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Paperhut Project

Prayer Meet

             "Now a footnote to the more famed 
             passages of Kumaon,it’s a little 
             sacred text in itself."
At first sight, Dwarahat in Uttarakhand’s Almora district appears to be like any other sleepy mountain town you’ve seen. The slopes are covered with cedar and limora trees, and well-fed monkeys leap about the treetops, roads and roofs. All is quiet in the cold, crisp air, but for the occasional screeching of truck brakes in the distance. In the centre of the town, roller-coaster roads snake up and down around a messy market, at the centre of which, plump dogs wait eagerly outside a meat shop.
Wander a little distance away from the bustle, up a sandy trail past the backyards of houses, and you’ll see something quite different: clusters of ancient temples with exquisite carved friezes dating back to between the 8th and 11th centuries. Some have collapsed, and the giant carved stone blocks threaten to roll to the ground. Others have towering shikharas frequented solely by bats. Though they’ve been declared protected monuments by the ASI, they’re all abandoned, appreciated solely by the cows tethered nearby and village dwellers climbing past to their homes.

Outlook January 14, 2008 Volume XLVIII, No.2
Dwarahat offtrack
By Shruti Ravindran in Uttarakhand