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Archaeology Publication


InArchCenter ID:- IACBN0019

Understanding restoration and conservation of structures:-

The major objective of conservation and restoration of structures is to retain its setting in its time, traditional building techniques, materials, style and every possible aspect which identifies with the purpose of the built entity. When it comes to conserving historic structures, a mix of the processes of repair, restoration and preservation needs to be carried out to reinstate the structure as close as possible to its original form.

The restoration process involves the assessment and analysis of the existing conditions and problems. A thorough survey through photographs, photogrammetry, and measured drawings helps in the overall visualization and condition assessment. Various techniques for architectural restoration like simulation and formation, stitching and filling, disassembly and reassembly, replacement, cleaning, strengthening etc. together complete the entire process.

Many such techniques and newer technologies are being adopted by various organizations and authorities to conserve the heritage of India.

Evolution of temples as powerful architectural marvels:-

With evolving civilizations, the concepts of temples gained momentum across India. Conceived as religious, educational and administrative strongholds, the temples in India are the epitome of cultural integrity! They are a chronicle of the rich cultural and social engagements and give us a glimpse into the life of the past. These sanctums are marvellous amalgamations of architecture, science and arts.

Some of the earliest examples of places of spirituality are the caves and rock-cut temples. As time passed, temples grew from being modest small spaces to ornate stone edifices and eventually elaborate complexes! Temples across India are majorly classified based on their styles of architecture. Today, these legacies stand crumbling and there is a growing need to restore them.

Conserving temple legacies of Maharashtra:-

Maharashtra is home to various temples from different time periods such as the early cave and rock-cut temples like the ones in Ajanta and Ellora to fully developed complexes of temples like the ones at Trimbakeshwar. Many of these temples are still being used and have high importance in the lives of people. These temples need to be preserved not only for their cultural identities but also for the faith that people have in them.

Markandeshwar temple

The currently most talked about is the restoration of the Markandeshwar temple taken up by the Archaeological Survey of India. The large scale conservation of these Nagara style temples famously known as the “Khajurao of Vidarbha” was initiated in 2017. Detailed documentation, investigations, organizing, cleaning and reassembling has taken place since then. A reconstruction of the destroyed Shikhara has been in full swing.

The Maharashtra Archaeology department has identified the weak conditions of the caves at Dharashiv which are impacted by rains. The caves date back to the sixth century and have been a subject of debate as to whether the caves belong to the Buddhist or Jain religion.

INTACH and the ASI under the guidance of UNESCO have extensively worked on restoring the Elephanta caves. It is responsible for monitoring and development and preservation of not just the structural heritage but for the intangible aspects of it too. Conservation in terms of monitoring and stabilization of the rock face, construction of supports to the cave structures where pillars have collapsed, and consolidation of cave floors and construction of a parapet wall surrounding the site is taken into consideration.

The ASI has been extensively working on the preservation of temples in Trimbakeshwar. The temples have been tried to be preserved to their original state with work done in interiors as well as exteriors. Two of the temples have been declared as protected and many other shrines have been undergoing various processes of restoration and preservation.

Temple restorations in Maharashtra are not just limited to the temples of elaborate dedicated complexes. Temples of recent build or the ones which are made within a bustling settlement that need preservation are also being taken up by private firms and trusts. Some such temples nestled in the heart of Mumbai the “deulwadis” are being restored to their original bustling self!

This process of conservation and efforts made by such organizations have significantly helped us conserve heritage. We must take steps and must educate the masses about the importance of heritage and hence channelize them towards better handling of such structures.


1.Burdhan, Anand. Rediscovering Indian Museology and conservation. New Delhi: Sandeep Prakashan Publications, 2010.

2.Jeyaraj V. Conservation Manual for heritage sites. Director of Museums, Tamil Nadu State Government Museum, Chennai.

3.Nagar, Shantilal. Protection, Conservation and Preservation of Indian Monuments. New Delhi: Aryan Books International, 1993.

4.Sudharshan, S. Vimanarchana kalpam Vol-1&2. Tanjore: Director, T.M.S.S.L, 2005.

5.Rao, M.S. Nagaraja. "The Concept of Jirnnoddhara." Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute 60/61 (2000): p.15-20. .

6.Sharma, Sadhish. "Kumbhābhiṣekam – Tangible and Intangible Heritage." Lat updated September 18, 2020.

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