The Archaeological Survey of India is working on a preliminary roadmap to keep sand safe from the interiors of. to remove Odisha’s temple of the sunwhich was replenished by the British 118 years ago to keep it from collapsing.
A formal decision on this is still pending. But a recent presentation by the head of the ASI (Bhubaneswar Circle), Arun Malik, spoke of possible approaches to clearing the sand from the temple’s sealed meeting hall known as Jagamohan. The presentation was given as part of a three day workshop organized by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar.
The idea was presented in February 2020 at the end of a two-day national conference on the preservation of the sun temple. The then trade union culture minister Prahlad Singh Patel had asked ASI to prepare a report on the modalities of the sand removal.
On this basis, ASI formed a committee of four to examine the monument and come up with a safe method of removal.
The need to remove the sand was recognized after a study warned of possible damage from the settling of the sand – resulting in a 5 meter gap between the sand layer and the structure.
This report was presented in 2019. CBRI had suggested filling the 17-foot gap with fresh sand. Alternatively, she had suggested removing all of the sand and properly restoring the structure. The CBRI report found that despite the loophole, the structure is still stable.
ASI, the World Heritage Manager, is supported by IIT Madras.
According to the preliminary proposal, a window will be cut out on the west side of Jagamohan in the first phase. The 6×6 foot window will be created near an existing British-era opening to provide access to the interior of the monument.
The new access helps the authorities to plan a future course of action by inspecting and documenting the walls and interiors.
Apart from that, another opening will be made at the bottom of the Antarala (Inner Sanctuary) for the same purpose, the presentation says.
A working platform is planned above the Holy of Holies. The windows will also help officers understand the masonry of the wall, the presentation said.
After these steps are officially completed, tenders for the excavation process will be published.
The Kalingan Temple from the 13th century, built by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty between 1238 and 1250 AD.
The Jagamohan is the only building that is now completely intact.
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