The Lion’s Gate of Jagannath temple is in a very bad shape. This came to light after all encroachments from both sides of the Gate were removed and the situation was reviewed by a team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials on Tuesday.
ASI statutory repair and conservation committee member GC Mitra said the two building that were constructed adjoining the Lion’s Gate had weakened the latter’s structure. The unauthorised buildings were demolished on Orissa High Court order recently.
“The Lion’s Gate carried the entire load of the two buildings for a long time. As a result, two main pillars weakened over the years and packing between stones eroded. The damage is huge and repair works would be difficult to carry out,” Mitra said.
He added that two pillars would be erected at the Gate while steel beams would be used to make it strong.
The ASI workers had earlier de-plastered and removed both the illegal structures from both sides of the Gate.
AK Patel, Superintending Archeologist of ASI, Bhubaneswar Circle, said all loose and eroded stones in the Lion’s Gate will be replaced gradually.
After demolition of the Pratihari Nijog building adjacent to the Lion’s Gate, the ASI officials had found deep and large cracks on the walls of the Gate and a pillar was in a tilted position.
A division bench of the Orissa High Court had on March 21 directed the Puri administration to go ahead with demolition of Pratihari Nijog building, located along the boundary wall and the Singhadwar, posing a threat to the main structure of the temple.
The bench made it clear that all illegal structures should be demolished within 10 feet of the boundary wall to retain the majesty and splendour of the shrine.
ASI has been in charge of repair and conservation works of the 12th century shrine since 1974.