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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: Worried over reports of replacement of stone carvings at Konark Sun Temple by Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), Odisha government today urged the Centre to look into the sensitive issue.

In a letter to Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought the Centre’s intervention based on a news report published a vernacular daily on November 9.

Through the letter, the Chief Minster has raised concern about Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) work on replacing artistic stone carvings of Konark temple with plain stones.

“It has been mentioned in the newspaper report that 40% of the artistic stone carvings of the existing Konark Sun temple have been replaced by the Archaeological Survey of India with plain stones,” the letter read.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Konark Sun Temple which represents a chariot of the Sun God is one of the World Heritage sites declared by UNESCO and is the main attraction of domestic and foreign tourists in Odisha.

The temple was built in 13th century AD by the king LangulaNarasingha Deva with assistance of 1200 sculptors. Now only the front temple, Jagamohana remains, which is also gradually undergoing decay.

As the temple symbolizes Odia price and reflects the ethical and emotional expression of people, the Chief Minister has requested the Centre to take steps for preservation & conservation of the monument’s rich aesthetic value.

“The news report is a matter of worry for all. The temple deserves more attention from the ASI than what it has got. I would request you to cause an enquiry into the matter and also direct ASI to take appropriate steps immediately for preservation and conservation of this magnificent World Heritage monument,” wrote Patnaik.

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