SUKKUR: As the Sukkur Barrage continues to withstand the weight of flash floods that now pose a threat to the 78-year-old structure, another historic monument faces irreparable damage by the relentless torrents.
It is feared that the 150-year-old Sadhu Bela temple, which is built on an island in the Indus River, may completely collapse if the barrages are unable to contain the increasing level of water.
On Sunday afternoon, water forced its way through a 20-feet-wide portion of the Hindu temple’s outer wall and attacked the monument as it had back during the floods of 1976. However, despite the fact that water gushed inside the temple at an alarmingly rapid pace, Sukkur Hindu Panchayat president Eshwar Lal said that everything was “safe and sound” and that the one-foot-deep pool of water inside the building posed no threat to the structure itself.
Even when the Rangers arrived on a boat to rescue four caretakers of the temple, the Hindu community felt assured that the temple would survive the floods unharmed.
“Nothing will happen to the temple. The Sukkur Barrage could collapse, but the temple will still remain intact,” said an optimist Mukhi Sundar Das, the chief of the Hindu community in the area.
Dilip Kumar, a member of the community said that he was very young when the floods had last hit the area but had heard his family pray for the temple. Their pooja path and prathna had come true then, said Kumar, who added that he was fairly confident that the Sadhu Bela temple, strengthened by the prayers of the Hindu community, would survive the floods yet again.
By late Sunday evening, however, the outer wall of the temple had collapsed while the shrine was half submerged underwater. The stairs to the temple - which are about seven-and-a-half feet above the water level in normal circumstances - were no longer visible while the temple itself, which is approximately twelve-and-a-half feet above the island, was slowly disappearing under the increasing water level.
The Sadhu Bela temple is likely to be besieged with water over the next 24 hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2010.
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