Antique structure of old temple restored

Dedicated task: The structure of Siva temple at Thiruthalaiyur in Tiruchi district being restored.  

A 1,200-year-old Sivan Temple at Thiruthalaiyur, associated with staunch devotee of Lord Siva, Rudra Pasupathy, one of the 63 Nayanars, has been restored by ardent devotees by retaining the antiquity of the 18,000 sq. ft. structure at a whopping cost of ₹3.8 crore.

Rudra Pasupathy Nayanar is said to have attained liberation by chanting Krishna Rajurveda Rudra Suktha daily, standing in neck-deep water in the temple tank, as per Periyapuranam, one of the Tamil literary masterpieces.

As many as 400 devotees led by D. Chandrasekar, 72, a distinguished alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology - Madras, floated Thiruthalaiyur Heritage Trust to carry out the renovation over the last four years and restore the glory of the once-prosperous temple, after securing the consent of the Archaeological Survey of India and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department.

The work was carried out based on a conservation note prepared in 2009 by the National Centre for Safety of Heritage Structures functioning out of IIT-Madras.

The temple had structures such as Mahamandapam and Agaramandapam linked to various periods. The mandapams, built later, were made to rest on the earlier temple structure, exerting pressure on the inter-linked beams, and ceiling slabs.

In the past, additional roof courses were added, increasing the dead weight over the ceiling and causing disintegration of lime and mortar.

Due to this, there was constant leakage all over the mandapams and the incessant dampness precipitated the impact of the dead weight, according to the conservation note prepared by the experts.

In 2016, the Trust identified a Coimbatore-based Stapathi, Mariappan, and started the work by indexing all floors and columns. The restoration work involved reinforcing five feet concrete beneath each of the 16 granite columns and linking all of them.

The concrete roofs that were causing burden on the structure were replaced with lime and mortar. Ultimately, the structure has been restored without use of cement, steel or concrete.

The structure took about 20,000 man days for restoration, Mr. Chandrasekar said. “We are certain the temple will start attracting devotees in large numbers henceforth after the kumbabishekam slated for March 12,” Mr. Chandrasekar said.

In a fine gesture to the villagers, the Trust has also decided to renovate the mandapam of the Kali Temple in Thiruthalaiyur, Mr. Chandrasekar said.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 1:34:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/antique-structure-of-old-temple-restored/article31007072.ece

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