Archaeologists dig out 'India's oldest temple' quest in Madhya Pradesh

The excavation process is currently in progress at Nachne village in Madhya Pradesh, with experts focusing their attention on two specific mounds.

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The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has embarked on an excavation project in Madhya Pradesh, aiming to uncover what could potentially be India's oldest temple. The excavation site is located in Nachne village, where experts have identified two mounds as focal points for their dig. 

These mounds are situated just 30 meters away from two ancient temples - a Parvati temple dating back to the Gupta era and the Chaumukhi temple built by the Kalachuri Dynasty.

Shiva Kant Bajpayee, the superintending archaeologist of ASI's Jabalpur circle, shared insights into the excavation, stating, "We are carrying out this excavation with the objective of finding the oldest temple in India." 

He further mentioned that the excavation commenced on March 4 and is anticipated to span over 3 to 4 months until completion.

Bajpayee highlighted that the oldest known temples in India trace back to the Gupta era (4th to early 6th century CE). He noted that Madhya Pradesh houses a significant number of early temples, including Temple No. 17 in Sanchi, the Nachne Parvati temple, Tigwa's Vishnu Temple, and Bhumara's Shiva Temple. 

However, the excavation team's ultimate goal is to uncover pre-Gupta-era temples at the Nachne village site.

In case the desired findings are not obtained at the current excavation site, Bajpayee mentioned plans to expand exploration efforts within the vicinity. He expressed, "If we are not able to find it here, we will continue our exploration in the area as it cannot be that only Gupta-era temples exist. There can be temples older than that."

According to reports from The Times of India, the excavation site comprises eight archaeological mounds, with the team securing permission to excavate two of these mounds. Both mounds boast a height of nearly two meters and cover an area of approximately 1000 square meters, providing ample ground for the excavation team's meticulous work.