Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Raise the Roof Volume 54 Number 3, May/June 2001
by Ritu Mishra

[image] Archaeologists used a simple pulley to raise roof blocks at a Hindu temple. (Courtesy Ritu Mishra) [LARGER IMAGE]

Recently, the forlorn Shiva temple at Bhojpur got a lift from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The colossal, roofless temple has waited a millennium for the resumption of work that seems to have been unceremoniously halted in the eleventh century.

The temple, a legacy of King Bhoja (ca. A.D.1000-1050), bears half-finished stone carvings, mason's marks, and drawings etched in stone delineating the original architect's plans for the structure. The ASI decided to save the shrine from weather damage by following the blueprint left behind 1,000 years ago. They found the quarry used for the initial construction and, using a pulley, raised eight boulders, each weighing eight tons, to the roof. The simple pulley system was instituted when modern cranes failed to position the boulders.

Amid doubts over the load-bearing capacity of the structure, reconstruction has been delayed pending an expert report. The Shiva temple will have to wait a little longer to get its roof.

© 2001 by the Archaeological Institute of America