Nageshwar Temple is 700 year old temple complex listed under state Archaeological Survey of India. The temple was under a state of disrepair.The entire premises has been restored to its original a state.
Historical Importance and Significance
Nageshwar Temple is one of the oldest temples of Pune, Maharashtra. It has been there since the times of Sant Dynaneshwar and Tukaram. It is a general belief that there was once a reservoir near the temple.It is said that the water of this reservoir could cure leprosy.
The main shrine has the typical Yadava structure with a stone roof.Several renovations and additions have been made the temple over the years. The major one being in Peshwa period.The Sabhamandap is built in the Peshwa period by a moneylender Aba Shelukar.
The temple is situated in the densely built residential area. There are several more temples and temple complexes of varying importance in the near vicinity. The Precinct is located to the Nagzari Once a source of water for the earlier settlements of the erstwhile Pune.
The temple complex consists of Mahadwar, Main temple , surrounding shrines and two light towers.There are devkoshtas (aedicule's) on the temple walls with idols of deities placed inside. There is also a Nandi idol in the precincts of the temple (as also in the sabhamandap) along with smaller Shivalingas.There are also idols of other deities like Shani Maharaj ,Ganesha etc The temple premises have minor shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu , Lord Hanumana and Lord Dattatreya.The temple complex is therefore a Cluster of various temples.
All these together along with the peaceful ambience gives the entire temple complex a significant value.The temple is now surrounded with an urban fabric but still stands out with it’s unique values. It is declared as a protected monument by State ASI. Hence there was a need to conserve this cultural property by restoration, retrofitting etc.
Conservation Strategy and Process followed:
Proper recording of prime building and the entire precinct were carried out to record all existing details. Non destructive testing of all structural members were carried out to understand the location and degree of deterioration in order to identify the structural problems affecting the longevity of the structure.
Alternatives available for proposed action through a combination of repairs, redesign were examined each of the intervention areas. Finalization of selected options to prepare a flexible and phased program of implementation was decided as the functioning of the Temple with all its rituals was not stopped during the period of execution.
The first step towards the Conservation effort started with stopping further deterioration. This included removing vegetation growth on the structure and peripheral walls. The second step was to take action to reconstruct areas which were in an unsafe and dilapidated condition. These included the side structures, Shikhara of the main temple and adjacent smaller shrines. The sabhamandap of the main temple had tilted due to deterioration in the structural members and lack of proper anchoring. The same was pulled and anchored in position with additional structural arrangement. The wooden framed structure of the main temple was strengthened and deteriorated wooden sections were replaced.
The next step was to reinstate areas which had undesired interventions by way of extra construction, painting over original walls etc to its original status, excavating the filled up kund, steel grills and fabricated doors etc. There were several examples of wall paintings, wood carvings and iconography which had been covered up or badly damaged. The same have been reinstated in its original state using same material. The wooden false ceiling which was damaged was reinstated using original material itself.
The last phase of the exercise was to look at the entire precinct around the temple complex and treat the same by way of Signage, lighting, street furniture, public seating spaces, public convenience etc to further enhance the area.