200-year-old pillars to be changed at a cost of Rs. 4 crore
A Rs. 4 crore project to replace all 74 pillars in South and East Corridors around the Golden Lotus Tank of the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here, which are estimated to be more than 200 years old and had developed cracks, is under way in full swing.
In the first phase, a total of ten pillars would be removed along with the beams, roof-top slabs and the nearby wall, temple sources told The Hindu on Friday. The South Corridor has a total of 42 pillars and the East Corridor 32 pillars.
The first phase is likely to be completed by September with the total project likely to be completed by December 2013. In the second phase, 12 pillars will be replaced.
Many of these pillars have already gone past their life period and are worn down. Several temporary pillars have been erected between them to serve as props, which will be removed once the new pillars are in place.
The entire cost of the first phase is met by grants from the Central 13 Finance Commission, which has allotted Rs. 47 lakh for 2011-12. The temple authorities are hoping that the Finance Commission would release another Rs. 41 crore for the current fiscal towards this project. The remainder of the project cost will be borne by temple and, if necessary, donor support will be sought.
Stones from Bangalore
A team of 40 sculptors and workers headed by Kumaraguru Stapathi from Panruti, Cuddalore district, is working on the temple premises and eight pillars have already been completed. Great care is taken to ensure that new pillars resemble the old ones exactly and that the tradition is retained
The stones for the temple works were procured from a quarry at Koyra near Bangalore. A speciality of the stones is that they are not blasted using explosives, but chiselled out either manually or mechanically. Stones from the same quarry were also sourced earlier by the temple during the structural works carried ahead of the kumbabishekam.