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Updated: November 15, 2011 00:42 IST

Lightning conductors being installed at Meenakshi temple

    R. Sairam
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The lightning conductor to be installed at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai on Monday. Photo: S. James
The Hindu The lightning conductor to be installed at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai on Monday. Photo: S. James

Placed on five towers, they will cover the 17-acre complex

The Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here on Monday began the preliminary works for installing five sophisticated lightning conductors to protect the temple structure.

The lightning conductors would be installed at the towers in the north, east, west, south and the central area, with each tower having one conductor. The total project cost including the installation works was around Rs. 10.20 lakh, official sources told The Hindu on Monday

Each of the lightning conductors would cover a radius of 80 metres. Together, after installation works were completed, the five lightning conductors would protect the entire temple complex, which spreads across 17 acres.

Besides protecting the hundreds-of-years-old temple structures, the lightning conductor equipment would also record the number of lightning strikes.

The ‘earth' component for lightning conductors, usually made of coal, has now been replaced with silicon gel. This eliminates the need for annual maintenance works, which was necessary in the earlier models.

The installation of such lightning conductors was also part of the comprehensive security plan drawn up for the temple by Central government agencies. Further, the Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department had also given instructions to take steps to protect the temple from lightning strikes.

The equipment, being purchased from a Mumbai company, arrived at the temple on Monday where technicians began configuring it and preparing the preliminary works such laying wires to the towers. The Meenakshi temple has a total of 14 towers, of which the south tower, at 160 feet, was the tallest

Apart from providing the equipment, the Mumbai-based company was also providing the technicians for the installation works.

One of the five ‘kalasams' on ‘Rajarajan Thiruvayil,' the third ‘gopuram' at the entrance of the Big Temple of Thanjavur, was damaged in a lightning strike during heavy rainfall in November 2010.

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