It is perhaps not known to many that Kanpur Nagar district is a treasure trove of ancient brick temples dating back to the Dwapura Yuga. Though tourists head straight for Bhitargaon and Nibiya Khera, there are several other brick temples that have managed to remain hidden for centuries and have only recently caught the interest of archaeologists and historians.
One among them is the ancient brick temple of Auliyeshwar Mahadev on the bank of the Rind River in the sleepy village of Karchulipur (Kanchilipur). The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has categorically stated on the basis of radiocarbon dating of the bricks that this temple was established during the time of the Mahabharat.
Locals are unable to offer much information on when this temple was built and by whom but they emphatically declare that Chiranjeevi Ashwathama, son of Guru Dronacharya is the first bhakta to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. It is a common occurrence to find fresh flowers, water, fruits and rice on the Shiva Linga when the doors are opened in the morning!
It has been said that a cowherd who used to bring his cow here to graze observed that the cow used to give milk on the karauli plant every time. He wondered what lay beneath and decided to dig under the plant. After digging for a while, he found much to his surprise a magnificent Shiva Linga that bore marks of great antiquity. The Shiva Linga was then consecrated in the temple and has since been known as Avaleshwar Mahadev.
The temple is very similar in plan to the Bhitargaon Brick Temple. Some historians opine that this structure was built over the original brick temple by the Guptas and renovated again in the 10th century. Some of the sculptures, pillars and architectural features indicate that a local ruler made some changes to the façade between the 11th to 12th century.
This temple is a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)