Bhopal: The corona-induced lockdown has not only forced the closure of archaeological monuments and museums across the state, but has also brought the excavation, conservation and reconstruction projects to a complete standstill.
One of the major projects to be hit is the excavation underway in Ujjain to locate the remains of the period when legendary king Vikramaditya I ruled from the ancient city. An official of the State Archaeological Department told Free Press that the remains of the era of the famous ruler are yet to be discovered.
The Department had started the excavation work in January 2020. However, it had to be stopped in March due to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown. In July, the department sought the mandatory permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to resume excavations. The permission was delayed. The department had decided to resume the work from April 15 this year. However, another lockdown came in the way.
Uncovering the rich past
The official said that culture and tourism minister Usha Thakur is especially interested in uncovering the rich past of the ancient city. Another project of the State Archaeology Department—that of conservation work at Lalbagh Palace in Indore—has also come to a stop due to the lockdown.
The department was also about to commence the reconstruction of the Siddeshwar Temple, an 11th Century structure that was discovered during the excavations in Omkareshwar about one and a half years ago. The temple was to be reconstructed on the basis of the remains found at the site. That project has also been put on hold. He said that the department would try to secure permission from the administration for continuing the work after the present round of lockdown ended.
Excavation work at Tevar
The ASI has also been forced to abandon all its ongoing projects in the state, including the excavation work at the Tevar, in Jabalpur, Piyush Bhatt, superintending archaeologist, ASI, Bhopal Circle, said. The conservation work at other sites has also been put off until the situation improves for want of labourers.