Tamil Nadu

Madras High Court stays Art of Living event at Thanjavur Big Temple

THANJAVUR,TAMILNADU,07/12/2018 : A pandal erected at the Big Temple premises in Thanjavur.Photo: Special Arrangements   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday granted an interim injunction against a meditation event organised by Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living at the Sri Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A Division Bench of Justices K.K. Sasidharan and P.D. Audikesavalu granted a stay and directed the Thanjavur Collector, Superintendent of Police and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ensure that the temporary structure put up in the temple complex is removed. The case was adjourned to December 10 for further hearing.

‘No regard for heritage’

The court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by N. Venkatesh of Thanjavur, which sought a direction to the authorities concerned to cancel permission for the event on the temple premises to preserve the monument.

Mr. Venkatesh said the iconic temple was over 1,000 years old and by allowing private parties to put up temporary structures on its premises, the authorities were showing no regard for heritage. A similar event conducted on the Yamuna flood plains had resulted in extensive damage, he alleged.

After the order, the Art of Living Foundation, in a release, said it had made alternative arrangements and added that the meditation event would now take place at the nearby Kaveri Mandapam in Thanjavur.

Calling the chain of events unfortunate, it said that people with vested interests were making false allegations against the Foundation.

Its volunteers were engaged in relief activities in cyclone-affected Nagapattinam and Pudukottai districts and as Sri Sri Ravishankar was scheduled to visit the affected areas, the locals wanted him to conduct the meditation programme while he was here, the Foundation said.

Permission from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department and ASI was obtained to conduct the event and it was normal to conduct spiritual discourses at temples, it said.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 3:53:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-high-court-stays-art-of-living-event-at-thanjavur-big-temple/article25693302.ece

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