Sun Temple under knee deep water

Visitors to the Sun Temple, also known as Black Pagoda, had to wade through two to three feet deep water which had accumulated around the historic site following heavy downpour.

While a large number of tourists returned without having a proper look at the world famous monument since yesterday, some of the visitors waded through the water to view the temple.

"It was extremely difficult to reach the temple due to water-logging. Though I managed to reach the structure, my wife failed to do so as she found it tough," said Chinmay, a 40-year-old visitor after returning from Konark.

For his wife, Pratiti the visit turned out to be highly disheartening. "The authorities should have taken steps to unclog the drains near the temple," she said.

Locals pointed out that water-logging at the Sun Temple has been a regular feature for the last couple of years. "Whenever it rains heavily for long, the problem crops up as there is no proper outlet," said a resident of a nearby village.

A social worker from the area, Rabindra Kumar Bahinipati said water-logging could damage the temple. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has built a soak pit and when excess water accumulates, it is pumped out.

Bahinipati said prolonged water-logging, which is an acute problem on the northern side of the 13th century monument, is likely to have an adverse impact on the structure.
"Though plans are afoot to put in place a proper drainage system around the Sun Temple but no concrete measure has been taken", he said.

Senior ASI officials were not available to throw light on the problem and measures being taken to deal with it.

The historical monument has been in news recently with reports of dislocation of some stones from the structure, sparking apprehension about its preservation.

Following this, Orissa government had last month asked a joint committee comprising representatives of ASI, district adiministration of Puri and state culture department to verify the matter and submit a report.

ASI, which looks after protection of the temple, has been maintaining that the monument was in a good state, the sources said.

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