ASI begins sand excavation inside Jagamohan of Sun Temple in Konark


Konark: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday began the process of sand excavation inside the Jagamohan of the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark.

Sun Temple, the only Unesco heritage site of Odisha, had a main sanctum santorum (viman), which fell in 1837. The main mandap-audience hall (Jagamohan), which is about 128 feet tall, still stands and is the principal structure in the surviving ruins.

A century after the British had filled the Jagamohan (assembly hall) of the Konark Sun Temple, a world heritage site, with sand to prevent the structure from collapsing in Odisha, the Archaeological Survey of India began the process of emptying the sand for repairing the vulnerable portion of the structure.

The ASI would take nearly three years to remove the sands from the inner sanctum sanctorum of the Jagamohan.

In fact, the idea was floated in February 2020 at the end of a two-day national conference on the conservation of the Sun Temple. Then Union culture minister Prahlad Singh Patel had asked the ASI to prepare a detailed report on the modalities of removing the sand. Accordingly, the ASI submitted a report after due consultation with stakeholders.

The ASI had accepted a proposal to remove sand from inside the Konark Temple, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site, at a national conference on ‘Conservation of Sun Temple’ attended by then Union Culture Minister in February 2020.


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