Syed Muthahar Saqaf
THANJAVUR: The world famous Art Gallery situated inside the palace in the heart of the town here will soon be illuminated thanks to funds granted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
A sum of Rs. 11 lakh has been allocated by the ASI for the illumination work, which is already under way.
The Art Gallery, which has been attracting even foreign tourists, has a rich collection of bronze icons, stone sculptures, paintings and other artefacts belonging to Chola and Nayaka periods.
Besides, the gallery provides information about the entire history of Tamil Nadu from the 9th century to 18th century AD. The stones as well as the bronze sculptures are housed inside the Nayak Palace building in three sections, namely the Pooja Mahal for stone sculptures, Indira Mandir for arsenals and the Rama Chowdam Hall displaying bronze sculptures.
The illumination would be done in such way to focus on the rare sculptures and statues, which have been attracting tourists from all over the world round the year, according to the Collector, M. S. Shanmugam.
Library to get facelift
Just close to the Gallery is the Saraswati Mahal Library, one of the biggest manuscript libraries in Asia, which is also getting a facelift.
The work on establishing a well-decorated entrance with colourful arches and paintings is currently under way on an outlay of Rs. 18 lakh. Major portion of the work is said to be completed.
A ‘sthapathi’ who is well versed with the art and architecture style of the erstwhile rulers of Thanjavur has been entrusted with the work.
Other facilities such as a cloak room to enable the visitors to deposit their belongings, an information centre, a special counter for the sale of the books brought out by the library and a mini book exhibition have been planned at the entrance of the library, say official sources here.
The Department of Tourism will provide proper seating arrangements on the way leading to the library besides providing potable drinking water facility.