The ancient Kiradu temples of Barmer district

This article is about Kiradu temples which are situated in Barmer district. The temples are more than thousand years old and are exquisite piece of art. Sadly, the place is rather unknown due to its location and limited interest of authorities, which is slowly taking toll on it.

We Indians are often accused of not taking care of our historical places like other countries having history of many thousand years. It is true to some extent as there are many significant historical spots in India which, in absence of proper care by the govt. and people too, are getting disintegrated. One such place is the ruins of a small village called Kiradu. Kiradu is a historical place of ancient artistic artwork situated at a distance of 35 km away from Barmer. The place is almost thousand years old and was known as Kirat Koop in 12th century. The village is in ruins like situation today and a lot of artwork has been lost due to time and absence of proper care. The place is popular due to different temples with beautiful artwork. There are 5 big temples here, biggest being the temple of Lord Someshwar. There is fabulous stone work all around the temple. There are pictures graved on stones depicting different events of Lord Krishna's life like Bal Krishna Leela, Gordhan Parbat, Putna Vadh etc. On the south side of the temple many ancient incidents from Hindu mythology have been drawn like samudra manthan. Ramayan's different chapters have also been drawn on the stones. Sadly, the temple doesn't have a roof anymore now but 44 pillars which supported it are still there. The pillars too are a beautiful piece of art and it can be imagined that the roof of the temple would have been exquisite. There is beautiful artistry on the pillars showing men and women. There is a small Shivalay nearby where Ramayan's scenes like Lord Hanuman bringing sanjivani booti and Mahabharat's scene of Bhishma Pitamah lying on the bed of arrows have been very elegantly drawn.

2 temples at some distance are dedicated to Hindu trinity Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. These temples have beautiful artwork with dome. Fifth temple is a Vaishnav temple, which used to be known as Toranya temple. Pillars of this temple consist of various images of women in different poses like dancing, blushing, taking care of a child etc. There is also an idol of Lord Ganesh eating modak. In fact, there are many images of Lord Ganesh throughout Kiradu. There is also a small step-well in the place surrounded by steps in all the directions. It is a traditional step-well which has been rendered useless now.

Kiradu has a story associated with it. It is said that the village was once densely populated. A sage came to the village and left his disciple behind. Before leaving he asked the villagers to take care of the disciple. But the villagers, other than a potter's wife, didn't fulfill their promise. The sage returned some time later and found how people betrayed his trust. He then cursed the whole village which led to its destruction. The place today, in fact, isn't in a very good shape, perhaps due to its location too. It needs attention from the govt. as well the local people so that it can be developed as a tourist spot and place to study for the students of architecture.

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