ASI has taken up the project ahead of 88th Mahamastakabhisheka in 2018
Shravanabelagola (Hassan District, Karnataka), February 10, 2017: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday began building alternative steps to Vindhyagiri, the hillock where the 58.8-foot-tall monolith statue of Gomateshwara is located.
This is fourth time in the 1,000-year history of the site that steps are being chiselled in the hillock.
ASI has taken up the work ahead of the 88th Mahamastakabhisheka of Gomateshwara scheduled in February 2018. Charukeethi Bhattaraka Swami of Jain Mutt performed the bhoomi pooja for the conservation and development works in the presence of senior ASI officers.
The proposed works include repairing of the pathway, reducing the height of existing steps on the top of the hill, railings, protection of inscription, construction of a compound wall, and creation of new steps.
Till 1910, there were no steps to the hillock. “Prior to Mahamastakabhisheka that year, steps were chiselled for the first time. The second steps were created in 1966 and those steps were improved in 1983,” said Charukeerti Bhattaraka Swami, who is also chairman of the national committee to hold Mahamastakabhisheka.
T. Arun Raj, superintending archaeologist, told presspersons that the creation of news steps was decided in view of the crowd expected during the Mahamastakabhisheka next year. The official said it would be completed before January 2018.
‘Site will be safe’
The process will not affect the site either archaeologically, geologically or visually, said Pankaj Modi, a conservation architect.
“The new steps will be created using the traditional chiselling method. The steps will merge with the existing structure,” he said. – News Courtesy: The Hindu