FOR THE first time in almost 1,000 years since Raja Bhoj built the colossal Bhojpur Temple in 11th century, the biggest Shivalinga in the country did not have to face the fury of nature during monsoon this year.
Under an integrated conservation project, the Bhopal circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has finally covered the half completed temple to ensure that the beautiful interiors, including the 27-foot high Shivalinga — flanked by four more than 40-foot high pillars — were protected from harmful effects of rain, wind and sunlight.
The project has not only given the temple a beautiful look, but has increased its lifespan by several hundred years.
“The conservation work has ensured that the interiors of the temple are not any more directly hit by elements and stand strong for the posterity,” Bhopal ASI superintendent archaeologist Mohammad K K told the Hindustan Times.
As part of the integrated conservation project, a special top crown made of fibre has been put up to cover the central gap that allowed a directed flow of rainwater on the Shivalinga. Similarly, the gaps on the side have been covered by slanted stone slabs and the walls have been paved with matching stones to give it a complete form on three sides.
To give it a more stable form and complete look, stone platforms have been erected on the top around the fibre top crown. Simultaneously, the interiors of the temple are being chemically cleaned and a protective coating would then be applied to further strengthen the structure. Another major work— erecting the huge pillar on the left front part of the temple to match the exquisitely carved pillar on the right side – is likely to be over soon.
This 11.5 feet high pillar that weighs over seven tonnes has already been carved and a special crane is awaited to hoist the pillar. S N Shrivastava, ASI senior conservation assistant in-charge of the temple site, said that negotiations are in final stages for the hoisting and it would be over soon.
Mohammad mentioned that work on the back portion of the temple is yet to be completed and would be taken up soon with sanction of fresh budget. During the next phase, the top fibre crown would be outwardly covered and work on doorjamb at the entrance of the temple would be taken up to prevent any moisture.
LANDSCAPING: TO ADD to the attraction of the temple – that is being proposed as world heritage site by the ASI – landscaping work has been taken up.
The green velvety grass patch has come up on the southern (entrance side) courtyard of the temple, giving the entire campus a striking look. The work is currently in progress in the northern part of the courtyard.