The relocation of Tipu Sultan's armoury in Srirangapatna to pave the way for the Bangalore-Mysore track doubling work could well become a landmark in the conservation history of the country. Plans are on now to “cut” the brick and mortar armoury into pieces, number them and relocate it in the vicinity, an exercise that will be taken up in India for the first time.

The armoury has become a bone of contention between the Archaeology Department and the Indian Railways, which is doubling the track between Bangalore and Mysore.

Though the Archaeology Department opposed the relocation or shifting of the 200-year-old armoury, the State Cabinet approved its shifting. Conservation experts had also aired apprehension that relocating of the armoury built from brick and mortar was difficult.

“Investigation will be started immediately to survey the whole area and detailed measurement and engineering designs would be drawn up,” G. Aswatha Narayana, Advisor of National and Research Forum, which is advising the government on the relocation issue, told The Hindu.

“Cost estimation will be done and we will prepare the detailed engineering drawing for execution,” he said.

Within the next three months, he said, tenders will be floated inviting companies to participate in the project. According to Dr. Aswatha Narayana, the superstructure weighs around 750 tonnes and the foundation, about 1,100 tonnes. “We are discussing whether the structure has to be lifted with or without the foundation,” he said. Dr. Aswatha Narayana showed the 3D simulation of the relocation to a gathering of archaeology experts on Thursday and assured them that adequate care would be taken before the process commences.

Other relocations

In the past, stone structures have been successfully relocated as it is easier to dismantle and re-assemble them.

The Sangameshwara Temple and Aikya Mantapa at Koodalasangama in Bagalkot district were relocated in the 1990s to prevent them from being submerged at the confluence of the Krishna and the Malaprabha rivers, according to Hi. Chi. Boralingaiah, Director of Kuvempu Research Centre of Shimoga University at Kuppalli.

In 2005, the 12th Century Sri Venugopalswamy temple, which had remained submerged in the KRS backwaters, was relocated at Hosa Kannambadi village nearby.

The entire relocation process is expected to take about a year. The total built-up area is about 1,200 sq.ft., and the structure would be cut into pieces using the latest technology, numbered and reassembled about 90 metres away from the existing place. Soon after the investigation, the Indian Railways is expected to issue the work order for track doubling.

Meanwhile, Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture Jayaramraje Urs said the government had agreed to go ahead with the plan, and felt that it was viable.