Odisha may soon get a replica of the 13th century Sun Temple. The state government on Tuesday received a proposal from Padma Vibhusan and eminent stone sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra to construct another temple replicating Konark Sun Temple as the edifice is on the process of decay.
Describing it as his dream project, the sculptor said, “We should construct another Sun Temple to preserve the architecture for our future generation. As major portions of the temple has decayed with time except remnants of the majestic structure like Mukhasal and Jagamohan, I have sought the state government’s help in realizing my dream project.”
Tourism and Culture Minister Maheswar Mohanty told this paper that the State Government received a proposal in this regard from Padma Vibhusan and eminent stone sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra.
The final decision will be taken at a meeting by the Chief Minister soon. The size of the replica, expenditure for the project and land requirement are yet to be finalised, he said and added that a decision regarding the scale of the project will be taken soon.
Mohapatra had earlier proposed to build a second Sun Temple during late prime minister Indira Gandhi’s regime in 1971. “Indira Gandhi had approved the proposal but the idea was abandoned due to the war with Pakistan,” said Mohapatra.
Official sources said a 17-acre plot is available near Konark Natya Mandap, which could be allocated for the proposed temple once the size of the temple is finalized.
“There is a sketch of the original Sun Temple by the British in the state archives, which can provide minute details of the temple. We are the successor of the artists who had built Konark and we would certainly do it. It will take about eight years with the help of nearly 500 artists. I think it is absolutely possible,” said Mohapatra, who has built several temples in and outside India.
â€œWe are successors of the artists who had created Konark Temple in 13th century. Therefore, we have traditional know-how to play with stones,â€ Mohapatra said, adding, Odias were talented enough to create another Sun Temple.
Though Mohapatra did not like to give a time line for the project, he said, â€œIf the replica will be half the size _ 150 feet _ , nearly equal in size to the Puri Jagannath Temple, it will take about eight years to complete. If itâ€™s a full size one (300 feet), longer time will be needed,â€ he said.
The issue was discussed at a meeting attended by the Minister, Raghunath Mohapatra, Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik and senior officials.