All set. Jacks have been inserted beneath the 228-year old armoury where the erstwhile king of Mysore Tipu Sultan stored gun powder and the monument is awaiting a monumental shift to its new location which would commence on March 3.
The shifting process, 100 meters from its current place, would take three days as the monument would be moved carefully – 20 to 30 meters a day. The monument, before moving to its permanent location, would be moved to a temporary location in the way to change the direction of the armoury, said Ravichandran, Deputy Chief Engineer, South Western Railways, Mysuru Division. Once the armoury is translocated, the track doubling work would begin, he added.
The translocation of armoury, taken up at a cost of Rs 13.5 crore, would pave the way for the pending 1.5-km stretch of railway track doubling in Srirangapatna. While the most of 136-km track doubling between Mysuru and Bengaluru is completed, the armoury was impeding the works as it is in the way and the Department of Heritage, Archaeology and Museum was in no mood to lose it.
Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, who visited the spot to inspect the ongoing works, was of the opinion that the pending stretch would be completed by April-end and cut short the travel time by 2-minutes.
The MP pointed that there were many historical monuments which needed to be taken care of. He cited Maharaja’s College as an instance which he said ought to be renovated. “We should learn from UK. They are concerned about the safety and protection of their heritage while on the other hand, we careless,” he said.
The Wolfe House Movers, a US company specialising in relocating buildings, along with PSL, a New Delhi-based company has taken up the translocation work.
The pre-move preparations are under way, well almost completed, and the armoury is elevated one foot and is standing on the support of wood boxes and steel beams. The monument would be lifted further one foot in height before the rollers are inserted for the translocation process.
The translocation of 900-tonne armoury, one of the eight built by Tipu Sultan, is a first-of-its-kind in India involving 70 workers including six foreigners. Though the technology to move monuments intact is a century-old in the United States, it for the first time that the same is being used in India.
The much-talked about armoury was built with shallow bricks, lime and stone mortar, using a processed mixture of eggs with shells, jaggery, and soap nut. The monument has three arches inside and a pyramid-like structure attached to the roof.
Strong monument, never seen before
Speaking to City Today, Jamin Buckingham, who is the project manager, said that he never saw such a hard historic monument elsewhere. “It’s a different type of building. Though made of shallow bricks and lime mortar, it is very much strong. I have seen stone-building crumble but this is amazing,” he said.
“The outer walls are 4-ft thick which is unusual,” he said pointing towards the armoury.
By Mujahid Deputy