MUNDESHWARI BHAWANI TEMPLE
Mundeshwari Bhawani temple situated on an isolated hill of Kaimur range with its unique historical, archaeological, religious and cultural features has become one of the focal points of state tourism these days.
The tourism department has announced to celebrate Mundeshwari Mahotsava on April 7 and 8 of each year to mark the importance of the ancient shrine.
Located atop Pawanra (original Prawara) hill on the height of 182.8 meters at a distance of 12km from Kaimur district headquarters Bhabua, the temple with earliest specimen of nagara style of temple architecture has been declared the oldest Hindu temple of the country by the scholars in a national seminar organized by Bihar State Religious Trust Board at Patna in the year 2008.
The sculptures decorative figures, carvings and fragment scattered around hillock are classic example of Gupta style and indicate that the place was once a cultural centre of great importance and magnitude.
The temple is unique with its octagonal plan, bold masonry and beautiful carvings. There is some fine latticed stone work on the northern window and the temple door facing the porch, is a fine specimen of architecture with various figures of dancers and musicians.
The chaitya windows, kirtimukhas and lotus medallions etc show the clear influence nagara style. The full size idol of goddess Mundeshwari, installed in the eastern sub chamber of the temple, has a great impact on devotees.
A number of statues and rock carved figures on the eastern slope of the hill, reveal that the place was once the site of a cluster of temples and educational institutions and Mundeshwari Bhawani temple was the main shrine.
The temple attracts some 12 to 14 lakh devotees and tourists every year. But a sea of people from India and abroad is seen here in two navaratras, shravana and in magh yajna.
Earlie, its affairs had been managed by the Mundeshwari Paryatan Evam Sanskritik Vikas Parishad headed by the district magistrate. But presently it has been taken over by the BSRTB and a trust committee chaired by the DM is managing the events and started a master plan for developing the place.
The temple is an archaeological survey of India (ASI) protected monument since long but the ASI has not taken sufficient steps for its preservation and renovation. The BSRTB had sent a plan to ASI for renovation of the temple in original shape. The Board was ready to bear its entire cost but the proposal is still pending with the ASI. There is no place in the state amidst such beautiful flora and fauna.