BHUBANESWAR: Odisha government on Monday urged the Centre to direct the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to send its best technical experts to undertake repair and restoration of the Jagamohan facing the sanctum sanctorum of Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri.
“The Jagmohan of Shri Jagannath Temple, the holiest shrine in Odisha and an institution of unique importance in India, has developed several cracks. After the inner surface of Jagamohan was deplastered, it was noticed that the four column capitals and the eight stone beams have serious cracks which might affect its structural stability,” said chief minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter to union culture minister Mahesh Sharma.
He said a core committee comprising structural engineers, representatives of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), was formed to suggest remedial measures.
The committee had inspected the structure on February 7 and recommended for providing additional support to the beams immediately for preventing further damage to the Jagamohan, Patnaik added.
“Since this is a matter of urgent public importance, I seek your personal intervention to direct the ASI to send their best technical experts in the matter and proceed to take up repair and restoration works at the earliest,” said the chief minister.
Sources said the stone column capital on the north-west side, on which the Jagamohan’s ceiling rests, has developed a crack and a stone block is hanging out of it dangerously.
This stone column capital is five feet in length, four feet in breadth and is three feet thick. It approximately weighs around 4.5 tonnes. In the case of this stone column collapsing, it’s apprehended that the entire Jagamohan will cave in, sources added.
During removal of dead plaster, four stone blocks have got dislodged from their position in the ceiling of the Jagamohan. Cracks have been observed in the ceiling where lime plasters have been removed.