The Theradi in Tiruvottiyur no longer has the landmark after which it is named – the parking yard of the Thyagarajaswamy temple’s car. With the Highways Department demolishing structures all along the narrow Tiruvottiyur High Road, the temple car shed and tall mandapam to which the utsava idols are usually carried to be placed in the car too have been dismantled.
Work to widen the 5 km-stretch of the road from Toll gate to Eranavur was initiated in 2005-06 and is expected to be completed by June 2013. Ma.Ki. Ramanan, a Tamil scholar and resident of Tiruvottiyur, said many residents were wondering where the new temple car that is being made would stand. “For the past 20 years, the famous temple has not had a car. Now the State government is in the process of making a new one. We do not know where the temple car would be parked and where the mandapam would come up. We have a Theradi without one,” he remarked.
Along with private patta lands, a large portion of land belonging to the temple was also acquired for the much-needed and awaited road widening project. Sources in the temple administration said that the temple car would be ready in six months and a location close to the original Theradi would be chosen to park it. Another landmark that was lost to the project is a clock tower that is said to have been constructed by a former municipal chairman in the 1960s. “It was not maintained properly and had not been functioning for a long time. Nevertheless, it was a landmark for people in the area. A ‘pillaiyar’ temple that marked a turning to Manali also vanished in just a day. Many landmarks have disappeared due to this project. But we can only hope that it would augur well for us and prevent accidents,” said Poornachandira Vellaisamy, a resident of Kanakkar Street in Theradi.
Though hundreds of tiny shops and commercial establishments have had to make way for the road, residents have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the project. According to sources in the Highways Department, acquisition of land is expected to be completed by the end of this month. Around Rs. 16 crore has been spent on land acquisition alone for the project, which had been moving very slowly initially.