Decision To Remove Sand From Inside Konark Temple After Report: Union Tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel

Bhubaneswar: Decision to remove sand from the sanctum sanctorum of Konark Sun Temple will be taken after receiving a report from the expert team says Union Tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel after National Conference on Conservation of Sun Temple, Konark.

A two-day national conference on conservation of Konark Sun Temple held here at Yatri Niwas has witnessed a brainstorming session on the preservation of the 13-century monument. This is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in Odisha. The Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Usha Sharma had inaugurated the conference on Feb 28. Konark Sun Temple Sharma said it has been decided that the preservation of world-famous Konark temple will be done in accordance with the report based on the findings of deliberations of the 2010 national conference and CBRI.

On the second day of the National Conference on Conservation of Sun Temple Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, Odisha Tourism minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi and the officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) & Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) attended the session. Union Minister Patel said, “People want us to remove the sand that was filled inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple by the British in 1905. But we will take a decision only after a detailed report is received.”

On the first day the conference was attended by Padmashri GC Mitra, secretary of culture Manoranjan Panigrahi, amicus curie NK Mohanty, former ASI director general Dr B R Mani, A B Tripathy, Sanjay Achary, Anil Dhir, Puri Collector Balwant Singh and ASI superintendent Arun Kumar Mallik.

The amicus curie appointed by the high court said it was discussed that the officials concerned to take immediate measures for conservation of the world-famous monument by filling up sand where required. He advised the authorities to provide chemical coating to the monument ravaged by nature.

The British had filled the Jagamohan of Konark Sun Temple with sand and sealed it in 1903 to ensure the stability of the 13th-century monument. The ASI will form a committee of experts to examine and decide the openings through which the sand can be removed. The Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) will be part of the panel.

“Filling it with sand would have only saved the temple for 50 or 100 years but removing it and treating the interiors will improve the life span by at least another 500 years”, said BK Rath, former superintending archaeologist of State Archaeology Wing of Odisha Government. The two-day conference was managed by local ASI official Niroj Singh and Museum officer Pratap Kumar Nayak.

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