Islamabad-An ancient Hindu temple that was submerged in a catastrophic flood 200 years ago has re-emerged for the first time, as lower water levels reveal its sunken spire. The 500-year-old monument to an avatar of the god Vishnu once stood proudly on the banks of the Mahanadi river in Odisha, eastern India, and provided a place of worship for seven nearby villages. But after torrential floods in the 1800s the river changed course, forcing villagers to abandon the temple and their homes as they disappeared beneath the swirling rapids.

Its location was lost for generations, with repeated searches by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) proving futile. This week, however, the temple re-emerged from the river as the Mahanadi’s water level dropped low enough to reveal the spire once again.