Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 31:

A moderate intensity earthquake might cause damage to the 13th century world famous Sun Temple in Odisha’s Konark, experts opined.


The findings of a study conducted by the Roorkee-based Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) have cast apprehensions over the stability of the structure.

As per reports, the sand filled inside the Jagamohana of the 800-year-old world famous Konark temple has slumped almost four feet than its prior level.

The members of Konark Working Group have raised concerns over the conservation of the Black Pagoda.

“It is experimentally proved that the sand inside the Jagamohana has slumped, besides the beams and some stone blocks are in suspended state. It cannot be ruled out that couple of stones would not have dislodged in the last decade. If an earthquake of 6 or 6.5 magnitude on Richter scale occurs in the area then we cannot say what damage it would cause to the Sun Temple,” Konark Working Group member, NC Pal expressed.

The CBRI had conducted an endoscopic photography of the historic monument to ascertain the condition of the world heritage site’s interiors and also to ensure its proper conservation and safety.

The 3-D laser scanning revealed that stones have dislodged from inside and found fallen on the ground. Besides, the iron beam erected to support the structure from inside has also caved in.

“There are four holes measuring around 18 inch width and 12 inch high having two stones in the ceiling. The stones might fall from the top if an attempt is made to widen the holes, which is risky. In view of this, an entry point has to be opened from the western side of the temple as it was in the main temple,” Bijay Kumar Rath, another member said.

Of the three levels inside Jagamohana, the sand level has gone down by two levels. The British era beams have also destabilized. The digitized references have clearly indicated those, they added.

It may be mentioned here that Jagamohana was filled with sand during the renovation of the temple in 1903 under instructions of then Lt Governor of Bengal JA Bourdillon. The four entrances to the structure were sealed off and its inside filled with sand so as to prevent the structure from collapsing.

Notably, the research institute last year had also carried out a 3-D laser scan of the monument using a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Five robotic cameras were inserted to the temple’s interior from four sides through its wall and also from the temple’s top.

The 3-D scan gives a clear, digital picture of the entire layout and structure of the temple.

Meanwhile, an organisation leading a movement for conservation of the edifice has called for immediate attention to its restoration.

“The state government should intervene into the matter immediately and place demands to undertake remedial measures for conservation of the world heritage site,” said Ramakrushna Mohanty, Secretary of Konark Suraksha Samiti.