The Telegraph
Thursday , October 13 , 2016

Old ways to restore palace

A worker renovates the Rani Bakhri in Sambalpur. Telegraph picture

Sambalpur, Oct. 12: Traditional construction methods have made a comeback with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), which is renovating the Rani Bakhri (Queen's Palace) here, resorting to age-old techniques to return the historical monument to its former glory.

Intach began renovation of the historical palace in July and has opted for traditional methods to restore its sheen. Intach experts are using a paste of jaggery, gum of wood apple, lime and ritha (tree) for plastering the palace's outer wall.

"We are following the same method that was used to plaster the outer wall during construction of the palace for the renovation," said Intach's Sambalpur chapter member Deepak Panda.

"We have also procured a traditional grinder ( ghana) to grind the material and prepare the paste. We have decided not to use cement for plastering the structure so that the structure retains its originality," he said.

The state government has sanctioned Rs 1 crore for the renovation of the historical structure, which is a testament to Sambalpur's rich history.

"We have engaged 15 persons, who have the skill to renovate the monument, for the renovation. An engineer, who is an expert in conservation of heritage buildings, is guiding them and supervising the work. The renovation work would take some time to complete," Panda added.

The three-storey palace was built by fifth king of Sambalpur Baliyar Singh during 1650. It is said that Baliyar Singh had built the palace as a mark of love for his daughter.

The Rajasthani miniature paintings, which had been painted on the walls of the palace, made it a tourist attraction. However, because of lack of maintenance, it was lying in a shambles. Water seeping from the roof of the palace has already erased the paintings on the wall.

"It was essential to renovate the historical structure. If the place is properly maintained, it will attract tourists from across the state. Sambalpur is a historical city with several historical structures located here. The government should take steps to renovate the other structures as well," said local resident Ritesh Sahu.

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