Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple administration’s proposal to hand over the Yatri Nivas in Srirangam, a budget-friendly facility to accommodate pilgrims, to Tami Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), a unit of the Tourism Department, has been put on hold.
The facility built on about 6,40 acres of land on Panchakarai Road in Srirangam was put into use in 2015. The facility was closed for several months in 2020 and 2021 as it was converted into a centre to accommodate and treat patients affected by COVID-19.
The lodging facility has four dormitories, 95 rooms, 24 cottages, nine shops and a restaurant. It has a capacity to accommodate about 900 pilgrims.
However, only two-thirds of its capacity has been used for the last several months due to cracks developed on the walls of the facility, which is directly managed by the temple administration of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE). The facility is said to have suffered damage at various places and layers of the concrete from the roof peel off frequently. Hence, bookings were done only for about 75% of its capacity.
Poor maintenance is among the reasons cited for underutilisation of the facility. An idea was mooted about six months ago at a senior level of the State government to hand over the Yatri Nivas to Tamil Nadu Tourism Corporation considering its expertise on the operation and maintenance of hotels across the State. A few officials of the Tourism Department visited the facility to take stock of the situation.
The HR&CE subsequently came up with a proposal to carry out repair and maintenance work at a cost of ₹1.70 crore. However, the work is yet to be started.
S. Marimuthu, Joint Commissioner of the temple, told The Hindu that no decision had been taken on the proposal to hand over Yatni Nivas to TTDC. It had been put on hold as there was a need to carry out repair work and it would take time.
The facility was constructed with the aim of providing decent accommodation facility at affordable cost. Various aspects had to be taken into account before taking any decision on the transfer of Yatri Nivas to the Tourism Department, he said.