VADODARA: It’s Gujarat’s one of the oldest Lord Ganesh temples and perhaps the only one made completely out of wood. The carvings on its wooden pillars are a must-watch apart from the fountain kept right in the front of lord’s idol.
However, the 161-year-old Dhundiraj Ganpati Mandir at city’s Wadi area is struggling to maintain its age-old existence and is crying for attention. The temple is a mark of not only the religious bend that eminent people had during the regime of Sayajirao Gaekwad II, but also of their love for art. Gopalrao Mairal, who was a diwan during the rule of Gaekwad, constructed the two-storeyed temple.
Gopalrao, a Ganesh devotee, designed the temple that has Maharashtrian and Gujarati styles of architecture. “This temple is like a monument and we are trying our best to preserve it. Not many know about its architectural importance. It’s a heritage structure and the government should protect it,” said Dr Ashutosh Mairal, whose family-run trust is maintaining the temple.
“The Mairal family has been preserving the sanctity and structure of the temple over last one-and-a-half century. We have succeeded in maintaining the temple till date, but who will do it in future? We want the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take up its preservation and declare it as a heritage structure,” said Mairal, who heads the textile chemistry department at M S University.
The temple constructed by labourers brought in especially from Hyderabad, Rajasthan and Mumbai is spread over 44,000 sq feet. Made from original teakwood, it stands on 44 pillars of 16 inch diametre each. The ‘mushak’, which is normally placed near Ganesh’s feet in temples, has been placed outside the temple facing towards the idol. The idol of Ganesh, flanked by two wives — Riddhi and Siddhi — and two sons — Laabh and Laksh — can be seen from between the two ears of mushak.
Gopalanand Swami of Swaminarayan Sect had performed ‘havan’ to sanctify the temple after it was constructed. “ASI is the right body to preserve such monuments as it has better resources. The structure will help our future generation to know about our ancient art and culture,” Mairal added.