In the wake of allegations that a large number of original stone carvings in the Sun Temple of Konark have been replaced with plain stones, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has begun conducting a 3D imaging of the UNESCO World Heritage site to study internal condition of the monument.
The 3D imaging of the temple was carried out with the help of drone cameras in the presence of ASI officials on Tuesday. A laser scanning of the centuries-old structure would be conducted after 3D imaging.
According to the ASI, the 3D scanning would enhance the data on the exterior of the 13th-century Black Pagoda from its all cardinal sides.
This move was undertaken after the State Government took up the matter relating to the alleged replacement of sculpted stones with plain ones. Even the images of replaced centuries-old murals of the temple with plain stones were doing the rounds on social media.
Last year, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had urged the then Union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma to order an inquiry into the allegations.
Following the allegations, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Prahlad Singh Patel during his visit to Odisha in January this year had said he would take up the Konark temple conservation matter with the ASI.
Rattled by the uproar, the ASI decided to use 3D laser scanning by the Central Building Research Institute for a thorough study of the inside condition of the temple for its better conservation.