The projects will be implemented with the inputs got from a competition for students of architecture in Tamil Nadu.

Siruthuli, the environment organisation working towards restoration of water bodies, has embarked on a project to improve facilities at Perur Padithurai.

The place on the banks of River Noyyal in the temple town, Perur, in its present state reflects a picture of neglect. The unhygienic environment is least conducive for performing last rites. And the river there is polluted.

The Siruthuli's proposal aims at restoring the pilgrimage status to the place by making it hygienic and user friendly, says Vanitha Mohan, Managing Trustee. “The challenge is to clean the water, strengthen the banks, and provide facilities for performing last rites.”

In the run-up to implementing the project, Siruthuli, in association with the Indian Institute of Architects-Coimbatore Chapter, conducted a competition for students of architecture in Tamil Nadu.

P. Arun Prasad, member, Indian Institute of Architects – Coimbatore Chapter, who co-ordinated the conduct of the competition, says the students were given the following objectives – i) redesign the steps leading to the river bank from the temple complex in order to reinforce the importance of the ritual and make the space more functional and aesthetic; ii) to identify existing problems such as lack of hygiene, lack of amenities to perform rituals, etc. and create design solutions to address the same; iii) to ensure that the proposed design is equitable for all pilgrims and temple authorities; iv) to provide innovative and sustainable environmental concepts; and, v) to provide a safe and secure environment that enhances public usage.

Of the eight entries the competition organisers received, they awarded the first and third prizes to students from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, and the second prize to the students of Thiyagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai.

Mr. Prasad says Siruthuli will take cues from all the three projects while implementing the development works.

It will establish a walkers' pathway along the river for about a km, strengthen bunds using vegetation and erect a water treatment plant to clean the water.

A couple of years ago, Siruthuli desilted the place and widened the banks.

To execute the padithurai project, it plans to approach the Union Ministry of Tourism for funds under the heritage town development scheme.

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