Pratihara shrine found in MP

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Panna, MP, Feb 28 (UNI) Remnants of a Pratihara-era Shiva shrine, older than Khajuraho's world-renowned Chandela temples, were unearthed east of this district's Madla village, about 20 km from here, and the Archaeology Department has sent a conservation-related proposal to the state government.

Archaeologists said that it was the first Pratihara shrine found recently and identified in the district and the construction style made it appear that it belonged to the 8th-9th century AD. When it comes to antiquity, Panna is a very rich district as it boasts of Buddhist, Jain, Gupta, Rajput and medieval era sculpture.

Prehistoric murals are found in the Brihaspati Kund and Varaha caves.

The Shiva shrine's remnants were found near the Ken river and 28 km from Khajuraho. On a panel above the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum, two-armed Shiva -- the three-eyed god of the Hindu pantheon -- is depicted in yogic posture atop a lotus pedestal.

The 'navagraha' (nine planets) are depicted to his upper left while Veerbhadra and the elephant-headed Ganesh adorn the right. On either extreme, apsaras gaze into mirrors. A broken Nandi lies near the temple whose upper part is damaged.

''The shrine's conservation is imperative,'' said Archaeology Department Senior Guide Bhavani Shankar Tiwari.

The Pratihara dynasty ruled a sizeable kingdom in northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries.

UNI XC-KV-AC 1818

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