A ancient sculpture of a lion was found during excavation for the controversial heritage corridor project in Odisha’s Puri, which could date back to the Ganga dynasty, the Archeological Survey of India or ASI has said.
The East Ganga Dynasty had ruled Kalinga, the ancient name of Odisha, from the early 5th century to the early 15th century.
The ancient lion sculpture was found on the premises of the Emar Mutt near the 12th-century Jagannath Temple.
The ASI’s Bhubaneswar Circle Superintending Archeologist Arun Kumar Mallick, along with a team of experts, rushed to Puri for inspection of the recovered lion sculpture which was partly damaged.
“The ancient lion sculpture could be of the Ganga dynasty era. However, more on it can be said only after it is tested in the archaeological laboratory,” Mr Mallick said.
This is the third such lion sculpture found during excavation works in the 75-metre periphery area of the Jagannath temple for the Puri Heritage Corridor Project.
In an affidavit submitted before the Orissa High Court on May 9, the ASI mentioned the recovery of two such sculptures from the site.
The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had earlier told the high court that no heritage impact assessment studies were conducted before the commencement of the project.
“At several locations stratified deposits of about 15 to 20 ft have taken place, which has caused irreparable damage to the heritage site,” it had said.
Following the unearthing of the sculpture, locals demanded a ground-penetrating radar survey (GPRS) before the digging work is continued at the periphery of the shrine.
“The GPRS would have helped the government to spot the presence of antiques under the ground,” said SN Mishra, a veteran archaeologist.
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