Structural Conservation

Although there have been references of conservation of structures way back in the early Historic Period as evidenced at Junagadh, Gujarat, it was done on structures that were beneficial to the contemporary society. Even the dawn of vision for the need to preserve monuments for its worth as a monument, mainly credited to the British was not less haphazard in the earlier times. The earlier attempts to give a legal framework for preventing vandalism were the two legislations namely the Bengal Regulation of 1810 and Madras Regulation of 1817.

The monuments and sties that received nominal funds and attention way back in 19th century was Taj Mahal, Tomb at Sikandara, Qutb Minar, Sanchi and Mathura. Based on the proposal submitted in 1898, 5 Circles were constituted to do the Archaeological work in India. These Circles were required to devote themselves entirely to conservation work.

Later the ‘Ancient Monuments and Preservation Act, 1904' was passed with the prime objective to ensure the proper upkeep and repair of ancient buildings in private ownership excepting such as those used for religious purposes. From the first decade of the last century therefore many monuments could be taken up for conservation.

One of the foremost conservators, J. Marshall who laid down the principles of conservation was also instrumental in preserving a number of monuments some of which are now under the World Heritage List. The conservation work of stupas at Sanchi earlier lying in a maze of ruins gave the site its pristine looks. The conservation processes had now become quite formalized and the later workers in the field were acquiring cumulative knowledge of several generations. Even before Independence, thus, the Archaeological Survey of India had developed significant expertise so much as that it was invited for conservation work in other countries. Some of the outstanding examples of such works are that of Bamiyan in Afghanistan and later in the Angkor Vat of Cambodia.

Tellicherry Fort, Tellicherry, district Kannur

Missing portion of the fort wall on the east and northern sides were restored. The vaulted roof leading to magazine roof was exposed and water tightened properly after grouting and filleting. The accumulated earth and debris on bastion over the magazine roof on the south- east corner were removed. The original drains were exposed and brick- jelly- concrete with pure lime were laid. The dead and weathered plaster over the walls and ceiling of the magazine room was removed. The outer fortification wall has been pointed and the underground cells plastered. The original stone flooring of the northwest corner bastion was exposed after removing the accretionary structures, loose earth, debris and vegetation growth. The floor was re-laid as per original using both available old and new stones and proper drainage provided. The dilapidated Unit-I building inside the fort was taken up for conservation in a phased manner. In the first phase, damaged tiled roof with wooden truss was removed after documentation and re-erected using available old members and new teak wood members.

Before Conservation

After Conservation

Fort St. Angelo, Kannur, district Kannur

The double vaulted roof, inside walls, ceiling and pillars of the horse stable were plastered with hand grinded lime- mortar over a base coat after underpinning the walls and ceiling wherever necessary. The fallen moat wall on the outer side of the northern side was reconstructed. The top portion of the fort wall on the northern side was water tightened with lime concrete to stop water percolation and vegetation growth. The fort wall on the seaside eaten away by the sea waves lashing on the walls during high tides was strengthened and underpinned by inserting laterite blocks in combination mortar. The roof and sidewall of the horse stable found leaking and deep crack in the rood affected the building. Stone apron around the horse stable provided to stop the rainwater percolating into the walls. Laterite stone platform have provided for cannons. Cast- iron hand rail for the culvert has provided. Restoration of the information gallery inside the magazine building was carried out.

Before Conservation

After Conservation

Bekal Fort, Pallikkare, district Kasargod

The out- of – plumb and cracked walls of bastion on the eastern side were dismantled upto the cracked portion. After strengthening the foundation and consolidating the earth side, the walls were grouted and re- constructed as per the original. The bastion No.11 to 16 and the adjacent rampart wall on either side was water tightened and adjacent rampart wall was water tightened. Recess pointing was done on the northeast part of the fort wall. The sixteen ancient wells identified within the fort have been de-silted. The restoration work of the damaged bastion on the seaside after strengthening the foundation has been completed.

Before Conservation

After Conservation

Siva Temple, Chemmanthitta, district Thrissur

Prakara- wall with coping on the northern side was re-constructed as per the existing one. The dilapidated northern part of the mahadvara on the east restored as per original after strengthening the plinth. The damaged Vilakkumadam base portion in laterite and the steps of the temple tank was also restored as per original.

Before Conservation

After Conservation

Tenkailasanatha (Vadakkunnatha) Temple, Thrissur, district Thrissur

The southern and western gopuram of the temple was conserved properly after replacing the damaged wooden members with new ones as per original. Laying of copper tiles on the southern side of the roof of the Sree Rama Temple shrine was completed after replacing the rotten teak wood members as per the original. White washing to the prakara wall and applying synthetic paint to the doors was carried. The leaky roof of the Ganapathi sub-shrine was water tightened. The dilapidated thidapally (Kitchen) in the temple complex was dismantled and replacing the damaged architectural wooden members as per original.

Before Conservation

After Conservation

Jaina Temple, Sultan Battery, district Wynad

Stone apron around the main shrine on the northeast and southern sides was completed after providing necessary drainage system. After fencing the protected area the loose architectural members were fixed on pedestal. The protected area was providing with chain link fencing over a dwarf wall. Stone flooring was laid around the temple, besides providing new protection and signage boards.

Before Conservation

After Conservation

Fort Palakkad, Plakkad, district Palakkad

The damaged stuccowork on the top of the main gateway has been consolidated and mended. Four bastions have been provided with laterite steps to stop the soil erosion. De- silted of the eastern part of the moat and the moat walls were underpinned and strengthened. The top portion of bastion No.1 to 9 were tightened and the parapet brick walls were plastered. Stone apron was provided around the pillared mandapa (Information Gallery) in the fort. M.S grill gate was also provided at the entrance to regulate the tourist. The original pathway leading to the fort from outside main entrance was exposed and conserved.

Before Conservation

After Conservation

Siva Temple, Pallimanah, district Thrissur

The roof of northern cloister with Mangalore tiled roof was conserved properly after replacing the rotten teak wood members with the new ones. Proper drainage system was provided after exposing the original. The prakara wall was white washed and synthetic enamel paint applied to the doors. The dilapidated cloister mandapa has been reconstructed after replacing the damaged wooden architectural members. The decayed wooden beams, pillars, rafters, wall plates etc were repaired including replacing fully damaged ones with new ones and then repairing roofing with M.P tiles. The wooden members have been applied with wood preservative.

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Fort Vattakottai, Vattakottai, district Kanyakumari

The original tank inside the fort was exposed and stone revetment has aslo provided. The decayed plaster on the west and south side of brick coping of the fortification wall was re-plastered. Pointing to the outer surface of fortification wall towards seaside was carried out. The mandapa inside the fort on the southern side was restored as per original after removing the accretion walls and relaying of the damaged stone flooring.

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Parthasarathy and Krishna temples, Parthivapuram, district Kanyakumari

The damaged tiled roof of the Siva temple and Krishna temple was removed and relayed. The stone flooring was laid and decayed surface was re- plastered with combination mortar.

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Sri. Bhaktavatsala temple, Seramadevi, district Thirunelveli

The out of plumb northern side prakara wall was dismantled and reset after strengthening the foundation and providing brick coping as per original. The damaged western side prakara wall of the Sankara matha was carefully dismantled and damaged weathering course material removed. The work of reconstructing the same including dressing and mending the stone beams as per original and water tightening was completed.

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Valisvara Temple, Tiruvaliswaram, district Tirunelveli

The out of plumb eastern side prakara wall was dismantled and reset after strengthening the foundation and providing brick coping as per original. The work of reconstruction of veneer stonewalls to plumb and core filling between the two veneer stones in southern side prakara wall was completed.

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