The Archaeological Survey of India has been working to restore the Ta Prohm temple for over a decade now. The temple is famous for the trees growing into the structure (and was the picturesque backdrop to one of the Tomb Raider movies), but this state of nature interacting with architecture brings with it a unique set of conservation challenges.
The overlapping of trees and man-made structures at Cambodia’s Ta Prohm temple made the Archeological Survey of India’s restoration work difficult, so they had rope in IIT-Chennai to instruct them in structural engineering.
In a video “India-Cambodia Relations – A Labour of Love” highlighting the role Indian has played in restoration of Ta Prohm, the third most visited site after Angkor Wat and the Bayon temple in the Angkor region, posted online by the external affairs ministry on May 5, Indian archaeologists spoke about the challenges they faced in restoration.
“The restoration work at Ta Prohm temple was quite a challenging task as about 150 huge trees are growing in the complex, and some of them are growing over the structures,” ASI director general Rakesh Tewari in the video.
When the ASI took over the restoration charge in 2003, Tewari noted the temple was “all crumbled down” and resettling the monument wasn’t an easy job.
The Archaeological Survey of India is embarking on a project to survey the Nalanda University complex via satellite. Why is this getting some air time on SEAArch? Because there’s an exhibition going on about Buddhism in Asia at Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum, with Nalanda as the focal point.
19 November 2007 (Earthtimes.org, Bangkok Post) – Preah Vihear, a hotly contested khmer temple that straddles between the Thai and Cambodian borders is to be renovated by a neutral party – the Archaeological Survey of India. The temple sits on a high cliff and rests on Cambodian soil; however, entrance into the temple is via the Thai side of the border. I’m not sure how this move resolves any diplomatic tensions over the site, however.
The other interesting aspect of the two stories is the involvement of the Archaeological Survey of India, which has been active in restoring many Hindu temples throughout Southeast Asia. Notably, it had helped restore the Prambanan temples in Indonesia after it as damaged during last year’s earthquake as well as the Ta Prohm, another Angkoran temple.
Vietnam and India have penned a joint declaration of a strategic partnership; while the partnership is centred around building close bilateral relations in the areas of economy, politics and technology, there is also a small mention about the survey of the Archaeological Survey of India in India and the restoration of Cham monuments.
07 July 2007 (Viet Nam News) – Vietnam and India have penned a joint declaration of a strategic partnership; while the partnership is centred around building close bilateral relations in the areas of economy, politics and technology, there is also a small mention about the survey of the Archaeological Survey of India in India and the restoration of Cham monuments.
Viet Nam and India have agreed to establish a new strategic partnership as part of relations, according to a joint declaration signed in New Delhi yesterday during Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dungâ€™s State visit to India from that ended yesterday.
In the agreement, Prime Minister Dung and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that India-Viet Nam relations had been extremely friendly and cordial since the foundations were laid by President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Nehru more than 50 years ago. They also mentioned satisfactory results during an earlier meeting in the Philippines this past January 2007 regarding the ASEAN Summit.
Both leaders noted with satisfaction the expansion of bilateral co-operation in the fields of culture, education and human resource development. The two sides also agreed to expedite a survey by a team of specialists from the Archaeological Survey of India and take its advice regarding the restoration of the Cham monuments in Viet Nam. The Vietnamese side welcomed Indiaâ€™s contribution to the restoration project.
New conservation project awarded to the Archaeological Survey of India for another Cambodian Temple.
17 July 2006 (Press Information Bureau of India, and thereafter released on several Indian news sources) – New conservation project awarded to the Archaeological Survey of India for another Cambodian Temple.
After the successful completion of the Angkor Wat Project in Cambodia, the Cambodian Government has now assigned to the Archeological Survey of India another important project for restoration, the famous 12th Century â€œ Prasat Ta Prohmâ€ Temple complex, built by King Jayavarman VII. The progress on this project was reviewed today by the Minister of Tourism & Culture, Smt. Ambika Soni and Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, Mr. Lay Prohas during a luncheon meeting, here today. The lunch was hosted by Smt. Soni in honour of the visiting dignitary.
The restoration work of Ta Prohm Temple complex, which is also situated in the Angkor Region and ranks high amongst the most important monuments of that area, is quite a challenging task as about 150 huge trees are growing in the complex and some of them are growing over the structures. Roots have penetrated the foundation and dislodged the stones of walls, vaults, towers etc.