Wooden ramps placed at entrances to help people with disabilities
Devotees and pilgrims visiting Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam raise their eyebrows over the additional amenities being provided at the temple. Three major schemes executed at the temple are: provision of a wooden ramp at a couple of places, setting up of stone slabs on the area between the Sri Udayavar shrine and the Sesharayar mandapam and renovation of the Suriya Pushkarani.
The wooden make-shift ramps had been set up at a couple of places — the Aryabattal Vasal and Nazhikettan Vasal. These are the two main gates through which one has to cross to reach the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Ranganathar.
The stone steps at both these gates are in a raised level and often devotees either fall or find it difficult to cross these entrances. During overcrowded temple festival days, the problem is worsened.
“Women carrying or accompanying children and the aged persons besides the people with disabilities bore the brunt of the highly-elevated stone steps. But the setting up of wooden make-shift ramps have come in handy for the devotees, particularly the aged persons and people with disabilities. The temple provides wheelchair for their convenience. The operation of the wheelchair has become easy after the ramps were built.
“As the temple gates at these entrances are to be closed at night, the ramps have been set up using make-shift planks. A number of temple employees are involved daily for assembling and dismantling the heavy ramp; but the devotees benefit to a great extent,” says the temple sources.
The temple authorities have taken up another work on fixing stone slabs on the sprawling space between the Sri Udayavar shrine and the Sehshrayar mandapam. Till now, the floor, measuring about 9,800 sq. ft., was covered with sand and it was too difficult for the people with disabilities and the aged to circumvent the temple prakaram.
For achieving an even surface all around, water is applied first and the uneven portions are cut out using an electric appliance. “About 610 stone slabs are being used, ensuring both an even and smooth surface in the area,” say the temple sources.
R. Kannan, a resident of East Chithirai Street, however, says that the sand area acted as a water harvesting structure. It should not turn as a parking lot for vehicles.
M. Thiruvengadam Yadhav, coordinator of Tiruvarangam Nagar Nala Sangam, says the wooden ramp helped the people with disabilities. He wants some clarification for converting the sand area into a stone floor.
Official sources say during the festival days such as Vaikunta Ekadasi and Bhoopathy Tirunal, a large number of devotees assembled at the temple.