Special Correspondent

To conduct sound and light programme in the Thanjavur Big Temple

THANJAVUR: At a time when the millennium of Big Temple built by King Raja Raja Cholan is to be celebrated, it still remains to be seen whether the sound and light programme on the temple and the king would become a reality.

This question is uppermost in the minds of Tanjoreans, historians, art lovers and tourism promoters. The project was conceived nearly ten years back.

According to A.C.Mohandoss, Director of Tourism, the department was very keen in introducing the programme and all steps had been taken to finalise the project.

Fund allotted

Fund has also been allotted. But the project is waiting for the approval of Archaeological Survey of India.

The script was written and Tourism Department has allotted Rs.1.50 crore for the project. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation was identified as the implementing agency. But the project got stuck up with the ASI.

The ASI that maintains the temple, a world heritage monument, is very keen on maintaining the originality of monument.

Any development work or any activity to be taken up inside its monument should be approved by it.

In this case, the State Government at the secretary level, Central Government officials and the ASI officials visited the temple many times and selected the location. It has been agreed upon to implement the project without disturbing the monument.

The ASI officials have also agreed for conducting the programme.

Clarifications sought

“They have sought clarifications on certain issues and we have written to them. But the needed approval has not yet come,” said State government officials.

Residents of Thanjavur feel that the ASI should give permission so that the programme could be launched in this millennium year.

The temple has been attracting a large number of tourists both foreign and domestic throughout the year. A sound and light programme will provide an insight into the grandeur of the temple and King Raja Raja Cholan for the tourists.

“Many monuments have sound and light programmes. A programme at the temple will be an added attraction. When both the Central and state Governments are ready to do it, the ASI should not delay the project standing on technicalities,” observe art lovers.

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