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Sun Temple Sand Removal Rituals

Konark: Bhumi Puja (ground breaking ceremony) rituals to remove sand from the garbhagriha (sanctum sanatorium) of the 13th century Sun temple at Konark was performed on Thursday.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has performed the Puja to remove the sand from the world heritage monument.

The decision to remove the sand from the Jagmohan was taken at a national conference organised by ASI at Konark in 2020. Several experts from around the world participated in the conference then and suggested the removal of sand from the Jagmohanm of the Sun temple to further strengthen the structure.

“We have been doing hard work for the last two years. We have done detailed documentation. After conferring with several engineers and people having expertise, we have formulated a safe system,” said Superintendent of ASI, Arun Mallick.

The sand will be removed through all four gates and stabilize the garbhagriha so that people can go inside it, he said. Besides, Orissa High Court has given a direction on this issue, he added.

ASI sources said as per the advice of various expert committees, documentation has been done using the GPRS, Endoscopy and laser scanning during the last decade to study the stability and the inner condition of the Jagmohan of the Sun temple filled with the sand.

BDR Construction Private Ltd has been entrusted with the job of the removal of sand. The Construction company will provide the technical support only. The ASI officials will be deployed for the removal of sand, the ASI Superintendent said.

In the first phase, an automatic mechanical working platform is being erected for smooth removal of the sand from the Jagmohan of the 13th century world heritage monument Sources said a hole will be created on the western side of the temple for removing sand

Experts believe that the removal of sand will increase the lifespan of the temple by several hundred years.

The sand was filled inside the Jagmohan of the temple during the British raj in 1903 to protect and conserve the Sun temple. ASI aims to remove the sand from inside the Jagmohan in three years in a scientific way by using the latest and sophisticated technology.