Bhubaneswar: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar is excited to share news of the selection of its pioneering research project titled “Forging the Past: Investigating the Manufacturing of Iron Beams Used in Konarka Sun Temple and Analyzing Their Socio-Economic Impact on the Local Community,” has been selected by the Indian Knowledge System (IKS), under the Ministry of Education, Government of India.
Under the esteemed Competitive Grants Program for 2022-23 of the Bharatiya Gyan Samvardhan Yojana, the project, spearheaded by Dr. Soobhankar Pati, Associate Professor at IIT Bhubaneswar, has secured funding. The project aims to delve into the manufacturing techniques of the iron beams at the Konarka Sun Temple, shedding light on India’s historically rich yet often overlooked technological achievements.
In line with the vision of Bharatiya Gyan Samvardhan Yojana, which promotes interdisciplinary research and the revival of forgotten technology, Dr. Pati emphasized that the study would be non-destructive. He reassured that no alterations would be made to the historical iron beams of Konarka during the investigation.
Dr. Pati articulated, “This project entails an examination of ancient technical expertise, scrutiny of archaeological facets, and socio-economic assessments, with the ultimate goal of reconstructing an ancient iron-making laboratory in the future. Past records will be revisited to uncover any missing links.”
Joining Dr. Pati as co-investigators are Dr. Naresh Chandra Sahu and Dr. Parthasarathi De from IIT Bhubaneswar, and Dr. Siva Shankar Panda from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Collaborators in this research include Prof O.N. Mohanty, Ex-Professor at IIT Kharagpur, and Dr. D.B. Garnayak from the ASI.
An intriguing update on the project’s advancement reveals that corrosion studies conducted on-site, using a portable machine, have yielded promising outcomes. The Konarka iron beams showcased corrosion resistance nearly two orders higher than contemporary steel beams. Despite potential drawbacks such as lacking ductility and weldability, Dr. Pati emphasized the profound lessons that can be gleaned from India’s historical technological advancements.
This research not only aligns with the mission of IKS but also underscores the potential for India to reclaim its historical technological eminence. The dedicated team at IIT Bhubaneswar, alongside co-investigators and collaborators, remains committed to preserving and disseminating this invaluable knowledge.