Search for the 8th century long lost temple
The Tamreswari Temple, also known as Kesaikhaiti Temple at Sadiya in Tinsukia district is as old as the historic Kamakhya Temple.
Hardly mentioned in details in literature, the temple would have been an equally ‘most thronged temple’ like the Kamakhya Temple if it would not have gone underneath the ground during the 1950 Assam earthquake. Presently, even the exact location is also unknown.
To trace the history of the temple and recover the ruins, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) Guwahati Circle has launched a ‘search operation’ at Sadiya.
“Goddess Kali used to be worshipped in the temple and was built in and around 8th to 12th century. The Kamakhya Temple was built around the 7th century. As per records, the Tamreswari Temple was initially built of stone and the idol was made of copper. Later the Koch rulers rebuilt the temple with bricks. The temple used to be humming with devotees during that period just like today’s Kamakhya Temple,” said Milan Kumar Chauley, superintending archeologist, ASI Guwahati Circle.
He added, “The temple started to suffer damages since 1920. But during the 1950 earthquake in Assam, the river changed its way and the temple went underneath the ground. The people living in the nearby areas relocated the cooper idol from the temple to another place but the temple couldn’t be saved. The family of the priest left the temple in the 19th century itself for reasons unknown.”
Chauley further shared that from ‘historical point of view’ the Tamreswari Temple is of ‘great significance’ and also ‘an important monument of the State’. But lack of photographs and literature is making the department’s job tough to bring back the ruins of the past.
“We don’t find much reference about this temple in the textbooks. People should be made aware regarding such rich heritages of the region. We are trying to gather more information about this temple, taking the help of the glass-negatives of the many decades-old photographs. Earlier in 80s and 90s, expeditions were undertaken, but nothing noteworthy was found. As only the ruins remain now, we don’t hope about finding a complete structure of the temple, but we trying to find more information about it,”