I wish to thank The Hindu for carrying an editorial on Rajarajesvaram, commemorating the millennium year of the Brihadisvara temple built by the Chola emperor, Rajaraja I (Dec. 28). I have seen editorials on the preservation and conservation of monuments in the newspaper. But this, to my knowledge, is the first time an editorial has appeared on the architectural qualities of the monumental Rajarajesvaram.
As pointed out, the experience of the diligent heritage-tourist could be enriched if the site museum could be designed better and comprehensive information provided in an accessible manner. Likewise, attempts should be made to end the wrong notions that the monolith nandi in the temple was growing, the shade of the gopuram would not fall on the ground and the stone kept on the top of the vimana was a monolith.
The Brihadisvara temple has not received the recognition it deserves. Better promotion by the Department of Tourism is required to attract tourists from outside and inside the country. Air connectivity between Chennai and Thanjavur should be improved to increase the number of tourists visiting the temple.
Package tours that include the Brihadisvara temple and the temple at Gangai Konda Cholapuram — a replica of Rajarajesvaram — should be drawn up by the tourism department. The temple at Darasuram near Kumbakonam should also be given more publicity.
That the Brihadisvara temple is set to enter its millennium year in 2010 is a matter of great achievement. The government and the temple authorities must take the initiative to celebrate the completion of a million years of this architectural masterpiece. Greater efforts should be made to enrich its beauty so that it can attract more tourists. This will surely enrich our heritage and spread our culture.