Shimla: In a matter regarding the dilapidated condition of Mrikula Devi Temple, at Udaipur, Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to constitute a team of scientific experts and also other representatives from other Branches of ASI within one week to inspect the temple site.

The court has also directed ASI to submit the estimate for making necessary repair of the temple that is of immense historical importance in the state.

The court further directed ASI to ensure that funds are provided for repair, maintenance and preservation of the temple and to commence the necessary repair works within a month thereafter, so as to complete the same expeditiously.

The orders were passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sandeep Sharma, on a writ petition taken up suo motu as Public Interest Litigation, on a report submitted by the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Kullu. 

According to the petitioner, the roof between both the portions of the temple is bending and can collapse any time.

“One of the old wooden pillar is bursting. The outer side of the roof is also falling, the colour of the temple was removed by the archaeology department in order to repaint the same but thereafter, the temple has not been painted at all,” he said.

He has further stated that the protection of the said temple was taken over by Archaeology Department in the year 1989. 

Earlier, the priest of the temple had submitted an application to the Hon’ble Court in this behalf, which was sent to the Deputy Commissioner, Lahaul-Spiti for appropriate action in the matter, but repairs are yet to be carried out in the said temple.

During the course of hearing Vandana Misra, the Amicus Curiae, produced several photographs of the temple which showed that the temple is in a dilapidated condition.

The roof of the temple is temporarily supported by the use of wooden planks, the walls on all sides have cracks. The temple is declared a protected monument by respondent ASI.

Going through the status report, filed on the behalf of the ASI, the Court found the explanation given by the ASI wholly unsatisfactory and the Court observed that the pace at which the respondents are proceeding would surely endanger the very existence of the structure.

The case has been fixed for May 13 to see further progress in the matter.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.