Some of them are in a dilapidated condition
CHENNAI: The State Government has taken up renovation work on 48 ancient and historically important temples at an estimated Rs.9.87 crore.
A few of them are in a dilapidated condition and some have been closed down due to structural infirmities.
“When this issue was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, he immediately wanted these temples renovated and reopened at an early date. We are working towards that,” said K.R.Periyakaruppan, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister.
Among the temples are the 11th century Rajagopalaswamy temple in Palayamkottai where the herbal wall paintings found in the sanctum sanctorum are considered rare; Adikesavaperumal temple, Thiruvattar, one of the 108 important Vaishnavite shrines; 13th century Masilanathar and Varadharajaperumal temple, Tharangampadi, where inscriptions have been found to belong to the period of the Pandiya Kings (due to erosion, most of the temple is submerged in the Bay of Bengal); 1000-year-old Varadarajaswamy temple, Kancheepuram; 200-year-old Kailasanathaswamy temple, Aakkaloor (Thiruvadanai), where the stone ceiling found in the ‘chitra mandapam’ is unique; 1000-year-old Vyakrapureeswarar temple, Thirupulivanam (Uthiramerur), an ancient temple built by Pallava King Nandivarman; Uthiraranganathaswami temple, Pallikonda, where inscriptions reveal that Chola King Vikrama, donated lands to maintain it; Markapandeeswarar temple, Virichipuram (Vellore), glorified in hymns by Thirumoolar, Sundarar and Appar; Jalakandeswarar and Renganathaperumal temple, Vandavasi, and Gnanapureeswarar temple, Thiruvadisulam (Kancheepuram).
The department has floated tenders in a few of the cases and will take up the remaining soon, officials said.
Mr. Periyakaruppan said though the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam as a party did not subscribe to religious beliefs and worship, it would be in the forefront of preserving cultural and other identities important to people. It was because of this that the department had prepared a detailed plan for the upkeep of the nearly 40,000 temples under its control.
The department has also drawn up a comprehensive plan to ensure that the surroundings of temples are kept clean. It is working with the Tourism Department to generate interest in many of the lesser known but ancient temples.
The department has a few temple ‘circuits’ and is in the process of looking at new locales. Both departments have decided to share the cost of upgrading infrastructure around historically important temples, the Minister said.