The Science Branch of the Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai Zone, has taken up paper pulp treatment exercise in the Shore Temple complex at Mamallapuram to get rid of salt particles deposited into the world heritage monument.

The exercise of cleaning the lone structural splendour, considered as a valuable piece under the structural monument category apart from the other three category of structures — rock-cut caves, monolithic and open air bas-relief — which have come up at Mamallapuram during the Pallava regime between 3rd and 8th century A.D., began with chemical water washing treatment to remove dust, other deposits and fungus or black mass formation due to vagaries of nature, from the surface of the monument.

After cleaning the surface, paper pulp coating is done on the monument in order to extract salt particles that might have penetrated deep into stones through minute pores on the surface caused by an abrasive action of sand-bearing wind, according to the Deputy Superintending Archaeological Chemist, Chennai Zone, V.Chandrapandian.

Mr.Chandrapandian said generally this type of treatment would be taken up only during summer since paper pulp should be allowed to dry and removed after three days. Paper pulp covering treatment should be repeated three or four times or even more on the same area in order to ensure a complete extraction of saline deposits. Finally silicon-based water repellent chemical coating would be given to protect the monument from the vagaries of nature, he added.

Black mass removal

Meanwhile, the ASI's Science Branch has taken up the periodical black mass/fungus removal exercise at the Kailasanathar temple at Kancheepuram, believed to be the biggest sandstone temple in the world