As work started to cover the dome of Mahabodhi temple with gold, two dozen commandos from Thailand are defending almost 300 kg gold in 13 pack in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya village.
Technical experts’ team from Thailand is to carry out that much awaited work to gold-plate the dome of the 1,500 year old temple.
After the 289 kg gold arrived by two days, pledged by Buddhist devotees from Thailand, it was conveyed to Bodh Gaya in a special plane from Bangkok. Technical professionals have eventually started the work under tight security in and around the temple, according to secretary of the Bodh Gaya temple management committee, N. Dorjee.
Member of the committee, Arvind Kumar Singh, said the work by Thai experts is being recorded on video since it engages treatment of the gold.
He added, “A 40-member team, encompassing 12 experts and 24 Thai commandos reached at Bodh Gaya with the gold held in 13 packs, and it would take around 40 to 50 days of work to complete.” The team is directed by Thailand’s former deputy prime minister General Pricha.
The local authorities too have established additional security to safeguard the gold.
Dorjee said last year Thailand’s King Bhumibol Atulya took the conclusion to cover the dome of the temple with gold.
But it took some time to get clearance from the Archaeological review of India (ASI) for the work. The ASI officials will furthermore supply technical supervision for the gold inlay work.
An exceptional plea will be held under the holy Bodhi tree behind the major temple Nov 16 in which around 500 devotees from Thailand, including those who pledged gold, are expected to take part, Dorjee said.
According to Dojree, the first phase of the work involving chemical remedy was accomplished in August to prepare the foundation for gold plating.
“Now steps have been established around the temple’s dome to enable professionals to reach the top of the structure to inlay it with thin gold sheet,” he said.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has also shown enthusiastic interest in the work.
A string of low-intensity bombs blew up in the temple complex in July. But there were no casualties and no damage was caused to the structure.
The 1,500 years-old 180 feet structure of the Mahabodhi temple is estimated to have been built between the 5th and 6th century. It was lost and forgotten then rediscovered in the 19th century by Alexander Cunningham, who founded the ASI in 1861.