The renovation of a 300-year-old Shiva temple in Parry’s Corner took a tragic turn when a compound wall collapsed, killing two workers on Friday.

The police said, M. Mathiazaghan (33), a resident of Muthtamil Nagar in Saligramam, and R. Raja (27), a resident of Valasaravakkam, died on the spot. A. Kumar (32) of Nehru Nagar Main Road, Saligramam, lost his left leg, and S. Nataraj (22) of Muthtamil Nagar, also in Saligramam, sustained serious injuries on his hands, chest and legs.

The police have registered a case of accidental death.

“The Kachaleeswarar temple on Armenian Street belongs to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE). The tank was being renovated for kumbhabhishekam, slated for 2016,” said Sampath, executive officer of the temple.

Around 4.30 p.m. on Friday, eight of the workers took a break and went to have tea nearby, while the other four attempted to uproot an old tree near the eight-foot-tall compound wall of the temple tank.

The wall which was in a dilapidated condition and collapsed on them.

The trapped men raised an alarm and the other workers rushed to help but two died on the spot.

“Adequate safety measures should have been put in place before undertaking major renovation work at the ancient temple,” said Chellaih, inspector (law and order), Esplanade police. According to archaeologists, the temple was built in 1728 by Bhalavai Chettiyar, a dubash with the East India Company, and the first kumbhabhishekam was conducted the same year.

“There is a portrait of Bhalavai’s wife, Sundari, inside the temple, on the southern side,” said K. Sridaran, retired deputy superintendent of the State department of archaeology.

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