ASI begins work to remove ‘accretion wall’ in Main Guard Gate of Rock Fort

Published - June 19, 2021 08:02 pm IST - TIRUCHI

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started removing an ‘accretion wall’ in the Main Guard Gate, a protected monument under its control in the city, to look for possible ancient deposits inside and also examine the stability of the structure.

With the work, taken up over the past four days, triggering apprehensions among a section of people, the ASI has clarified that the works are part of its annual maintenance and conservation programme.

The Main Guard Gate is believed to be part of the fortifications around the Rock Fort established in the Nayak period and modified by subsequent rulers including the British. In 2005, ASI renovated the structure and also established an Intrepretation Centre, highlighting the ancient history of Tiruchi, on the rear side of the structure. The office of the Tiruchi Circle of ASI, created recently, is situated in Main Guard Gate complex.

“We have taken up minor repairs on the nearly 500-year old structure over the past six months. White washing is also being done. The removal of a small wall, a recent structure, covering a window-like opening is intended to study the contents inside and also to check the stability of the foundation as cracks have appeared on the superstructure,” said T. Arun Raj, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Tiruchi Circle.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Raj pointed out that there were two small “arch-like” designs immediately after the massive door of the Main Guard Gate. On the left side, a window-like structure with grill is found beneath the arch and on the right side the structure is covered with a wall, which was apparently been built a few decades ago.

“We are removing the accretion wall, under the supervision of our officers, so as to find out what is inside and also conserve the original structure. Besides, we also want to examine the stability of the foundation of the structure,” he said.

A team of geologists from the Department of Remote Sensing of Bharathidasan University had already made a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey of the cracks, but were not able to arrive at a definite conclusion as to the exact cause.

“We needed to do a thorough inspection. As some ancient structure or deposits could possibly be buried inside, we decided to remove the accretion wall beneath the arch-like design. We have informed civic and police authorities that, if necessary, the walls of the Main Guard Gate will be closed during the conservation work,” he said.

The work, which would go on for some time, was intended to preserve the majestic monument, Mr. Raj added.

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