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Re-carving magnificence

Gollapudi Srinivasa Rao
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The restoration works of ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ of Thousand Pillar temple at brisk pace

GIGANTIC TASK:The kalyana mandapam of the Thousand Pillar temple in Hanamkonda.– Photo: M. MURALI
GIGANTIC TASK:The kalyana mandapam of the Thousand Pillar temple in Hanamkonda.– Photo: M. MURALI

Described as the biggest project in South India by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the restoration works of ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ of ancient Thousand Pillar temple are at brisk pace.

Government officials, NGOs and individuals have embarked on a stupendous task of restoring the past glory of the temple belonging to 1163 AD when Rudra Deva was ruling the Kakatiya kingdom.

Local ASI officials say that nowhere in South India, a project of this nature- where the entire monument has been dismantled from the foundation and being restored- taken up. Noted Stapathi M. Siva Kumar of Tamil Nadu assisted by 45 sculptors has been working day and night to bring back the splendour ruined due to ravages of time.

The officials say nearly 65 per cent of works are over and the rest will be completed by March next year.

INTACH convener Prof. M. Panduranga Rao, who is coordinating the work with NIT and ASI, said the ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ which was in a shambles was pulled down in 2005. After numerous debates and studies, it was decided to avoid using Reinforced Cement Concrete, steel and cement in restoration works. Now, a paste made of gal nut, black jaggery and lime is being used.

“A total of about 3,000 pieces were removed and indented. Of the total 160 beams, 28 are missing and 13 out of 132 pillars are missing. We are getting them carved by Stapathi and his team,” he explains.

The temple, popularly known as Thousand Pillar temple, has an awe-inspiring beauty with scores of pillars put together to make a magnificent structure. It is a complex of three shrines – Rudreswara, Vasudeva and Surya. Opposite, this exquisite ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ is situated. In between, there is a huge Nandi statue looking towards the presiding deities. The mandapa was supposed to be meant for dancers.

“It is a stupendous task. We are working out on every minute detail. Once restored and given chemical treatment, it will look original and peerless,” Prof. Rao explains.

So far, the ‘Pradikshinapada’ consisting of seven layers, ‘Kakshashana’ consisting of four layers and cavity wall has been completed. Some pillars have been erected. Still, the roof beams and roof should be put in place to complete the structure.


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