Thanjavur Brahadeeswarar Temple: Why scaffoldings when latest technology is at hand?

Skylift could have been used to bring down the ‘kalasam’ at Big Temple: devotees

Updated - February 04, 2020 09:45 am IST

Published - February 03, 2020 10:18 pm IST - Thanjavur

Fire service personnel reaching the top of Big Temple tower using a Bronto Skylift vehicle.

Fire service personnel reaching the top of Big Temple tower using a Bronto Skylift vehicle.

The use of scaffoldings to reach the top of the tower of the Sri Brahadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur for carrying out renovation works, rather than using the latest machines available, has raised eyebrows among a section of devotees, especially in the wake of the deployment of a Bronto Skylift vehicle at the temple by the Fire and Rescue Service in view of the consecration ceremony.

Devotees such as S. Sankaran of Srinivasapuram, Thanjavur were unaware of the availability of such technologically advanced rescue vehicle until it arrived and a testing exercise was carried out by the Fire Service at the temple. He and many others wondered why the technology was not put into use by the organisers of the consecration related works instead of positioning this vehicle near the tower just for “rescue operations”, if any, to arise during the consecration.

The organisers have put up a massive iron scaffolding alongside the 216 feet high tower during the last week of December last year to dismantle and bring down the 12-feet high `kalasam’ from the top of the tower for gold plating work. Subsequently, additional platforms were put up atop the tower for re-installation and for the conduct of the `kumbabishekam’ on February 5.

As this additional structure remained for more than a month, devotees as well as some of the atheists have expressed concern that such a massive iron structure might cause some damage to the more than 1000-year-old granite temple tower.

Former Vice-Chancellor, Periyar Maniammai Institute of Science and Technology, Vallam, N. Ramachandran observed that the iron scaffoldings which might hardly be of around 5 tonnes in weight could not have any impact on the granite structure which is around 70,000 tonnes in weight. But when latest technology was available it could have been opted by the organisers of the event, he added.

Expressing similar view, an educationalist, R. Satyanarayana, said though the focus should be on spiritual practices there should not be any compromise in protecting even a very small piece of the edifice. Being a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site, utmost care should have been taken by the organisers whose action had left the edifice bear the weight of the iron scaffoldings for nearly a month.

Referring to the incident that had taken place during the dismantling of the `kalasam’ from the tower, where a policeman was pulled up by the Archaeological Survey of India and the District Police for capturing close view of the tower in his mobile and circulating it in the social messaging platform with comments about the possible causes for the damages on the structure, such incidents could also been avoided had the ASI and the `kumbabishekam’ organisers thought of availing the services of Fire and Rescue Service and requisitioned the Sky Lift at the beginning itself.

Responding to a query in this regard, retired soil mechanics professor of Anna University, A.Sargunan said when latest technology was available it could have been tried.

But, the organisers might have considered that erection of scaffolding with steps would be the easiest way, he added.

When contacted the organisers claimed that the scaffolding was erected as per the guidance from the ASI only and had left the issue of number persons to accompany the priest who is going to perform the consecration rituals at the top of the tower on February 5 and other matters to the Police.

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