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Village in Rajasthan preserves historic temple

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Deteriorating temple in Jolpa prior to restoration plan. Photo: IANS
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By Bhavana Akella

In Rajasthan’s stark desert hinterland, Jolpa, a small village inhabited by a poor farming community, has been the home to a uniquely architectured historic temple for more than 800 years. It was only when their iconic temple began to deteriorate that the Jolpa people came together to value its history.

The temple, located in Jhalawar district, is believed to have been constructed in 1356 A.D. by a satrap of the Gagron kingdom, Chandra Bhan Singh Khichi Chauhan.

The architecture of this temple, where the deity Jalpa Chandra Bhan has been worshipped for centuries, has a very traditional construct. With no mortar or limestone, the structure has interlocked stones on the fulcrum principle – adding to symmetry and beauty.

The place grew popular as not just a religious center but as a hub for cultural activities.

As the temple is left on its own to battle extreme weather conditions for over three decades, deterioration begins, making the villagers desperate to restore it. Their pleas to the local sarpanch, member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and others have proved futile.

Restoration in progress. Photo: IANS
Restoration in progress. Photo: IANS

“The temple stood as a unique element about the village. I called the villagers for a meeting and challenged them that only they can save their temple. That is when this small farming community set its steps to pool in nearly 11 lakh rupees,” Thakur Ranvir Singh, the state convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), told IANS on phone.

All the villagers have been selling their farm products and raising money to preserve the temple, the name of which stood synonymous with the identity of the whole village. With the villagers’ desire to keep the restoration process close to the classical form that it was constructed in, classical craftsmen have been deployed to task.

Singh lamented that in the current “state controlled system where priority is industrialization, there is gross negligence in the upkeep of heritage and identities.”

He added that if history has to be preserved in any corner of the world, “people must become their own custodians and not rely solely upon the governments.”

“There can be no better example of what people’s participation, to restore their village’s personality and pride, can accomplish,” the culture preservation expert said.

The villagers have a new-found enthusiasm about their community and have formed a restoration committee by themselves to undertake the operations, Singh said.

With INTACH’s support extended, the restoration operations in Jolpa are under way and the villagers hope it will soon bring the place back to its classical form. (IANS)

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Rahul Gandhi Hints Rajasthan CM Issue Sorted

Pilot reportedly has put up a strong claim to the post on the ground that he had galvanised the party after the defeat in 2013, when he was appointed the state party chief

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Rahul Gandhi
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In a sign that the leadership question in Rajasthan has been settled, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday posted his photograph with Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, both contenders for the Chief Minister’s post, as party sources hinted that Gehlot could be the party’s choice for the top post.

The photograph of the smiling leaders had a caption “United Colours of Rajasthan!”, without giving any hint as to who will be the Chief Minister. An official announcement is expected in the evening.

Gandhi’s tweet capped hectic consultations with Gehlot, who appears set to return as Chief Minister in Rajasthan, and state Congress chief Sachin Pilot, who put up his claim strongly.

Gehlot, a two-time Chief Minister, and Pilot reached Gandhi’s residence within minutes of each other on Friday. A decision is expected to be announced on Friday.

Ahead of the meeting, Gehlot took a veiled dig at Pilot saying that the party unit had already left the decision on Gandhi and it was not the time to express individual choices.

“We have given the duty to the High Command. Let it decide who is to be given what responsibility. If I say my choice is this, it is not time for that. The time is to strengthen the Congress, see how its graph goes up.

“If Congress is strong, everyone will be empowered and we prove to be useful in meeting the objectives of the 2019 elections. This alone should be our thinking,” Gehlot said.

He said a resolution had been passed by newly elected MLAs in Rajasthan authorising the High Command to take a decision.

“Whether it is Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh, once a resolution is passed, the decision of the Congress President should be acceptable to all. This is what our workres, MLAs and people expect,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi becomes the president of Congress as mother Sonia Gandhi Steps Down
Rahul hints Rajasthan CM issue settled.

He said winning elections in the three Hindi heartland states was a big achievement and that it all started with a strong performance of the Congress in Gujarat under Gandhi’s leadership.

“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (BJP President) Amit Shah have lost their aura. They have not been able to recover due to which we won elections in the three states,” he said.

Gehlot had played an active role in formulating the party’s campaign strategy in Gujarat.

Both Pilot and Gehlot had separate meetings with Gandhi on Thursday.

The meetings came hours after the leadership issue was settled in Madhya Pradesh, with Gandhi tweeting his picture with Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who were both chief ministerial aspirants.

The picture — akin to the one on Friday — carried the line “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time – Leo Tolstoy.”

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Party sources said Rahul Gandhi was keen to give a similar message for Rajasthan as well.

Both in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the Congress missed the majority mark by two seats and is now dependent on external legislative support.

Pilot, who stayed put in Delhi on Thursday, appealed to party workers to maintain peace and that he would welcome any decision taken by the party.

Pilot reportedly has put up a strong claim to the post on the ground that he had galvanised the party after the defeat in 2013, when he was appointed the state party chief. (IANS)