Fatehpur district is home to many stunning temples dating back to the ancient times. A sizeable number of brick temples, perhaps some of the earliest ever built are seen in various pockets of this region. Though most have been relegated to obscurity, credit must be given to the villagers for putting in the time, money and effort to repair these temples and continually offer prayers on auspicious occasions.
A pair of these lesser-known architectural gems is found in Sarahan Buzurg village. As one enters the temple complex that has been immaculately maintained by the villagers, one will see a centuries-old Hanuman shrine on the right corner of the premises. The fragments of the original structure are still visible though the shikhara has fallen off and replaced with a basic structure.
The two ancient brick temples sit majestically on a low plinth. Though both temples have been built on the same plan, over time the temple dedicated to Behrai Mata has been extensively renovated and now includes a closed verandah and an open courtyard where a homa kundam has been placed. The idol of Behrai Mata in the sanctum sanctorum bears marks of great antiquity and is revered by all.
The entire brick structure has been reinforced and modifications to strengthen the shikhara are visible from inside. The external facades of this temple are adorned with exquisite repetitive architectural patterns, niches that are now bereft of sculptures and Hindu iconography typical of the late 8th century. The curvilinear shikhara and other embellishments have fallen off.
The other temple is square in plan and has an idol of what appears to be Lord Maheshwara and Devi Mata in the sanctum sanctorum. This temple has also been renovated though the repetitive motifs and patterns on the external facades still exude the old grandeur and charm of the olden times. The shikhara of this temple also has been lost along with the other intricate decorative elements.
The brick mouldings in the lower part of both temples have been damaged. There is very little information about when this temple was built and by whom but locals opine it was built most likely by either the Guptas or the Pratiharas.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)