ASI sets up panel at Jagamohan to examine Konark’s interiors

Konark sun temple is Odisha’s only UNESCO World Heritage site. 
Sun Temple at Konark. (Photo | Express)
Sun Temple at Konark. (Photo | Express)

BHUBANESWAR: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started constructing a working platform on the western side of the Sun temple’s Jagamohan at Konark to explore if sand can be drained out of the closed monument or not. It is Odisha’s only UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The platform will be 14-metre-high from the 4.2 metre-high sculpted pedestal on which Jagamohan stands. The pedestal will help the conservationists reach the pidhas from where they will examine the structural stability of outer stones of Jagamohan for the purpose of drilling a hole. 

“Prior to any kind of drilling on the outer walls (pidha), we need to know if the ageing stones are strong enough to withstand the drilling,” said ASI (Puri circle head) Dibishida Gadnayak. The walls will be conserved and then a small hole drilled to investigate the core condition of the Jagamohan. It was earlier decided that a 6 ft X 5 ft hole will be created manually on the western side of Jagamohan near the first pidha.

Gadnayak added that subsequently new technologies like endoscopy and laser scanning will be used to get a picture of the interiors and also, examine the condition of soil, if it is solid or consolidated or loose. 
A technical core conservation committee comprising members of IIT-Madras, Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), State Archaeology and independent conservationists has been formed to study the entire process. The study reports will be placed before the core committee which will suggest the sand removal process. 

According to a study conducted by CBRI in 2015, the extent of sand inside the Jagamohan is up to 19.8 metre (64.9 ft) from the bottom of the 39.6 metre (130 ft) high monument and the sand has settled by 16 ft from the top of Jagamohan (Amaloka). Some stone dislodgement was also noticed during this study.

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