The Riddle of Madku Dweep: Restoration/Conservation/Reconstruction

in Module
Published on: 08 August 2019

Madku Dweep is an island on the Shivanath river in the Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh. Besides its popularity as a picturesque river island, Madku Dweep is also known for nineteen stone monuments from the 11th century, Kalachuri period. The site was discovered in the 20th century, followed by extensive excavation that unearthed sculptures and debris of ancient stone temples. The excavation provided no clue in to the spatial configuration of the site or, the styles of the temples whose remains were found. The aspiration to redefine Madku Dweep led to extensive re-building activity in the recent past, which included reconstruction of nineteen temples from the excavated temple remains, in addition to the construction of new shrines- Shiva, Harihara (Jalahari), Radha-Krishna and Rishi Mandku, some of which incorporated excavated material in their construction. 

The new site constitutes of nineteen reconstructed temples standing close to each other in a straight line, under an asbestos sheet and five new shrines scattered on its east. Today the site is a holy place more than a historical site created and named after Saint Madku. The intervention of the state Archaeology Department in terms of imposing architectural uniformity redefined the heritage, history and culture of Mandku Dweep. 

This module is a documentation of the site of Madku Dweep with an emphasis on its architectural heritage. Through its various elements the module intends to explore the concept of heritage management to understand the re-building of this old site. 


This content has been created as part of a project commissioned by the Directorate of Culture and archaeology, Government of Chhattisgarh to document the cultural and natural heritage of the state of Chhattisgarh.