‘Lingaraj Temple in Odisha capital develops cracks’

Bhubaneswar: Drawing attention of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) about cracks in Lingaraj Temple, the State government alleged that authorities of the ASI, Odisha circle have been negligent towards preservation and conservation of the 11th century shrine.

In a letter to the Director General of ASI on Wednesday, Endowment Commissioner Chitaranjan Mohapatra stated that the pinnacle of the main temple has developed cracks. “Those, who tie flags atop the temple everyday, had also drawn the attention of the ASI authorities about the cracks. The cracks of Dadhinauti of the main temple requires immediate repair,” the letter read.

Also, the Endowment Commissioner mentioned that the divine and semi divine images surrounding and decorating the walls of the temple are in broken and damaged condition and need to be restored or replaced or repaired by expert designers and engineers of the ASI.

The domes and outer wall of the main structure and smaller shrine on the temple premises are layered by algae and vegetation. “If not cleared on time, the structure may get weakened and develop cracks,” the letter stated.

Though earlier the ASI used to clear the structures every year, it has stopped the annual cleaning process for the past four to five years.

The Endowment Commissioner alleged that there is an absence of any prescribed criteria for prioritisation of monuments which requires conservation works. “As a result, monuments are selected arbitrarily for carrying out conservation works. Odisha people feel ASI authorities should take proper care of Lingaraj temple, which holds immense religious significance,” the letter stated.

There is also urgent need for repair of joints of main temple, goddess Parvati temple and its jagmohan, rosasala and its passage, Bhogmandap, Biswakarma temple, Bhubaneswari temple, Ekambreswar temple, Ugraswarmahadev temple and Ganesh temple.

Worth mentioning, the Lingaraj Temple has four components namely, Vimana, Jagamohana, Natamandira and Bhogamandapa.

This apart, the ASI should take immediate steps to identify, check and remove the encroachments within 100 meters of the temple with the cooperation of the State Endowment department, Khurda district administration and police, the letter said.

The Endowment Commissioner also wanted the ASI DG’s intervention to direct the Superintending Archeologist Odisha circle to attend review meetings at the end of each quarter and other dates in case of festive and urgency.

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