Call to protect historically significant structures at Thirunelly temple

April 25, 2023 11:45 pm | Updated 11:45 pm IST

Vilakkumadom, an exquisite granite structure believed to be constructed in the 15th century AD, at the Sree Mahavishnu Temple at Thirunelly in Wayanad.

Vilakkumadom, an exquisite granite structure believed to be constructed in the 15th century AD, at the Sree Mahavishnu Temple at Thirunelly in Wayanad.

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has urged the government to conserve the historically significant structures, including the 600-year-old ‘Vilakkumadom’, an exquisite granite structure, at the Sree Mahavishnu Temple at Thirunelly in Wayanad district during the on-going renovation of the temple.

The renovation is being done by the Tourism department at a cost of ₹3.8 crore.

V. Jayarajan and Archana Kamath, conveners of INTACH Kasaragod and Kozhikode chapters respectively, in a letter to Devaswom Minister K. Radhakrishnan and Malabar Devaswom Board president, expressed concern over the loss of historically significant valuable precincts including the Vilakkumadom.

“With its history tracing back to the 15th century AD involving certain stories related to the architecture and style of the temple, we observe that its key elements have not been valued or taken into account seriously during the ‘renovation’ process,” Dr. Jayarajan said.

The possible completion of the Vilakkumadom structure and the total destruction of ‘Chuttambalam’ had resulted in a loss of heritage creating a gap in its value and importance that could be forgotten or misinterpreted in the future, he added.

The incomplete structure that stood as testimony to a rich cultural heritage has been remodelled in an insensitive way, he said. “It is said that the work was launched by the king of Coorg without the permission of the temple’s custodian, the Kottayam Raja. Later, the Kottayam Raja ordered to stop the construction work, and the structure remained untouched afterwards,” he said.

Considering its importance, at least a discussion should have been organised with experts including historians, conservation architects, and researchers along with stakeholders, Dr. Jayarajan said.

The authorities should consider feedback and assess future decisions and plan accordingly. He also called for maintaining the status-quo of the Vilakkumadom.

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