Tamil Nadu Government is in the process of documenting about 25,000 Tamil inscriptions found in different temples across the state under an ambitious programme to preserve and protect heritage sites and documents.

“There are about 25,000 inscriptions across various temples in the state. We have already documented about 23,000 inscriptions and the remaining would be done by next year”, State Archaeological commissioner T S Sridhar said. The Tamil inscriptions found in various temples across the state are highest in numbers after Sanskrit, Mr. Sridhar said.

A total of 38,465 temples and 85 monuments, including some pre-historic paintings and rock-cut caves, were being monitored by the department of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments for documentation work, he added.

Mr. Sridhar also called for strict enforcement of Heritage Act and adequate funds through Finance Commission for the upkeep of these structures.

Meanwhile, Chennai circle of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has also embarked upon a programme to protect all heritage monuments and sites across the state.

The new measures include setting up of comprehensive signage near all the 247 monuments and 162 sites coming under its control, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Tamil Nadu Circle, Sathyabama Badrinath said. “We are in the process of setting up new sign posts carrying details related to the monument near all the sites,” she said.

The ASI also plans to give a face-lift to the famous St George Fort, the seat of the State Government, constructed in 1639 by Francis day, an English trader and representative of the East India Company. The fort, which laid the foundation for the birth of the Madras city —— present day Chennai, covers a vast area housing the state Legislature, Secretariat and offices of Archaeology and Military units.

During the first phase, the vegetation surrounding the north-east area of the fort would be cleared and the ramps would be decorated, Ms. Sathyabhama said adding “in the next phase, the south-east portion would be renovated.”

The conservation work at the forts situated in Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Vellore, was also on, she said adding, “original features, style and construction would be retained during the process.” The Centre had allocated Rs 4.5 crore for the current year to carry out conservation work at the sites, she added.