Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Central government to conduct an inquiry regarding the replacement of artistic stone carvings at Konark Sun Temple with plain stones.
He also asked the Centre to advise the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take appropriate steps immediately for the preservation and conservation of this magnificent world heritage monument.
Referring to a report published in a leading Odia daily, the Chief Minister in a letter to Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma mentioned that the original stone carvings in Konark Sun temple have been removed and in their place, plain stones have been fixed.
The letter was made available to the media on Sunday.
“It has been mentioned in the newspaper report that 40 per cent of the artistic stone carvings of the existing Konark Sun temple have been replaced by the ASI with plain stones.
“The report is a matter of worry and concern for all of us. I have a feeling that the temple deserves more attention from the ASI than what it has got. The ASI needs to focus more on proper conservation of Konark Sun temple and its art and aesthetic value,” the letter said.
A masterpiece of creative genius in both conception and realisation, the temple represents a chariot of Sun God and is one of the world heritage sites declared by UNESCO, the Chief Minister said.
“It is embellished with sophisticated and refined iconographical depictions of contemporary life and activities. It is the main attraction of domestic and foreign tourists in Odisha,” he added.
“Konark Sun temple represents the climax of Odishan temple architecture. It symbolises Odia pride and reflects the ethical and emotional expression of the Odia people,” said Patnaik.
The temple was built in 13th century AD by King Langula Narasingha Deva with the assistance of 1,200 sculptors. Now only the front temple Jagamohana remains, which is also gradually undergoing decay.