GUWAHATI, May 11 � A crack has developed in the 300-year-old Na-Pukhuri archaeological site in Sivasagar district. The monument is protected by the State Directorate of Archaeology. The Na-Pukhuri Shiva Doul was built and the Na-Pukhuri or the Rudrasagar tank linked with it was dug during the reign of Swargadeo Lakhi Singha. The monument has been temporarily closed for visitors now.
The crack in the temple premises came to light when Kangkanjyoti Saikia, Sivasagar Zone conservation officer of the State Archaeology Directorate reported it on May 5.
According to Ranjana Sarma, Deputy Director of the Directorate, a crack line was noticed at a distance of about two metres from the southern side of the Na-Pukhuri Shiva temple in an east-west direction and it has taken a turn with a northern direction in a zigzag manner at the western end of the temple, just at a distance of about one metre from the temple. The length of the crack line is around 180 metres and its width is 15 cm, while its maximum depth is found to be 1.8 metres. The length and depth of the crack line vary at places.
Gradually, cracks or fractures have been noticed in the northern side of the monument too and a thin crack line is also observed just at the middle part of the mandapa portion of the Na-Pukhuri Shiva temple in a north-south direction, which has posed a great threat to the monument, said Sarma, who was deputed to inspect the site along with Ajit Kumar Borah, senior conservation officer of the Directorate.
The Archaeology Directorate has already written to Prof Arup Kumar Sarma, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering of IIT Guwahati with a request to use their expertise in assessing the situation in a comprehensive manner.
The Directorate has also sought help from the NE Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat in assessing the situation, particularly the seismology- related aspects of the development. It has consulted the Cotton College Geology Department too in this respect.
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) has a godown on the bank of the Rudrasagar tank and movement of heavy vehicles to and from this godown on a daily basis might have an adverse impact on the monument. The ONGC has by this time ordered that the godown should be vacated.
The Sivasagar Deputy Commissioner has also evinced keen interest to protect the monument, said Sarma, adding, a team of archaeologists is monitoring the situation as per the advice of geologists based in India and USA.
Significantly, the water level of the Na-Pukhuri is gradually sinking. It needs mention here that Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Guwahati Circle, Dr Milan Kumar Chauley had told this correspondent that the water level of the water bodies connected with the Ahom era monuments has a link with the stability of their structure.