The expert team which conducted a study on the cracks at the bottom part of the Rajagopuram of Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy temple here on Monday will submit a report to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department in 15 days. Apart from conservation of the heritage Rajagopuram, the study will focus on other aspects including clearing of encroachments in the vicinity of the Rajagopuram, said P.K. Thiagarajan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the temple.
Addressing presspersons at the end of the inspection, Mr. Thiagarajan said the cracks posed no threat and there was no need for panic among any quarters. The 10-member team, comprising experts in structural engineering from various institutions and the Sthapathy cum Advisor to HR and CE Department, Mr. Muthaiah, conducted an intensive study on every tier of the Rajagopuram up to its 13th tier besides a few private residential-cum-commercial complex in its vicinity.
He said the study would throw light on the ways of strengthening the soundness of the structure at least for one century ahead. Various components would be worked out such as plastering the cracks or replacing the entire stone-block with fresh ones, if needed. In either case, it would be a panic-free exercise. The team's recommendations would be carried out from the temple's own funds, he said.
A. Megher Prasad, Professor of Structural Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, said a few old data about the cracks at various places were available. At its sitting in Chennai, the team would carefully analyse all the details and recommend measures for the conservation of this heritage structure.
Mr. Muthaiah said that prior to the construction of the 'Rajagopuram', only a stone structure was in place for about four centuries. The construction of the massive structure (Rajagopuram) within a few years atop the stone that remained free from structural load for centuries had resulted in a few cracks. There was no need for any panic at any cost, he added.
M. Muthusamy, Superintending Engineer, HR and CE Department, said that steps would also be taken to keep the vicinity of the Rajagopuram free from any sound pollution or water stagnation.
The team comprised scientist and experts including Arun Prasad, Assistant Professor, Structural Engineering Department, IIT, Chennai; K. Nagamani, Anna University, Chennai; B.H. Barath Kumar from the Research Centre, CSIR Campus, Taramani; T. Sekar, Director, National Highways Research Station; R. Swaminathan, Senior Conservator, Department of Archaeology; G. Saravanan from Archaeological Survey of India and S. Haripriya, Joint Commissioner, HR and CE, Chennai.