Temple architecture

After 119 years, ASI begins removal of sand from Konark Temple’s ‘Jagamohana’ for conservation

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the world famous Sun Temple premises in Konark on Thursday ahead of the process of sand removal from the temple’s ‘Jagamohana’ (audience hall) by the Archaeological Survey of India. (ASI) for retention purposes.

According to reports, in 1903, the three gates of the Temple of the Sun, including the sanctum sanctorum, were sealed with sand to protect the temple from the weather. In order to preserve Jagamohana, including the sanctum sanctorum and the three gates of the Temple of the Sun, seminars and workshops have been repeatedly held with experts at the temple premises.

But the expert committee’s report and suggestions were repeatedly ignored by ASI officials. However, recently, several concerned authorities have expressed concerns about the preservation of Jagamohans and urged its protection from further harm.

Superintendent of ASI, Bhubaneswar Circle, Arun Kumar Mallick said after the completion of the groundbreaking ceremony, “A committee of experts will be formed by ASI to thoroughly check how the sand can be safely removed from the temple”. He said the sand removal process will begin in two to three months.

In order to protect and preserve the Jagamohana, he said that a hole will be dug in the western gate of the temple and the process of removing sand from the three gates including the sanctum sanctorum of the temple will begin.

“We demand the preservation of the Sun Temple in recent years. Teams of experts will start working to remove the sand from inside the temple. They also said there would be no threat to the temple,” said Bhagirathi Swain, head of Konark Surakshya Samiti.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the history, architecture and culture of Konark Sun Temple is unique. Vigorous preparations, including sand removal plans using state-of-the-art technology, will be used for the protection and conservation works of the historic temple. It is estimated that the whole process will take three years.

(With contributions from Debashis Singrayan in Puri)

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