The moat will be renovated and works will also be taken up inside the temple

The Union Ministry of Culture has allotted Rs.25 crore for refurbishing the Big Temple here ahead of the millennium celebrations on September 25 and 26, Union Minister of State for Culture and Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanaswamy said here on Monday.

He told reporters that the moat on the eastern and western sides of the temple, which is dilapidated, will be renovated, desilted and filled with water to improve the appearance of the temple. Works will also be taken up inside the temple, the Minister said. “It is the duty of my Ministry to maintain the temple which is a world heritage monument.”

Mr. Narayanaswamy, accompanied by Union Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palani Manickam; S.N.M. Ubayathullah, State Minister for Commercial Taxes, Gautam Sengupta, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI); M.S.Shanmugham, Thanjavur District Collector; Babaji Rajah Bhonsle, senior prince and hereditary trustee of Palace Devasthanam, went around the temple, inspecting the moat and other areas. He also saw the sculptures inside the temple and interpretation centre where photocopies of rare Chola period paintings of the temple are displayed. He offered worship to Varahi Amman, Lord Brahadeeswara and Goddess Periyanayagi. The ASI has given its approval for starting a sound and light programme on Big Temple and King Raja Raja Cholan at the temple.

It may be recalled that the State government has allotted Rs.25 crore for taking up infrastructure development in Thanjavur town in view of the millennium celebrations.

MLAs Durai Chandrasekaran and Mahesh Krishnaswamy; Venkatesaiah, Regional Director of ASI; Satyabama Bhadrinath, Superintendenting Archaeologist also accompanied the Minister.

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