‘Chittorgarh’s Vijay Stambh to remain close for the tourists for a year’
Udaipur : Chittorgarh’s famous icon – the Tower of Victory or ‘Vijay Stambha’ is sick and this time it is in for a long medication to restore its health and glory. The heritage structure which is a protected monument under Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has been closed down for a year for the visitors and will re-open only after it gets back its sheen after a complete chemical treatment. Peeling of plaster, air cracks, moss and lichen growth on walls have warranted immediate repairs of the 9 storied tower which was erected by Rana Kumbha in 1440, to commemorate his victory over the combined forces of Malwa and Gujarat led by Mahmud Khilji.
” It has been closed for the people since July 1. The restoration works will be carried out for a year in a phased manner which would not be possible without restricting entry for the public ” said R.K Meena, Conservation Assistant of Chittorgarh fort. Due to rain, dust and pollution accumulated over the years, the tower had lost its sheen. At Chittorgarh is situated one of the largest zinc smelting complexes of the world and many cement making factories. Since industrial pollution lay gradual effect on monuments, timely intervention and restoration work is necessary, said an officer. The ASI has undertaken restoration works for both the outer walls as well as the stone pillars inside the tower. “ Chemical washing is a time taking process and has to be conducted in phased manner. Mixtures of chemical solutions like ammonia, lanolin are used. First a chemical coating for cleaning is given and then after an interval another coat for algae protection is done. The final touch ensures sheen of the monument” Shashi Prabha Swami, chief chemist at the Department of Archaeology and Museums said. This involves handling of chemicals and if public entry is not restricted, restoration works cannot be effectively done, she added.
Ten years to build the tower
The tower rises to a height of 120 ft (36.5 m) and has a girth of 30 ft. at the base. It is built partly of red sandstone and partly of white marble. It is believed that the tower took 10 years to be completed. The elegant limestone structure is ornately carved and studded with splendid sculptures of Hindu deities. There are sculptures and carvings on the exterior walls of the tower. The tower is visible from any section of the town below. And for reaching tower top one have to climb 157 steps, one can take great view of the surroundings. The inside walls of the tower are carved with images of Gods, weapons, etc.