Published on February 15, 2014
CONSERVATION OF SHRI GOVINDJI TEMPLE. Imphal, Manipur. CULTURAL AND HERITAGE VALUE: Terracotta brick vernacular architecture of Bengal and Manipur, bear testimony to the varied and ancient traditions of terracotta that have flourished in India over five millennia. Eastern India has experienced a vast array of the art of Terracotta in forms of temples & ornamentations that have withstood the test of time. With the vagaries of nature and decay over ages, these temples are in need of immediate preservation and maintenance. MATERIALS USED IN THE COMPOSITE STRUCTURE : The temple was built during the reign of Maharaja Nara Singha ( in 1846 AD ). This composite structure was made of : • BRICK • TERRACOTTA • TEAK WOOD Stone was rare in these areas. Being composed of small units, use of bricks gave higher flexibility and greater constructional possibility in these seismic prone regions.
WHY THE CONSERVATION WAS NEEDED ? •The conservation revitalized a decaying landmark of terracota craftsmanship and terracota brick architecture. •It was a protective step towards the cultural resource of Manipur and its History. •It promoted the Socio-religious values. •The adaptive reconstruction / conservation helped to spread the traditional art of terracota not only amongst the workers involved with the project but also amongst the general mass. MAIN FACTORS BESIDE THE DETERIORATION of the temple: Damage due to salt petere and dampness in masonry structure. VEGETAL GROWTH Excessive rainfall caused vegetal growth which led to cracks and dislodge of masonry. THREE SUCCESIVE EARTHQUAKES Conceptual exploded view of the temple •Collapsing of main ceiling and partial collapsing of sidewall. •Settlement problem in foundation part. •Action of soluble salts like chlorides, sulphides, nitrates etc .
RECONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS OF SHRI GOVINDJI TEMPLE FRONT ELEVATION GROUND FLOOR PLAN SIDE (SOUTH) ELEVATION ROOF PLAN BACK (WEST SIDE) ELEVATION • The plan of the temple is Rectangular. • It stands on a raised Jagati (platform). • The Bhitti is also raised straight up to the cornice. • The ceiling was made of terracotta. • Rafters made of teak wood supported the roof above the corridor (Pradakshina). SECTION THROUGH XX’
MAIN DAMAGES FACED BY THE STRUCTURE COLLAPSED BARREL VAULTED ROOF The roof collapsed after three successive earthquakes exposing the structure to further weathering hazard. INNER VIEW Pic: Picture showing the Main vaulted ceiling before it collapsed . (Taken from old records at site) Pic: Shri Govindji Temple after the vaulted ceiling collapsed. Pic: The side wall had fallen partially owing to the damaged caused by neglect as well as earthquake. THE CONSERVATION PROCESS Inspired from the weaving pattern of traditional bamboo basket, the entire form of the vault was reconstructed with a grid of bamboo. Original roof was 40” thick throughout till the top. The new roof starts from 15” at the base and 6” at the top, reducing the load by 200 mt. Bamboo grid and sparingly used steel have been camouflaged by a layer of lime Surkhi.
DAMPNESS AND DAMAGED FLOORING Rising dampness on walls and floors led to further cracks and damage. Repaired flooring Damaged flooring TERRACOTTA’S WATER INFILTRATION TENDENCY AND FREEZE-THAW EFFECT Due to this tendency water get absorbed easily in the terracota work. Apart from that the extreme micro-climate of the site i.e. extreme cold and hot atmosphere leads the masonry towards breakage. VEGETATION GROWTH AND CRACKS Cracks and crevices developed due to earthquake and was further weakened by vegetation growth. Vegetal growth was cleared from the superstructure and the walls were restored. Granite slab was inserted at plinth level to prevent the rising dampness through capillary action Synthetic resins like silicon and epoxies were used as sealants to prevent further damage to the brick masonry from water infiltration and freeze-thaw damage. The glass “tell-tale” signs were put up over the existing cracks to study the threat of further deterioration and were found broken after 6 months. Cracked structure was carefully dismantled, The foundation reset and the super structure remade.
WOODEN BEAMS AND RAFTERS THE CONSERVATION PROCESS The wooden rafters were restored. Completely damaged or missing rafters were replaced. Wooden beams and rafters were in a state of decay MISSING BALUSTERS AND BROKEN PARAPET Wooden beams and rafters were in a state of decay. The wooden rafters were restored. Completely damaged or missing rafters were replaced. CONSERVATION STEPS TAKEN : BROKEN STAIRCASE AND DAMAGED DOORS OTHER Steps and doors which are completely damaged have been reconstructed as per the photographs taken from old records at site. 16 types of bricks were found to be used in the construction of Shri Govindji Temple. Old bricks were dug out from the debris of the monument, sorted out and aired and dried. Brick bats were kept separately for crushing. A continuous band of corbelled masonry buttresses have been provided to strengthen the foundation against the lateral seismic force. An additional plinth protection band of stone was provided around the structure at the ground level.
Fact File: Location - Manipur Client – Govt. of Manipur Built up area – 400 Sq. Metres Year of Completion - 10th march , 2010 Cost of the project – 4 Crores PROJECT OBJECTIVES Rediscovery of the Kangla fort in the present day context To redefine Kangla fort as an ‘Archaeological Park’ through the cultural resource database To safeguard and protect the diverse cultural resources of the Kangla fort within existing legal framework To preserve, protect, restore and reuse the buildings within the fort. To interpret the archaeological park’s cultural and natural resources for the benefit of the people i.e., to promote its values To provide opportunities for learning, research, education and interpretation in the Kangla Archaeological Park. To provide effective management frame work for visitor use, safety and enjoyment of Kangla’s cultural and natural resources without change in cultural values. PROJECT METHODOLOGY The Kangla fort is a complex cultural entity as is evident by the nature of the cultural resources existing in the fort. The primary task in the project was the preliminary survey. The information management primarily involved two kinds of studies viz. the contextual and the parametric studies. Contextual study involved: Study of Imphal by the survey team. A comprehensive natural and cultural resource inventory of the fort. The building inventory also involved condition assessment to enable estimates and project identification. Sketches of the various temples and other buildings were produced for restoration, renovation etc. Study of the local vernacular architecture.
The analysis of the Cultural Resources Database helped in arriving at the various proposals for the Archaeological Park. The cultural resources were respectively mapped onto the base map of Kangla and the analysis of the database helped in working out the concept plan for the Archaeological project. The applicable acts and the master plan were critically studied and analyzed. This led to reworking the legalities for the proposed Kangla fort Archaeological Park within the existing framework. Apart from these studies, the other main sources of information regarding Kangla fort were gained through secondary sources, including books and old maps. The methodology adopted follows a logical and intense thought process to effectively guide the management process. The people of Manipur associate with the fort with a great deal of significance. It represents their history, culture and integrity. They wanted the fort to be reinstated to its former glory, and the use of it as a public park for the benefit of the citizens of Imphal. The location of Kangla fort and its spatial quality further justified this need. Located in the heart of the city, it would provide the most needed ‘lung-space’ for the citizens. Today, the Kangla fort has a mixture of unique cultural resources, which include the Manipuri and the British layers. The cultural resources are diverse ranging from Archaeological, Architectural, Natural and Sacred. The fort is filled with sacred ponds, trees and significant open spaces. The variety of natural and cultural resources in the fort makes it a significant green open space in the city; this diversity gives it its unique character, making Kangla one of the most important forts in the entire northeastern region. It is a potential World Heritage Site.
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