Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Puri, Apr 22:
As part of the repair of the Jagamohana (assembly hall adjoining the sanctum sanctorum) of the Shree Jagannath temple, the 12th-century shrine in Odisha’s holy town Puri a team of experts began test digging of its floor today for the erection of steel structures.
Test digging of the Jagamohana’s floor using electric drills began in the presence of Shree Mandir Technical Core Committee (SMTCC) members and experts of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
“Prof A P Gupta chairman of ASI’s core committee after examining the condition of the stone beam had recommended that it needs to be given support using stainless steel frames. A cost estimate of its design was sent to the Director General (DG) of the ASI. The DG ASI has sought a cost estimate of the foundation to be laid for the erection of the steel structure. In order to ascertain the nature of foundation, the structure would require we have requisitioned drilling machines to find out what lies underneath the floor. On the basis of the finding, the ASI here will decide on the depth of the holes to be dug for the foundation of the steel structures and accordingly send an estimate to the ASI DG,” informed Dharmapada Mishra member of the SMTCC to reporters here.
Notably, Prof Gupta during his visit to the temple on March 29 had said that repair of the Jagamohana cannot be delayed further.
“Repair of the Jagamohana cannot be delayed any further. So, we are going to take an action to strengthen the columns to the maximum possible extent, to see that the beams do not collapse,” Prof Gupta had told during his last visit.
Prof Gupta is an expert in archaeology and a former professor of Kharagpur IIT.
It may be recalled here that the stone column capital on the North-West side, on which the Jagamohana’s ceiling rests, has developed a crack and a stone block is hanging out of it dangerously, posing the risk of a major accident.
This stone column capital is five feet in length, four feet in breadth and is three feet thick. It approximately weighs around 4.5 tonnes. In the case of this stone column collapsing, it’s apprehended that the entire Jagamohana will cave in.
During removal of dead plaster, four stone blocks have got dislodged from their position in the ceiling of the Jagamohana. Cracks have been observed in the ceiling where from lime plasters have been removed.
Two stone blocks which have got dislodged from their position in the ceiling of the Jagamohana have been reinforced using steel brackets as a temporary measure.