Tipu’s Armoury – A monumental shift on way

The world is full of wonders, they say. But, no doubt, monumental are those which have transformed the world for better. And indeed, technology played a crucial role when the world witnessed revolutionary things happen over the years.

With the advancement of technology every passing day, impossible has remained just a word in the dictionary. Well, the technology that is being most talked about in Mysuru and surrounding districts, is the hydraulic jacks brought from the United States which are being used for the translocation of the erstwhile king of Mysore, Tipu Sultan’s armoury in Srirangapatna.

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Though the process comprising hydraulic jacks to translocate huge structures intact is not new to the world, all the eyes are struck on the technology as it is, for the first time, being used in India. And if the result is a success, it would be landmark shift in the country which has been spending a lot to preserve its historical monuments.

Officials working at the monument site are of the opinion that the process would be completed without any issues as the same technology was used in many countries to translocate monuments. Though the project has missed many deadlines, officials aren’t in hurry,  given the sensitivity of the project. The Railways is spending Rs 13.5 crore for the entire work which has been taken up by Wolfe House Movers, a US company specializing in relocating buildings, along with PSL, a New Delhi-based company.

The translocation of the armoury in Srirangapatna has been pending for nearly five years owing to various reasons. One of the reasons that made the State Archaeological Survey sceptical was the possibility of the translocation of the monument intact as the process was not attempted in India earlier. Moreover, the structure was made of lime mortar and bricks and hence could not be dismantled as in the case of structures built using granite or slab stones. This had impeded the completion of track-doubling between Mysuru and Bengaluru.

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While most of the Mysuru-Bengaluru track-doubling is completed, the 1.7 km pending doubling of the track in Srirangapatna, which if completed, can further reduce the travel time by five minutes. As many as 19 trains, including 13 expresses, run between the two cities every day.

The pre-move activities at the monument site are in full swing and the project officials are ensuring everything is done rightly before the shifting of the armoury to about 100 meters from its original place. The entire process of shifting the armoury is learnt to be completed by March, 2017.

How the hydraulic jacks work

The mechanism to be adopted for lifting the armoury as a single unit from the ground level is simple – insert the jacks below the building in a unified manner and operate them simultaneously. This would lift the whole structure and would be placed in the designated spot. According to the officials, the armoury area is about 50×80 sqft and is ten feet below ground level. The area will be dug 12 feet, drill girders to support the structure before lifting it with remote-controlled hydraulic jacks and placing it on a dolly. The structure then will be rolled to its new location on a concrete path, the officials explained.

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Major intact translocation of buildings in the past

Fu Gang Building, China

The Fu Gang Building in China weighing 15,140 tons is said to have entered the Guinness World Records as the heaviest structure moved intact. The multi-story building was moved to its new location, 118 feet away, in 2004.

Marble Arch, London

London’s famous monument Marble Arch built in 1847 was originally the entrance to the newly-rebuilt Buckingham Palace. Following the expansion of Buckingham Palace, it was moved to a location near Hyde Park, with work being completed in 1851.

Yalova Atatürk Mansion, Turkey

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first President of the Republic of Turkey ordered to move his summer house, the Yalova Atatürk Mansion, four meters to the east in 1936. The shifting of the monument was done to save a single tree.

The Cudecom Building in Bogotá, Colombia

The eight-storey Cudecom Building in Bogotá in Colombia, weighing 7,000 metric tons was moved in October 1974 using Steel Rollers. The move of the Cudecom Building was in the Guinness Book of World Records for 30 years. This structure was the heaviest building ever moved successfully until the Fu Gang Building in China was moved in 2004.

Belle Tout lighthouse, England

The 850-tonne Belle Tout lighthouse, built in 1831, was moved more than 17 metres in 1999 due to cliff erosion. It was pushed by four hydraulic jacks along four steel and concrete beams.

The Shubert Theatre, Minneapolis

The oldest existing theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, weighing 2,908 tons, was relocated to a nearby place. It took five bulldozers 12 days to complete the trek. 100 hydraulic jacks that lifted the building and 70 dollies that formed a temporary foundation for the journey through the city streets.

Statue of Ramesses II, Cairo

The 3,200-year-old Statue of Ramesses II in Cairo was moved on 25 August 2006 from Ramses Square to a new museum site.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial, New York

Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the 1802 home of Alexander Hamilton in New York City, was relocated in 2008 to nearby St. Nicholas Park. It is actually the second time the 298-ton mansion has been moved. In 1889, it was relocated from its original site on West 143rd Street to a church’s property two blocks away.

– Mujahid Deputy

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