Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 3:
The long awaited repair of the Jagamohana (audience hall) of the Shree Jagannath temple, the 12th century shrine in Odisha’s holy town Puri is likely to begin from December 16 without relocation of the presiding deities from the Ratnasimhasan (bejeweled throne).
The decision in this regard was taken at the meeting of the technical committee held here today.
The main temple premises will be handed over to Archeological Survey of India (ASI) personnel at 11 AM on daily basis during the repair period after completion of rituals of the presiding deities.
Repair work will continue till 7 PM every day, during this period devotees will not be allowed into the Jagamohana area.
“It has been decided to begin work around December 16th. During day time for one shift work (from 11 AM to at least 6-7 PM) the premises will be handed over to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI),” said chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Chandra Mohapatra briefing reporters after the meeting here today.
“We have planned to start work from 16th. We will try to begin it from that date. We have been allocated time between 11 AM to 7 PM,” said AK Patel superintendent of the ASI to reporters.
Devotees will be allowed to have darshan of the deities from the bahara katha area of the Shree Mandir during this period, said sources privy to the meeting.
However, a formal decision on this count will be taken after consultation with the sevayats (temple servitors), Mohapatra said.
“Initially a working platform made of steel will be constructed from which repair work will be undertaken. We will try to complete repairs within a season. We will try to finish it before Snana Purnima,” the chief administrator said.
However, only after removal of plaster from the walls it will be determined how exactly repair will be undertaken, the sources said.
During the repair of the Jagamohana, rituals of Shree Mandir will start from 2 AM. Also Mahaprasad will be available to devotees at least four to five hours before the usual time of 2 PM on normal days, the sources revealed.
Notably, the ASI has decided to go for repairing of the fissures using ‘carbon wrapping’ technology.
With repairing of fissures using ‘carbon wrapping’-a foreign technology, there will be no threat to the Jagamohana arising out of the cracks that have developed in its ceiling.
Archaeologists world over are depending heavily on ‘carbon wrapping’ technology to conserve heritage monuments.
A three-member team of experts from the ASI that had recently visited Shree Jagannath temple had opined that this technology can be applied to conserve the Jagamohana, sources revealed.
Sources said the technology apart from bonding fissures in stones restores them to their original strength. The technology is currently in use at Red Fort in New Delhi for its conservation.
According to the plan, stones slabs of the Jagamohana’s ceiling having cracks will be provided with support from under using scaffolding and then ‘carbon wrapping’ will be applied. The chemical for the purpose is being imported from abroad. That apart it has been planned to replace old cracked stone slabs which are not posing any danger with new ones, sources pointed out.
Therefore it was decided to conduct repairs of the Jagamohana without relocation of the presiding deities from the Ratnasimhasan (bejeweled throne).
It will be worthwhile to mention here that the ceiling of the Jagamohana rests on four stone columns. 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 case of this stone column collapsing, it’s apprehended that the entire Jagamohana will cave in.
This apart during removal dead plaster four stone blocks have got dislodged from their position in the ceiling of the Jagamohana. Cracks have been observed in the ceiling wherefrom lime plaster 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.