“Water from every nook and corner of the 12-acre temple premises drains into the tank”
While the district administration is stressing the need to implement rainwater harvesting systems in buildings across the district, a system, which is thousands of years old, continues to effectively function at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple.
The ‘Pottramarai’ or Golden Lotus tank is one of the very few temple tanks in the district which still continues to have water even after scarce rains and the scorching sun.
“The rainwater harvesting system which is in place ensures that water from every nook and corner of the 12-acre temple premises drains into the temple tank,” a senior engineer at the Meenakshi temple said.
“There are pipe-like structures cleverly designed as pillars which take the water from the terraces in the temple during the rains, to the underground channels. Water from near the ‘Sannadhis’, ‘Prahaarams’ and the Adi streets also drain into the underground channels which lead to the temple tank,” he explains.
The channels and outlets are thoroughly checked and cleaned once every two years to ensure that there are no cracks, leaks or blocks which might affect the rainwater harvesting process.
Water retention in the tank was, however, not possible till 2012, since the floor of the tank had been lined with concrete.
A study was carried out by a team from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, following which the Golden Lotus tank was lined with clay obtained from the Keelamathur tank in 2012 which has ensured that the tank has been able to retain water since.
A process to purify the water in the temple tank through a bio-culture method is currently under way at the temple to prevent the growth of algae in the tank.
A temple official said that 10 kg of the ‘bacteria powder’ was being sprinkled into the tank once every 10 days for purification and that three such cycles had been completed.
“Additional pumps had been installed at the tank to ensure that there is constant movement of water since the purification process cannot happen in stagnant water. After every cycle, we have been testing the quality of the water which has improved.”