Puri: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Sunday maintained that there has been no damage to the Neelachakra (blue wheel) atop the Jagannath temple in Puri by the extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani.
“People say that the wind speed of Cyclone Fani bent the Neelachakra of the Jagannath temple. But their apprehension is wrong as it is not possible to assume things from the ground,” ASI superintending archaeologist Arun Mallick told mediapersons here. “Two ASI engineers climbed atop the temple to examine the condition of the Neelachakra. They found that the cement plaster around and under the Neelachakra has come off. On the basis of their examination, we have decided to take up repair work very soon.”
The ASI team has also decided to take up repair of five damaged sculptures on priority after inspecting the temple. “We have already completed repair of the idols of two lions of the Baraha temple that had got damaged after an iron scaffolding put up around the main temple for repair work crashed on them under the impact of severe wind speeds,” Mallick said. “A miniature sample of the Jaganath temple situated between the Bimala and Bhubaneswari temples has also been repaired. Repair of the kalasa atop the Bhoga Mandap of the temple, which was damaged when the iron scaffolding fell on it, will be completed by Monday.”
The ASI official also said that plasters in some parts of the temple, which had fallen off during the cyclonic storm, will be filled up. “We will fill up the areas by applying fresh plaster coating. The work will be taken up next week, starting Monday,” he said.
To a question on whether ASI would be able to complete repair work before Rath Yatra, Mallick said the ASI DG, Usha Sharma, during her visit to the temple after the cyclone, had directed to complete the repair work by June 17. “But we will complete the repair work much before the specified deadline, as we have completed all major repairs of the temple. It will hardly take another week to finish the remaining work,” he said.