The long queue on Sunday at the venue of the just-concluded World Classical Tamil Conference said it all.

Young, middle aged and the old braved rain and shine to catch a glimpse of the display at the exhibition which ended after a week's extension.

“Four lakh people visited the exhibition since it was thrown open to people on June 24,” School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu said, distributing certificates to persons who worked at the venue.

Right from the morning, the police guided people to the exhibition hall, which was divided into six compartments – each focussing on different themes.

Principal Secretary/Commissioner, Department of Museums, T.S. Sridhar, said ‘Tamil Language', ‘Tamil Literature', ‘Archaeology', ‘Culture and Civilisation' ‘Indus Valley Civilisation' and ‘Sound and Animation' were the sections.

Each section had a rich collection of materials that appealed not only to the common public, but also academics.

At the ‘Indus Civilisation' section, which was organised with assistance from the Indus Research Centre of Roja Muthiah Research Library Unit, Chennai, people got a hang of ancient civilisations, their period and artefacts unearthed at archaeological sites. Also on display at the section were earthen wares, model of Harappan architecture, pictures of archaeologists, Indus Valley signs, among other things.

Opposite this section was another one displaying ancient weights, a silk sari with the 1,330 Thirukkural couplets, replica of an excavated site from Thirukovilur in Villupuram district, etc. The cynosure of all eyes at the venue was the collection of 86 copper plates, unearthed last month from a village near Myladuthurai. The ‘seppu pattayam' has details of donations made by Rajendra-I. A caretaker at the exhibition hall said visitors were enthusiastic to learn about the discovery and its contents as well. Highlighting the importance of the copper plates, the Department of Archaeology of the State government had brought out a booklet that was distributed there.Musical instruments, swords, bow, registration documents of the erstwhile Pudukkotai Samasthanam, photographs of forts also formed part of the exhibits.

Mr. Thennarasu said that but for the structural stability of the exhibition premises, the government would have kept the exhibition open for a few more days in deference to the people's wish.