Send ASI expert team to carry out study on Bhubaneswar's 'Ekamra Kshetra': Pradhan urges Centre

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 30 (PTI) Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday urged the Centre to send an expert team of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to carry out a detailed study and a scientific excavation exercise at the 'Ekamra Kshetra' here to unearth ancient structures.

He wrote to Prahlad Singh Patel, Union minister of state (independent charge) for culture and tourism, seeking his intervention to protect old Odisha architecture, two days after the ASI had unearthed a stone structure during the excavation works under the development project of the 'Ekamra Kshetra', the old town of Bhubaneswar.

The structure was believed to be remains of an ancient temple.

'Keeping in mind the immense archaeological, artistic, socio-cultural and religious importance of ancient Odisha's temples, I request your personal intervention in directing ASI to send an expert team to Bhubaneswar for carrying out a detailed study and thorough scientific excavation of the 'Ekamra Kshetra' area in Bhubaneswar...' Pradhan said in the letter.

The ASI team found some invaluable remains of a 10th- 11th Somavamshi period temple floor on the north-west corner of the Sari temple while carrying out scientific cleaning of the two-acre land adjacent to the complex, he said.

The ASI also discovered two other structures, believed to be the remains of small shrines and a portion of the Sari temple, the Union petroleum and natural gas minister said in the letter.

These findings have led ASI experts to believe that the Sari temple complex was built on the 'Panchayatana' model where the main structure is surrounded by four subsidiary shrines, Pradhan said.

'This means that there is a high chance of additional heritage structures lying buried under encroachments in the 'Ekamra Kshetra',' he said.

The minister also mentioned that Lord Lingaraj and Suka-Sari temples in Bhubaneswar are protected by the ASI under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR Act).

'There is an urgent need to act quickly in order to salvage and preserve what remains of this priceless ancient Odishan architecture,' Pradhan added. PTI AAM BDC BDC