Neelachakra unharmed by Fani: SJTA

Puri: Neelachakra, the metal wheel atop Srimandir, has been found to be unharmed in the wake of cyclone Fani that made a landfall on Puri coast May 3, said Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).

“There were speculations that the Neelachakra has either been twisted or bent by the cyclonic storm. But all these speculations were found to be incorrect. The metal wheel is completely safe,” said SJTA chief administrator PK Mohapatra after a meeting of Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee here Tuesday.

According to the SJTA chief, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had examined the status of Neelachakra by using drone-mounted cameras recently. “The national conservator had taken photos of Neelachakra from various angles. Experts and members of Srimandir managing panel examined the photos and came to the conclusion that the storm has not harmed the wheel atop the 12th century shrine,” Mohapatra revealed.

The SJTA also made it clear that the main structure of Srimandir has not sustained any major damage due to the May 3 storm. “Some lion figures were damaged after they were hit by broken iron scaffolding during the storm. The figures have been restored,” said the SJTA chief.

According to him, the ASI has expedited work to install newly-carved Jay-Bijay idols at the Lions’ Gate of Srimandir. “The Idol of Jay was broken into pieces after it fell down from the Lions’ Gate during the cyclone. Now, artisans are carving new idols of Jay and Bijay. The idols would be installed June 16,” said Mohapatra, adding that workers have completed repair work at the dome of Srimandir Bhoga Mandap.

While taking stock of the damage caused to Srimandir by the cyclone, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had asked the ASI and the SJTA to complete repair work at the shrine by June 17.

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