India’s oldest temple and Shivalinga found in excavations in Madhya Pradesh

Panna (MP) – Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found an oldest temple and Shivalinga during its excavation activity at Nachna-Kuthara village in Panna District. This Shivalinga is believed to be from the 1st or 5th century AD. The excavation, which has been ongoing since 4th March, is being carried out in the mounds around the Chaumukhnath temple.

1. Excavation is going on around 2 of the 8 mounds near the temple premises under the leadership of Archaeologist Dr Shivakant Vajpayee of Jabalpur region of ASI. After 15 days of excavation, a Shivalinga has been found from the mound 33 meters away from the Parvati temple there. Historians refer to it as a Shivalinga from the Gupta period. The investigation is on regarding the creation of Shivalinga. According to Vajpayee, further historical objects are likely to be found in the excavation.

2. Archaeologists believe that the village where this Shivalinga was found must have been a prosperous trading centre during the Gupta period. According to Vajpayee, the first Director General of ASI General Alexander Cunningham discovered 2 old temples in this village. A report in this regard was published in 1885, in which the first Parvati temple and the second Chaturmukh Shiv temple were mentioned. Since then, the place was included in the ASI’s list of places of historical heritage.

Credits : WION

3. Archaeologist Dr Narayan Vyas said that Nachna’s Parvati temple is one of the ancient temples. This temple is two storeyed. It has a pavilion and sanctum sanctorum. Its roof is flat. This shows that the concept of Kalas (conical roof) in the construction of temple had not started till then. The image of Ganga and Yamuna is beautifully carved at the entrance of the temple.

4. Some Puranic stories are also depicted in the temples. They are influenced by the Gupta period. Temple architecture started with cave temples. Caves of the Hinayana Buddhist tradition were built at Ajanta in the 2nd century BC.

5. Dr Vyas said that the remains of an old temple foundation have been found in Besnagar near Vidisha. It is probably made of wood and dates back to the 2nd century BC. There is an eagle pillar here, which the locals call ‘Khamma Baba’.