An experts committee has concluded that the 134-foot, seven-storey Rajagopuram of the Srikalahasti temple crumbled because the tower “outlived its life.”
The committee, headed by S. Narasimha Rao, a retired professor of the IIT-Madras, took a critical look at the crash site and remnants of the rubble on Wednesday. He told The Hindu that the 500-year-old Rajagopuram was constructed with lime mortar and brick, which had a life span of 100-150 years. He ruled out any human complicity in the May 26 crash.
Asked about the huge fissure that was suspected to have triggered the collapse, Professor Rao said it only aggravated the condition of the ageing tower and apparently made the huge granite beams go out of plumb, leading to the crash. The beams lost their bearing areas. The materials in some stone columns were found to have deteriorated due to ageing.
As for reconstruction of the tower on the same site, another task assigned to the committee, Professor Rao said it would recommend that the Andhra Pradesh government take afresh the views of Agama and Vaasthu Sasthra experts. For, the boundaries of the temple, constructed 500 years ago, now needed to be redefined in keeping with the situation on the field.
Panel to visit again
Professor Rao, who is also director of the Dredging Corporation, government of India, said the committee might again visit Srikalahasti once or twice before it submitted its report to the government.