ALMORA: A group of small temples dating back to 9th century AD has been found in Kushgaon village in Chaukhutia block, about 90 km away from here.

A committee of nearby Bakremundeshwar temple started digging for construction of a dharmashala in its premises a month ago. When the site was dug to about four-feet, a small temple of an unusual structure made of stones was discovered. Gradually, seven more temples that were nearly four-feet high were also found in the premises. All temples have 'shivlingas'(representation of Hindu deity Shiva) that local residents believe are dated back to the era of Pandavas. However, the Archeological Survey of India rejected the claims of the residents.

"The temples, according to traditions of the architecture, could be constructed between 9th and 11th century. According to the first impression, the temples were constructed during Katyuri dysnasty. Some of the temples don't have roofs, but shivalingas inside the temples are still intact. These temples could be a part of a large group of temples that were buried, perhaps, by debris of landslide long back. There could be more large temples in the group, whose foundation may have been destroyed by roots of the tree. This is a common phenomenon with old architecture in Uttarakhand," said Chandra Singh Chauhan, district officer of Archeological Survey of India.

Chauhan said that an initial survey report has already been sent to its Dehradun office for conservation procedures of the architecture.

"For the time being, the place would be left as it is, and any construction within 100m range is not permitted anymore," he said.