Maharaja Kumar Vishvaraj Singh Mewar, son of Maharaja Mahendra Singh Mewar has addressed a letter to the Devasthan Minister of the Government of Rajasthan and to the Devasthan Commissioner of Udaipur highlighting concern on the lack of maintenance at the Jagdish Mandir, the biggest temple in Udaipur.
Jagdish Mandir is one of oldest heritage sites of Udaipur and now the temple faces maintenance issues, the responsibility of which lies with the Devasthan Department, a unit of the Devasthan Ministry of the Government of Rajasthan.
The Jagdish Mandir was constructed in the Seventeenth century under the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh. During the Mughal reign of Aurangzeb, the Jagdish Mandir structure was partially damaged, but later renovated by Maharana Sangram Singh.
UdaipurTimes team visited the Jagdish Mandir and interacted with Hukm Raj, the Head Priest of Jagdish Mandir, to get first-hand information on the maintenance and upkeep issues being faced by the stakeholders.
The Head Priest was unsettled with the cold response from the Devasthan Department at Udaipur on the maintenance and upkeep of this heritage property, which is more than 300 years old and needs renovation, lest the structure faces further deterioration.
Hukm Raj took the team around the temple premises and showed them the areas where plants have begun to grow from the crevices in the stone structure. It is not that the plants are growing through the stone walls. This has been happening for long, and each time a request is made to the department, a person comes along, treats the area with acid and that temporary cure has been happening for the last many years. He further said that the stones in the structure and some stone artefacts are also falling down due to this as well as the seeping of water through the walls. This is dangerous as one never knows which part of the stone structure will cave in.
“Adhikari yahaan aa kar dekhte tak nahi hain ki Mandir mein kis tarah ki pareshani ho rahi hai. Aakhir Devasthan Vibhaag ka itna paisa jaata kahaan hai? Humari guzarish hai ki Devasthan VIbhaag ko ek committee bana kar Mandir ki jald se jald marammat karvaein. Yadi Vibhaag is zImmedari se peece hhatna hai tau hum PradhanMantri aur MukhyaMantri ko patr likhkar aagah kagrenge.” – Hukm Raj, Head Priest of Jagdish Mandir, Udaipur
A throng of devotees and tourists, both local and foreign, visit the temple and this is a dangerous state of affairs, as the falling stones could cause hurt, which could also be fatal, said the Head Priest. He went on to add that multiple requests had been made to the Devasthan Department, which most of the time falls on deaf ears.
On 21 December, a letter from the office of Maharaja Kumar Vishvaraj Singh was sent to the Devasthan Minister, Shakuntala Rawat as well as to the Devasthan Commissioner in Udaipur, Karan Singh.
In the letter, Maharaja Kumar Vishvaraj Singh has specifically mentioned the details of the deteriorating condition of the temple, the upkeep and maintenance of which, falls under the domain of Devasthan Department.
“The structure had been damaged at the time of Aurangzeb and was repaired by Maharana Sangram Singhji of Mewar in the 18th century. After the damage done during the reign of Aurangzeb, it is now that the structure is showing chinks in its armour. The responsibility for this negligence now falls on the Devasthan Department” - Maharaja Kumar Vishvaraj Singh Mewar.
Addressing the problem, the letter says that plants have taken root and begun to grow through the stone structure of the temple, and parts of the external structure are breaking off with rain water leaking into the walls of the temple. This is not only damaging the centuries old structure, but is also a hazard for visitors to and occupants of the temple, as the falling bits could cause hurt. Vishvaraj Singh has requested the authorities to look into the matter and take cognizance of the need for renovation and upkeep and asked for corrective action by the Ministry and department.