Six 'Saptarishi' idols collapse at Ujjain's Mahakal Lok corridor due to strong winds

The incident gave ammunition to the Opposition Congress to hit out at the ruling BJP government in the State, alleging corruption in the project

May 29, 2023 11:36 am | Updated 03:47 pm IST - Ujjain

‘Mahakal Lok’ project in Ujjain.

‘Mahakal Lok’ project in Ujjain. | Photo Credit: PTI

Six out of the seven idols of 'Saptarishis' installed at the Mahakal Lok corridor, developed on the Mahakaleshwar temple premises in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain city, have collapsed and suffered damages due to gusty winds, officials said.

No person was injured in the incident which took place on May 28 at around 4 p.m. when a large number of visitors were present at the site, they said.

The facility was shut for a few hours following the incident, they said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first phase of the Mahakal Lok corridor project in October last year.

The incident on May 28 gave ammunition to the Opposition Congress to hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the State, alleging corruption in the project and demanding a probe into the "sub-standard" quality of construction.

"There are a total of 160 idols installed at the Mahakal Lok corridor, out of them six idols of 'Saptarishis' (seven sages) that were around 10 feet tall fell down around 4 pm as strong winds swept through the area," Ujjain Collector Kumar Purshottam said.

After that, the corridor was immediately closed. But when it was reopened at 7 p.m., a large number of visitors again thronged the place, he said.

The damaged idols were not located inside the Mahakaleshwar temple, but in the Mahakal Lok corridor developed around it, he said, adding they will be restored.

"The corridor is spread across around one km. When the idols collapsed, the premises were packed with visitors, but nobody was injured in the incident," another official said.

Gusty winds, which were responsible for the incident, killed two persons elsewhere in Ujjain, he said.

The official said companies from Gujarat have been engaged in the work of creating the idols and constructing the corridor.

The total cost of the Mahakal Lok project is ₹856 crore with the first phase costing ₹351 crore.

State Congress chief Kamal Nath in a tweet said, "I demand from the Chief Minister that the idols be restored immediately. The sub-standard construction should be probed and the people involved in it should be punished."

His predecessor Arun Yadav told PTI over phone, "The BJP government is not even sparing Gods and this incident at the Mahakal Lok corridor smacks of corruption."

Talking about local weather conditions, India Meteorological Department's Bhopal centre duty officer J.P. Vishwakarma told PTI that the forecast for May 28 said gusty winds would blow at the speed of 40 to 50 kilometer per hour at isolated places in Ujjain during the day.

"We don't have an Automatic Weather Station in Ujjain to measure the speed of the wind in Ujjain. We are going to demand it," he said.

The corridor, said to be one of the longest in the country, traverses the old Rudrasagar Lake which has been revived as part of the redevelopment project around the Mahakaleshwar temple, one of the 12 'jyotirlingas' in the country.

Measuring more than 900 metres in length, the corridor has around 108 aesthetically ornate pillars made of intricately-carved sandstones that depict the Anand Tandav Swaroop (a form of dance of Lord Shiva), 200 statues and murals of Lord Shiva and goddess Shakti.

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