Express press service
BENGALURU: Restoration work on historic structures is carried out with extreme care to retain the original architecture. But in Begur, the restoration and renovation of the Nagareshware temple complex, built by the Ganga dynasty in the 7th or 8th century, is being done with cement that has infuriated locals, historians and officials from the Archaeological Survey of India ( UPS).
“Restoration has been resumed in this group of temples. The intention is good, but they use cement for the works, which is a violation of archaeological standards. Cement was introduced to India around 100 years ago, while temples date back to the 7th century. This is not conservation,” said a historian, working closely with the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage (DAMH).
The temples are significant, not only for their beautiful architecture, but also because the very first mention of Bangalore is made in the 890 BC inscription. The Hero Stone records the death of Buttanapati, son of Chief Nagattara and Pervonasetti, in the Battle of Bangalore. “This means there has been a place called Bengaluru for at least 1,100 years,” a DAMH official said.
Locals and guides point out that cranes and earth-moving machines are used when the work has to be done manually. “All conservation work has to be done with care and that’s why it takes time. This will be looked into,” an ASI official said.
A DAMH official said work started a month ago and a lot of damage had already been done. “The work is being carried out by PWD engineers, who have little or no knowledge of the heritage value of the temples. Even though it is mentioned in the contract that labor should be employed, cranes are used to save 80% of labor costs. The work executed so far has cost Rs 1 crore. Historians and archaeologists were not consulted before the works,” the official revealed.
DAMH commissioner BR Poornima, however, said all work is being done in accordance with ASI guidelines. Cement is used at the base and at the walkways. In all these works, cement is only used to reinforce the base because there is no other alternative, she added.