No stones replaced at Konark Sun Temple: ASI

Bhubaneswar: Two days after the Odisha government urged the Centre to look into the issue of replacement of stone carvings at Konark Sun Temple by Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), the organisation on Monday clarified that not a single stone carving has been replaced and denied allegations of replacement of artistic stone works at the world heritage monument.

On November 10, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, taking cognisance of media reports, wrote to the central government urging it to direct the ASI to probe allegation of replacement of artistic stone carvings at Sun Temple with plain stones.

“Not a single piece of stone has been removed from any portion of the surviving structural remains of the Sun Temple, Konark,” ASI’s Superintending Archaeologist, Arun Malik, said in a statement here.

“Also, no replacement of stone has been done there for conservation or repair of any other purpose in last more than a decade’s time,” he said.

With effective implementation of advanced techniques of scientific preservation, the rate of erosion of surface stones of the temple has been considerably controlled, the ASI official said.

Creation of a green belt to protect the temple stones from saline breeze and sand blasting from the nearby Bay of Bengal has further contributed to the retarded rate of deterioration of stones, he said in the statement.

“Therefore, there was no need of renewing or replacing any stone from any portion of the monument in the recent past. Also there appears to be no such need in near future,” Malik said.

Describing Konark Sun Temple as a “pride of the nation,” he said the ASI is closely monitoring the structural health of the monument and maintaining it with all scientific technologies available as on date.

The apprehensions created in public mind through news item should be negated, it said.

(With PTI inputs)