Jammu, Oct 17: Front portion of the 150 year-old North India’s biggest ancient Ranbireshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and managed by Jammu and Kashmir’s Royal Dogra Family owned Dharmarth Trust, collapsed here on Tuesday due to lightning, a temple official said.
The incident prompted the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) to plan a dimension stability audit of all ancient religious places in the city.
Officials said that at around 9:30 am, lightning struck the old temple amid rains in which Veranda of second floor of complex collapsed
Former Minister and member of Royal Dogra family Ajatshatru Singh, who is one of the trustees of Dharmarth Trust said that the old structure is made of old bricks which collapsed following the rains. He said that will construct a more magnificent temple at the site.
“By the grace of the lord of Shiva, there was no loss of life, and all the idols in the temple are also intact,” Singh added.
Commandant, Zahid Manhas, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) said, “We had received information (about collapse) around 9:40 am and our team rushed to the spot after that.” There is no report of any casualties or traces of anyone being trapped inside.”
He also informed that the verandah of the temple collapsed in the incident. On being asked about the cause of the incident, the SDRF Commandant said that the cause of the incident could be rain as well but the temple itself is around 150 years old “so we cannot state the exact cause of the incident.”
Meanwhile, the incident prompted the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) to conduct a dimension stability audit of all ancient religious places in the city, which housed hundreds of small and big temples, which aged over 100 years.
JMC mayor Rajinder Sharma said, “There is always an issue of stability of dimensions of buildings. We will conduct a dimension stability audit of all of the religious places in Jammu.”
He said instructions have been given to the JMC commissioner to conduct the audit of all temples, mosques, gurdwaras, churches and other religious places, particularly which are old.
The Ranbireshwar temple is located on Shalimar Road near the new secretariat.
The largest north Indian temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was built back in 1883 by Dogra Dynasty Maharaja Ranbir Singh.
The temple is divided into two distinct halls—decorated with images of the Ganesha and Kartikeya respectively—and the highlight here is the mammoth 8-ft-tall Shiva lingam (made from black marble) looming high in the central sanctum of the temple. In addition to that, the Ranbireshwar Temple has an additional 12 lingams (carved out of crystal) rising between 15-38 cm in height.