Konark, 4th January 2023: Today (January 4), the sand excavation from the Sun Temple at Konark’s sanctum sanctorum got underway by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). After nearly 120 years, the sand will be removed to protect the temple’s architecture, particularly the Jagamohana.
This procedure will reportedly take three years to complete and employ cutting-edge technology. A private company, BDR Constructions, has begun work on creating an iron framework and a mechanical working platform on which lifts and trolleys will travel to extract sand as the first step in the operation.
After the platform is in place, the sand in the “sanctum sanctorum” will be removed in the second phase via a five feet high by four feet wide road that will be built close to the second “Pidha” of the west gate. With the technical aid of the BDR firm, the sand removal procedure is anticipated to be finished in three years.
It is important to note that in September of the previous year, ASI carried out the ‘Bhumi Pujan’ procedures for the same.
Anil Dhir, a historian, said, “This is a kind of operation that has never been conducted anyplace in the world. It will be a textbook case if it is successful. First, they will remove a little amount of sand and assess its impact on the temple structure.”
He said, “People believe that once the sand is gone, they will be permitted entry to the temple. However, that is untrue. No one will ever be permitted to enter the temple’s sanctum sanctorum, just as it is now. Additionally, the temple’s interior walls lack any aesthetic architectural value. Whatever beauty it may possess, it is already visible to guests on the exterior, where it is already in the open. But I believe that the ASI made a positive move with this. And if everything works out, the Jagamohana’s life will be multiplied.”
The British flooded the Sun Temple’s assembly hall with sand in 1903. Then, to give the construction stability. In 2010, during an international workshop conducted in Konark, various national and international archaeologists and engineers proposed removing the sand to preserve the security of the Sun Temple’s sanctum sanctorum.
Similarly, in 2015 the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) in Roorkee used GPRS, laser scanning, and endoscopy to analyse the internal state of the sanctum sanctorum and then presented the evaluation report to ASI.