CHENNAI: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and IIT-Madras are planning to jointly conduct a study to implement measures to protect the monuments in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mamallapuram from floods in the wake of the unprecedented rains early this month.
The last study initiated by the ASI, the custodian of the ancient monuments, was conducted in the 1960’s to safeguard Mamallapuram monuments from sea erosion, Archaeological Survey of India sources told Express.
“Our (ASI) officers and IIT-Madras will be conducting this study for the preventive measures that needs to be adopted for protecting (Mamallapuram) monuments from any floods in the future,” an official said. The date for commencing the study is to be finalised, sources added.
A total of 35 monuments and sites in the coastal town including the famed Arjuna’s Penance, Five Rathas, seven Pidaris (Eight stone images on a masonry platform), rock cut sculptures and Shore Temple are protected by the ASI, under the Union Ministry of Culture.
Of these, some were inundated during the recent rains including Arjuna’s Penance and the path leading toward the Shore Temple. However, officials have said that the monuments have not been damaged.
“As per a preliminary report, the monuments in Mamallapuram are safe,” the official said. The official further added that Clive’s House in Fort St. George at Chennai has also not been affected.
The internationally renowned Mamallapuram, situated about 50 kilometres from Chennai, has several heritage monuments with several thousand domestic and foreign tourists visiting every year.
It was a celebrated port city of the Pallavas, who ruled between 6th and 9th century CE. Mamallapuram is one of 32 World Heritage properties in India, and was included in the World Heritage List in 1984.