thousand-pillar Basadi crashed to the ground on Saturday. Though the basadi is known so by its common name, its original name is Tribhuvana Tilaka Choodamani Chaityalaya, built, as the inscriptions therein say, between 1429 and 1462 AD. Over the centuries, it has stood the test of time and withstood all elements of nature like rain, sun, storm and lightning.

Swasti Shri Bhattaraka Charukirti Panditacharyavarya Swamiji of the Moodbidri Jain Math convened a media meet on Monday to apprise the public of the situation and the damage.

The Bhairadevi mantap, got built in her name by queen Bhairadevi of Bhairanakote, Bhatkal in 1462, lies at the entrance of the basadi. A part of the ceiling slab came off two days ago. Besides, the monolithic pillar, called maanasthambha, has developed crack recently, perhaps caused by lightning.

The Swamiji said that excessive granite quarrying around Moodbidri, which involves blasting of rocks using explosives, as also a steep increase in the movement of heavy vehicles on the road beside the basadi had been playing havoc on the heritage structures.

The road-widening projects also had brought about hazards to various basadis like Kere basadi, Baikanatikari basadi, Padu basadi, Badagu basadi, Guru basadi and Vikrama Shetty basadi. While development was essential, conservation of heritage should be prioritized, he insisted.

The Swamiji also called for a ban on movement of heavy vehicles within a radius of a kilometre of town, immediate construction of a bypass, which has been long pending, a ban on quarrying within a radius of 10 kms and also a ban on bursting of 'kadani' crackers during festivals and occasions.

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