TIRUPATI: The construction of the Rajagopuram of the Srikalahasti temple, the tallest and the beautifully ornated monumental temple tower, is complete and an Atirudra Yagnam would be held at the temple on January 18.
The 144-feet-tall gopuram with 35 feet high base and 22 storeys was built at a cost of Rs 45 crore. As many as 180 sculptors and 160 masons were involved in the construction. The brick work, patch works and painting was done by Navayuga Engineering and Construction Company.
The older Rajagopuram, built by Vijayanagara king Sri Krishnadevaraya in 1516 AD to commemorate his victory over Gajapathi kingdom, collapsed on May 27, 2010.
It first suffered a huge crack at 8.10 pm and within 26 minutes the whole structure collapsed. The cracks were noticed a week ago and the experts team from IIT Chennai declared the gopuram area a danger zone.
A day before the collapse, 36 families living in the vicinity were evacuated.
Experts said that a thin crack developed 25 years ago had grown into a vertical fissure and ended at the base layer. A bronze statue of Sri Krishnadevaraya, installed in front of the gopuram to commemorate his visit to the temple, too collapsed ironically even as the government celebrated the 500th year of his coronation.
After the collapse, Endowments Commissioner JSV Prasad declared that a new gopuram would be constructed by December, 2011 and even formed a committee with the experts.
The construction was finally taken up by Navayuga Engineering and Construction Company’s chairperson Chintha Visweswar Rao at a cost of Rs 45 crore. Nine gold-plated Kalasams (pitchers) would be set up on the gopuram. They would be six feet tall and of 3 feet in diameter. The earthen platform at the base is still strong and is of Vijayanagara era.