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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The stone lion sculpture recovered during excavation at the Emar Mutt under the Srimandir Parikrama Project in Puri could be dating back to the Ganga dynasty, informed Arun Mallick, superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Following an outrage by intellectuals and Puri locals after the lion sculpture was left unattended in the debris near the site for more than a day, the ASI Superintendent today visited the site and inspected the sculpture.

After the review, Mallick said, “I have come here after receiving a letter from the OBCC this morning. I have examined it as a preliminary study. I can make further comments on the sculpture after a thorough lab report.”

“However, from the preliminary study, it can be said that the sculpture belongs to the Ganga era,” Mallick added.

The Gangas ruled the eastern part of India between the 5th and 15th century. The territory ruled by the dynasty consisted of the whole of the modern-day Indian state of Odisha as well as major parts of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

They are most remembered as the builders of the world renowned Puri Jagannath Temple, and the Konark Sun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Konark.

It may be mentioned that an ancient sculpture was found in two pieces (damaged during the excavation). Locals alleged that a ground-penetrating radar survey (GPRS) was not undertaken at the site before carrying out digging activities for which the antique sculpture got damaged.

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