B. Kolappan

It has submitted a detailed report to Finance Commission Chairman Vijay Kelkar

CHENNAI: Ancient temples in Tamil Nadu will get a facelift if the 13th Finance Commission clears a State Government project seeking restoration of heritage shrines in the State.

The project submitted by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department on Friday has sought Rs.252.20 crore for the renovation of 136 heritage temples. The fund is allotted under the programme of restoration of heritage structures.

HR&CE officials headed by the Commissioner of the Department, P.R. Shampath, submitted a detailed report to Vijay Kelkar, Chairman of the Finance Commission. Mr. Kelkar visited the 1,300-year old Thiyagaraja Swamy temple in Tiruvotriyur in Chennai. He was accompanied by Additional Commissioner T. Jayaraman and Joint Commissioner (Renovation) Haripriya. “All the temples we have listed in our report have been authenticated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),” the HR&CE officials told The Hindu.

The report titled “Project II for Heritage Conservation of Ancient Temples in Tamil Nadu,” has classified all the temples into two categories. The 13 big temples require Rs.211 crore while the 123 other temples need Rs.41.20 crore.

The Aranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam, the Natarajar temple in Chidambaram, the Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, and the Varadharajar temple and Ekambareswarar temple in Kancheepuram are some of the big temples listed in the report.

The Varadharaja Perumal temple in Vilathur in Tiruvarur district, the Mullaivaneswarar temple in Mullaivasal, and the Kalahastheeswarar temple in Munnaval Kottai are some of the temples that are around 1,000 years old.

The HR&CE Department report has been presented in book form with pictures of the temples, their brief history and the estimated sum required for restoration. “We have selected temples from all the districts for restoration,” said one of the officials. Tamil Nadu received Rs.9.87 crore from the 12th Finance Commission and a total of 48 temples were taken up for renovation.

“Works in four temples have been completed and in the case of other temples we have completed 60 to 70 per cent of it,” one of the officials added.