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Relocation of Krishnarajasagar Venugopalaswamy Temple

This temple appears and disappears every year. It is the act of nature which makes this event occur every year at Krishnarajasagar. The temple, in the Hoysala style of architecture, remains submerged in the waters almost the whole year. But, when the waters begin to recede as the summer starts, the architectural beauty begins to show up its existence within the Cauvery waters. At the peak of summer of April-May, when the water table at the reservoir goes below 65 feet level, the Venugopalaswamy Temple shows up fully, attracting people of adjacent villages and from Mysore City. As the monsoon rains pick by June-July, the temple again goes under water again as the Cauvery brings floods into the reservoir from the catchment areas of Kodagu (Coorg) district.

There were a couple of temples at Kannambadi village, about a dozen miles from Mysore, when Sir M.Visvesvaraya planned the Krishnarajasagar reservoir, as the Chief Engineer of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV in 1909. When the project was completed across a lake there by 1930, three major temples of the Kannambadi village submerged in the reservoir waters. While one was an Ishwara Temple, the other major one was the Venugopalaswamy Temple. The third one was a small one dedicated to a local deity. However, before the submersion, the Maharaja built a modern village near the reservoir, calling it New Kannambadi.

The main idol of Venugopalaswamy, Lord Krishna playing on flute as a cow-herd, was also shifted to a new temple premises in the rehabilitated village. The Ishwara temple is deep inside the waters and visible only when the waters recede rarely to the lowest level of 35 feet. The 700-year-old Venugopalaswamy Temple, however, has begin to show up almost every year of recent, with inadequate rainfall and release of more waters to down below lands. With deficit rainfall during the last two years, the Venugopalaswamy Temple has become accessible to the curious visitors.

Seeing the architectural beauty of the temple, a private foundation has taken up the task of relocating the temple to the New Kannambadi village. The Khoday Foundation earlier planned to shift the temple and rebuild it in Mysore. But, bowing to the wishes of the local villagers, the Foundation has now decided to relocate it at the New Kannambadi Village. More than 200 workers and machines have begun removing the carved stones and pillars of the temple, after marking each one of them. The work began last week, about half a dozen temple construction experts from Tamil Nadu helping in the operation, so that the temple could be rebuilt in the same shape and design as it exists now on the shore of the reservoir. The temple design has been computerized and each stone is identified with numbers for relocating them in the same architectural style later.

It will take about six weeks to shift the temple stones to the new four-acre site at the village. Its rebuilding would take at least a year. The dismantling of the temple has to be completed at soon as possible, well before the monsoon sets in bringing in water to the Krishnarajasagar reservoir. Hence, round the clock work is in progress at the Cauvery shore, the other end of the dam.

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