Sunday, February 17, 2019

Srirangam Maasi Theppam

West Adayavalanjan’s day out in the year
A 9 hour outing of Lord Namperumal on Friday evening culminates in a once in a year trip through the Adayavalanjan street of Srirangam
The Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam sees four major utsavams with Vahana processions in the first four months of the calendar year. The Utsava deity Namperumal goes around the Uthira Veethi during the first two, in Thai and Maasi, while he makes his way around the Chitrai Veethi in Panguni and Chitrai. For the only time in the year, Lord Namperumal provides darshan to devotees on the outer street of West Adayavalanjan, following the Theppam and the morning after on the 9th and 10th days of the Maasi Utsavam.

For the procession on Friday (Feb 15) evening to the Theppam, Sri and Bhoo Devi Thaayar were decked in a special Kondai Alankaram. For over a couple of hours, the Prabhandham Ghosti presented Siriya Thiru Madal and Periya Thiru Madal.
Theppam spurs Trade
As is the case with Theppotsavam, the entire area leading to the tank West of Melur Road saw brisk business, with street side shops that had sprung up ahead of the Theppam.

Majority had made their way back by the time the Lord made his way on to the mandapam in the middle of the tank for Ghosti and Thaligai.

Preparations ahead of the Lord’s return trip
By 9pm, the entire Northern End of West Adayavalanjan lined up with beautiful white pulli kolams with the residents showcasing their drawing skills. It was the one day in the year when Lord Namperumal makes his way through this street. Such street processions are beautifully marketed by the HR & CE these days. They have created a remunerative ‘Ubayam’ model over the last four decades. And thus one found ‘Pandals’ through the Northern side of West Adayavalanjan.

It was just after 10 pm when Lord Namperumal began his return procession from the Theppa Mandapam. The Prabhandham Ghosti, who were waiting for the Lord’s entry into West Adayavalanjan, began the recital of Thiru Mangai Azhvaar’s Thiru Kurunthaandagam as they led the Lord into the street with a slow devotional rendering.  At the tail end of the street, the Lord made his way into the first real large apartments block that had sprung up on North end of West Adayavalanjan, a couple of decades ago.  

The story on North Adayavalanjan was no different. Devotees stayed awake in large numbers to welcome the Lord into their homes. The well lit street was dotted with kolams as the Ghosti continued with their rendering of Thiru Kurunthaandagam. 
The night when Uthira Veethi procession moves into Chitrai Veethi
It was past 11pm when the Lord reached the North Tower of the temple to provide a quick five minute darshan to Ranganayaki Thaayar. The Ghosti now began the recital of Thiru Nedunthaandagam as the Lord made his way back through the Chitrai streets. The evening of the 9th day marks the Lord’s move from the Uthira Veethi procession (after the Thai and Maasi Utsavams) into Chitrai Veethi. The huge crowd that one associates with processions in Srirangam was missing and this made for a peaceful quiet darshan for those few who accompanied the Lord on this late night return trip from the Theppam.
It was past midnight when the Lord made his way into the Renga Renga Gopuram in the South. At around 00.30 hours, the ghosti completed the Satru Murai of Thiru Nedunthaandagam and Lord Namperumal finally went to rest after a long 9 hour outing.

Only a short sleep for the Lord
But this was to be only a short break for the Lord as he was up early in the morning. As compared to what he went through in the second half of the previous century, the 10th day was to be a long day out in the Sun for the Lord. The overall economic development and the marketing exercise that the HR & CE has now come to specialize in has meant that what was once a couple of hours trip to the Aasthana Theppa Mandam on this 10th morning of the Maasi Utsavam is now a tiring 7 hour procession with half a century stopovers.

50 Stopovers and a 7 hour procession in the Sun
As was the case the previous evening at the North end of West Adayavalanjan, the residents of the Southern side had marked the entire street with Kolams and Pandals. The entire street was abuzz ahead of the Lord’s trip. With the 10th day falling on a Saturday, the devotee crowd gathered in large numbers. The number of apartments that have come up in the last decade resulted in the Lord making his into most of these new apartments as part of the ‘ubayam’ exercise. 
Almost close to 50 ubayams (up from just a few a couple of decades ago) on this 10th morning also meant that it was a tiring morning for the short staffed madapalli inside the temple. They had to make (what is now called ‘athika padi’) and bring the prasadam from the temple for each of these halts leaving them furious. Athika Padi Thaligai means that in addition to the daily route of presentation to the Lord inside the temple, the staffers at the madapalli have to make food in large extra quantities and walk to the different Ubayam destinations.

However, this hugely extended trip of the Lord finds few complainants among the other service personnel for it is another day of the year when those accompanying the Lord are ‘gifted’ by the Ubayathaarars. From the residents’ point of view, it is their day out in the year when they see the Lord visiting their homes and thus the happiness is reflected in their gifting for those accompanying the Lord on the day. After well over 7 hours in the hot Sun – it is the period in the year when day was becoming hotter following the winter season - the Lord reached the aasthana mandapam near the Theppam for the Thirumanjanam.
At 730pm, Lord Namperumal left on the Bandha Kaatchi procession, the last of the Maasi Utsavam,  led by the Prabhandham Ghosti rendering Ramanuja Nootranthaathi. The utsavam concluded with ‘Padippu’ highlighting the features of the utsavam and thanking the Lord for the safe conduct of the Utsavam.

Srivanchiyam Maasi Barani Utsavam

Yama carries the Lord in celebration of a historical episode 
The historical episode of Lord Vanchinathaswamy appearing before Yama Dharma Raja at the ‘Kirthaatha Kundam’ on Maasi Barani and accepting the wish of the latter to serve as his vahana was played out at the Gandharanya Kshetram (abound with Sandalwood trees) of Srivanchiyam on Monday (Feb 11) as part of the Maasi Mahotsavam 

For centuries, this one of its kind procession in a Thevaram Sthalam of Yama himself carrying the Lord for the Theerthavari Utsavam and providing darshan to devotees around the four Mada streets has been the most sacred festival at this temple.

One of the six locations along the banks of Cauvery that have been specified as sacred and comparable to Kasi and praised by the four Saint Poets, the Vanchinathaswamy temple in Srivanchiyam was once home to a vibrant patshala with students learning and reciting the Vedas and Sastras. Appar makes a reference to Yama in his verse.
Served for over five decades with very little salary
79 year old Doraiappa Gurukal joined the temple in 1962 and served for over four decades. He remembers the years when devotees from all surrounding villages congregated on the morning of Maasi Barani “50 Brahmin families lived here in the agraharam and the Mada Streets with Vedic recital being an integral part of life here. Several hundreds of devotees lined up the streets to watch the most sacred utsavam of this old temple town. In no other temple do you have an utsavam where Yama carries the Lord. Belief is that those who bathe at the Theertham on this day and are part of the procession will be relieved from all sins.”

However, his son Swaminathan Gurukal who was a bachelor at the time of his father’s retirement could not immediately take up the services in the Vanchinathaswamy and Ambal Sannidhi. Subsequently, after his wedding too, given the internal power struggle, he has not been able to carry out the services even though there was an appointment order to that effect 3 years ago. And he has been assigned the role of managing the Yama Sannidhi.

Legendary Utsavam on Maasi Barani
The legend goes that Yama Dharma Raja, worried at adding to his own sins and incurring the wrath of many as the one being responsible for deciding the mortality and the timing of death, and depressed at having caused the untimely demise of Markandeya Rishi came to Srivanchiyam, created the Yama Kundam and undertook penance invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva.

Pleased with his prayers, the Lord provided darshan to him on the Barani day in Maasi and promised an exclusive opportunity for Yama Dharma Raja to carry him around the streets of Srivanchiyam on this day. In memory of this legendary event, every year on the 2nd day of the Maasi Mahotsavam, Vanchinatha Swamy goes on a procession with Yama as his Vahana for the Theerthavari Utsavam at the Yama Kundam. 
The Theerthavari on the second day of a 10 day Mahotsavam is another speciality (there is another Theerthavari at the end of the festival as well) and is in recognition of Yama’s penance and his noble thought of relieving the death fears of devotees from the sins of their previous births.

HR & CE official offers a pleasant surprise
It is 6am on Monday morning and unusually quiet for the most festive occasion at the temple. While the Yama Dharma Raja Sannidhi is not yet open, Kailasanatha Gurukal is all ready to begin the Abhishekam for Vanchinathaswamy in front of just a few devotees including a family that had come for a parikaram. 
Soon after, tension began to mount at the temple. The entire zone around the dwajasthambam was filled with hundreds of paddy bags handed to the temple by Lessees (of temple lands), which in itself was quite a rare occurrence at an HR & CE temple. As is the case with remote temples these days, there was a shortage of people to carry the Lord on the huge and heavy vahana. Huge quantity of Paddy was also seen on the floor right in front of the Nandhi. 

The Silver Yama Vahana was in the Vahana mandapam and had to be brought out for alankaram but paddy, seen in a huge mound, had to first be cleared. There were just four service personnel to clear this into the bags. And then there was a shortage of bags as well!!!!

It is well after 9.30 am when the HR & CE officials walk in, one by one. A heartening feature of the day was the nonstop follow up efforts of the HR & CE accountant (Ms. Ilavarasi) to get the large quantity of paddy cleared off the processional path. Later she made frenetic calls to secure the services of the Sripatham personnel in required numbers and on time.

Once the Vahana was brought out, the priests began the alankaram of the Lord and Ambal while at the Eastern entrance, Swaminathan Gurukal was seen performing the abhishekam for Yama.

The clock was ticking to 11.30 am and the flower garlands had not yet arrived. Once again, the HR& CE official made the calls to secure the huge flower garlands to decorate the Lord, Ambal and Yama Dharma Raja. Rarely has one seen a HR & CE official take such personal interest especially in a remote temple, in clearing the hurdles in a timely manner, an effort that allowed the priests to focus on the Abhisekam and Alankaram that preceded the procession. 
Swaminathan Gurukal was now engaged in the alankaram of Yama Vahana. Shortly after noon, Vanchinathaswamy and Mangalambikai mounted on to Yama, giving him the special privilege on this one day of the year, of carrying them around the four big streets of Srivanchiyam.

Theerthavari at Yama Kundam
It is almost 1pm when the priests performed the Theerthavari at the Yama Kundam South of the temple, the tank created by Yama before he began his penance at this temple invoking the blessings of Lord Shiva. Devotees present on the day also had a dip in this sacred tank that is believed to take away the fears of death in this life.

For the next hour, the Lord and Ambal provided darshan to the devotees around the Mada streets before returning to their abode at 2pm bringing to end this historical festival.

Special Status for Yama
At this temple, Yama has been accorded the leading status with a separate sannidhi at the Eastern Entrance of the temple. The practice is for the devotees, to bathe at the sacred ‘Gupta Theertham’ and have darshan of Yama Dharma Raja before they enter the sanctum of Vanchinathaswamy. Marking the celebratory occasion, Yama and Chitragupta were at their resplendent best in silver kavacham.
The temple is open between 6am-12.30pm and 4pm-8pm     

How to reach
Srivanchiyam is 6kms from Nannilam off the Nagapattinam - Nachiyar Koil Highway. From Tiruvarur, one can reach the temple via Manakkal (around 15kms).

(A Version of this story featured in The Hindu Friday Review dated Feb 13)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sarangapani Koil Kodukkumudi Sevai

Komalavalli Thaayar and Sarangapani Perumal provide Serthi Sevai from the HR & CE office marking the annual Thai Amavasai Kodukkumudi Utsavam!!

Theerthavari Utsavam on this day had been done away with a few decades ago, while the once Ekadasi Mandapam is now the HR & CE office at this ancient Divya Desam

No water outlet inside the office forces the Prabhandham Scholars to sit in the dirt for their Seva Kalam recital in the evening 
Every year on the occasion of Thai Amavasai, Lord Sarangapani, the utsavar deity of the Aaravamudhan Divya Desam in Thiru Kudanthai provides Serthi Darshan with Komalavalli Thaayar at the erstwhile Ekadasi Mandapam at the Eastern entrance of the temple. It is the only day in the year when Komalavalli Thaayar provides Kodukkumudi Sevai to devotees.

It is 7am on the morning of the No Moon Day in Thai. Several hundreds of devotees have lined up for the Vishroopam Sevai, a large number of a Monday morning at the Sarangapani koil.
As marketing of temples and utsavam took shape over the last two decades, authorities came up with interesting combos. This one was a pretty special one. Amavasai is one of the special occasions every month at temples. The one that comes in Thai gained prominence being one ranked sacred for Tharpanam.

Two more additional features marked this year’s Thai Amavasai making it an all time special occasion!!! It was also the Shravanam day of the month and it fell on a Monday. Hence, devotees saw this as a ‘Soma Vaara Thai Amavasai Shravanam’ occasion.

Just before 12noon, Komalavalli Thayar made her way to the ‘once upon a time’ Ekadasi mandapam, opposite the Vasantha Mandapam. Shortly after, Sarangapani Perumal too joined her. Being the Shravanam day, Vedantha Desikar too made his way to the erstwhile mandapam. 
Ekadasi Mandapam turned into HR & CE Office
With the growth in powers of the HR & CE, the Ekadasi mandapam has now been converted into an office housing the EO and the staff members of the HR & CE yet another example of how heritage structures and sacred locations inside temples have been used up by the HR & CE. It would rank as a one of a kind utsavam of a ‘Serthi Sevai’ of a Divya Desam couple at an (HR & CE) office within the temple complex.

No additional structures inside temple complex
Rule 8 and 9 of Temple Entry Authorisation Act 1947 states that no new structure can come up inside the temple complex especially at a heritage centuries old temple and that none of the mandapams can be used or converted for a purpose other than the one for which it was historically used. 

Says TR Ramesh, President, Temple Worshippers Society, who has taken on the HR & CE and filed a number of cases in the High Court against the construction of new and additional structures in ancient temples, “The construction of the temple office at the historical mandapam at the Eastern Entrance as well as the building of the toilet just next to the temple office within the complex is illegal and in gross violation of the Act. This illegal structure of the office and the toilet has to be removed, similar to how the huge toilet complex within the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple was removed a couple of years ago and the mandapam has to be brought to its historical state.”
                      The Big Bureaus next to the Couple

Shataari Thirumanjanam
For over thirty minutes, devotees watched the Shataari (of Lord and Thaayar) Thirumanjanam at the HR & CE office, with the sacred abhisekam water flowing out on to Vedantha Desikar who was placed on a small stool on the floor.

Alankaram with almirahs flanking the Divine Couple
What was saddening in the 2nd half of the day was the two hour Kodukkumudi alankaram for Komalavalli Thaayar performed by Narayana Bhattar and subsequently the alankaram for Lord Sarangapani with the divine couple flanked by Almirahs and tall Bureaus at the office. While one is normally accustomed to priests undertaking alankaram within the four closed screens, here what one witnessed was a sacred once in a year alankaram of Thaayar with the office almirahs as the cover!!! HR & CE staffers kept moving in and out of the office during the alankaram with the priests remaining silent spectators. 
Prabhandham Experts sitting in the wet dirt
By 5pm, the seva kalam experts arrived at the temple to present the sacred verses in front of the divine couple and the Vaishnavite acharya. With no outlet at the HR & CE office to let go the Thirumanjanam water, the remains stagnated at the entrance of the office. While the water was removed through a mopping activity, the dirt on the floor of the office combined with the Thirumanjanam water to create filth leaving very little clean space for the prabhandham experts for their recital!!!

Following the presentation of Koil Tiruvoimozhi and Desikar Prabhandham at the HR & CE office and after the devotees had had a close look at the alankaram, the Lord made his shortly after 830pm around the Potramarai Kulam.

Absence of ‘Kodukkumudi’
While historically the speciality of the day was the Kodukkumudi Sevai with the long Jadai of Komalavalli Thaayar knotted in such a way that the far end reaches out to Lord Sarangapani. Unfortunately, the old one is in a damaged condition while the new one could not be made in time for the utsavam. Hence the priests had to make do with a simple knotted style on the head and devotees missed the long curling Jadai of Komalavalli Thaayar reaching out to the Lord.

Just after 9pm, the divine couple exchanged garlands in front of the Thaayar Sannidhi bringing to end this annual Thai Amavasai utsavam that is now celebrated at the HR & CE office. 
The missing Theerthavari
Historically, it has also been the practice at the Sarangapani Koil for the Lord to make his way on the morning of Thai Amavasai for the Theerthavari Utsavam at the Cauvery. But this too has been done away with in recent decades after the entry of the HR & CE.

At the tail end of the day, there was a shortage of Sripatham Thangis to carry Vaishnavite Acharya Vedantha Desikar on the Shravanam procession inside the temple, a sad reflection of the current scenario at this ancient Divya Desam that not too long ago was vibrant with traditionalists making up the long agraharam in front of the temple.
It is hoped that, with the efforts of temple activists, in the not too distant future the Eastern Entrance will be flanked by the Ekadasi and Vasantha Mandapams and not the HR & CE Office and the Toilet Complex!!!

Renovation Issues in TN Temples

Restoration Applications fall 80% due to HR & CE Apathy
Ancient Temples in Remote Locations struggle to reach the restoration applications to the HR & CE headquarters
HR & CE ignores the genuine need of repair works in several temples in TN
                        Brahmmadesam Temple near Ambai

A couple of years ago the Madras High Court order had placed a blanket ban on renovation in temples. Subsequently, the High Court directed the appointment of a committee to assess the extent of damage and approve the ‘essential’ repair works in HR and CE administered temples. Here is a look at what has happened since and the prevailing scenario.

In 2013-14, the number of applications that came to the Thirupanni leadership at the HR & CE headquarters numbered around 600. Since the High Court order and the subsequent setting up of a screening committee, this has fallen to around 100, an over 80% reduction in the number of renovation applications that have reached the HR & CE HQ.

The numbers indicate lesser amount of renovation works in temples. However, the reality on the ground presents a different picture. While on the one hand, remote temples with genuine need for restoration are finding it difficult to get their applications processed within a fixed timeline, on the other, renovation works are continuing in violation of the rules and without approval of the committee.

The process
The new process includes recommendation from archeological expert on the works to be renovated/repaired, approval from Zonal level heritage committee after a power point presentation by the concerned Joint Commissioner, approval from the State level heritage committee and then finally the go ahead from the HR & CE Commissioner.

Renovation Scenario at ancient temples
The temples have stumbled upon road blocks at various points. Right at the starting stage, a number of Executive Officers are finding it challenging to go past even the JC and the regional screening committee.  This was the case at the Jambukeswarar temple in Thiruvanaikaval where consecration took place recently ( 

Two years into the renovation process, only minor works have been approved. A large portion will be undertaken only in 2019 with the EO having to secure approvals in bits and pieces breaking the whole renovation works into several small parts. 
      Thiruvanaikaval- Broken Wall, with Granary in the Background

Shortage of Executive Officers
Sources in the HR & CE say that the allocation from the HR and CE towards renovations has dropped dramatically from Rs. 416cr in 2015-16 to Rs. 70crores (excluding Palani) in 2017-18. A leading official also said that there are just 650 EO posts for 40000 temples and that out of these only 250 have been filled up. The rest have remained vacant for several years.

In the huge over 1000 years old Kailasanathar Koil in Brahmmadesam, near Ambasamudram (, a temple managed for decades by a single archaka, approvals have been hard to come by. There are cracks in the towering 7 tiered Raja Gopuram at the Eastern Entrance and the entire structure presents a faded look with the previous Kumbhabhishekam having taken place 15 years ago. The huge outer wall is beginning to fall off on the Southern side. The temple houses some of the most exquisite stone sculptures. The archaeological expert had visited and submitted his recommendations in mid 2017. 

The case of shortage of EOs is best exemplified in the case of the Brahmmadesam temple. The then existing EO, who had almost 70 temples in his charge, had made some progress with the application of the restoration plans. When he was transferred, the replacement EO, who has a whopping 75 temples under his purview, has not taken charge for quite some time citing the case of excess temples in his charge, clearing endorsing the issue of shortage of EOs in HR & CE administered temples. This issue has left the temple and the restoration plans in limbo.

Brahmotsavam, the grandest festival that was celebrated in Panguni had been stopped four decades ago citing financial reasons. The huge tank was refurbished three years as a one off exercise thanks to the initiative of the archaka and the historical Theppotsavam was revived. But a lot more needs to be done to restore the temple to its ancient glory.

No approval for Samprokshanam
The Damodara Narayana Perumal temple in Thiru Kannangudi Divya Desam ( had been in a dilapidated condition a few years ago. After completion of most of the repair works as early as 2016/17, the date for the Samprokshanam was fixed but twice it was called off by the HR&CE at the last moment. The consecration has been so delayed that even the new paint on the Raja Gopuram is now beginning to fade off. Frustrated at the indecision of the higher authorities, the EO of the temple has now gone on a long leave, say sources related to the temple. A temporary EO has taken charge at the temple but one wonders if he will be able to turn around the case of the pending Samprokshanam.

‘Golden’ Vimanam remains in ‘Plans’
Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple in Thiru Koshtiyur is another example of the renovation work coming to a halt a few years ago following the High Court order.  This Divya Desam too went through the process of screening committee approvals but the repair works have progressed at a snail’s pace in the last couple of years (
Thiru Koshtiyur - Golden Vimanam Pending for a dozen years

The Balalayam at the Nambi Sannidhi and Ramanuja Sannidhi, among other Sannidhis, had been done four years ago but the Sannidis have remained closed, with the restoration efforts not gaining any momentum. Balalayam for the Ashtanga Vimanam had been done 12years ago. Gold plating of the Vimanam, using around 75kgs of gold has been on the plans for a long time now but that too has not taken off and has remained in the ‘plans’ mode. The temple has also not been able to secure gold in the required quantity. 

For a long time now, the devotees have not been able to have darshan of the Vimanam, Raja Gopuram and most of the Sannidhis at this temple. From the point of view of the priests, shutting down of so many Sannidhis for 4 years has also resulted in loss of Thattu Kaasu. It is hoped that the HR & CE and the Sivagangai Samasthanam will work together on this and take appropriate action.

Kurungudi - Pending court case delays Samprokshanam
At the Azhagiya Nambi temple in Thiru Kurungudi Divya Desam(, it is almost 15 years since the idol of Lord Shiva was moved out into a separate Sannidhi within the temple complex. 
                     Previous old look of the Kurungudi Gopuram

While most of the repair works have been completed including colour painting of the Raja Gopuram, the case pending in the court with the petitioners seeking the shifting back of Lord Shiva to his historical location next to Nambi Sannidhi in the inner prakara has meant that the Samprokshanam has been delayed beyond a reasonable period. 

The previous Samprokshanam had taken place 35 years ago in the early 1980s and it is unlikely the next one will take place without a solution relating to the issue relating to the Lord Shiva’s location.

Wrongful additions to Temple structures
TR Ramesh, President, Temple Worshippers Society  ( has filed petitions in the High Court and sent several notices to the HR & CE against wrongful renovation works in temples in the last few years. 
While agreeing to the fact that the large number of “Thiruppani” works that were taken up indiscriminately by HR & CE Department in various temples has certainly come down, he is furious that the department has now begun to focus on building Kalyana Mandapams, rest houses and Kavadi Mandapams in violation of the rules, a case in point being a huge new modern Hall built inside the Oppiliappan temple, near Kumbakonam (

He is also unhappy with continuing violations by the HR & CE in some major renovation works including building a brand new Rajagopuram at the Krupapureeswarar temple in Tiruvennainalloor after demolishing the ancient unfinished heritage Gopuram which had images in granite embellished on it as well as valuable inscriptions.  Similarly a new Gopuram and large civil works were undertaken at the Annamalaiyar Temple in Valangaiman Village. All these have also not been approved by the High Court appointed committee. He points out that tenders relating to civil works have been executed in Suchindrum, Ettukudi and Samayapuram temples in violation of stay order of the High Court.
A new Raja Gopuram at Thiru Kolur
Ramesh says he will also be fighting the proposed construction of a new Rajagopuram at Vaithamaanidhi Perumal temple in Thiru Kolur Divya Desam, one of the Nava Tirupathi temples which too, he says, had not received the approval of the committee.

Writ Petition in High Court
PS Narasimha Gopalan Acharya, the Head Archaka at the Rajagopalaswamy temple in Mannar Koil, near Ambasamudram ( just filed a Writ Petition in the Madurai High Court regarding the non appointment of members to the Heritage Committee resulting in non functioning of the committee thereby causing undue delay in approvals for renovation. 
He has said in his petition that a number of temples, where the case for restoration is genuine and dire, have been waiting for approval for a long time. Some of the temples even after obtaining the approval from Regional Heritage committee have not been able to start the repair works for want of approval from the State Heritage committee. Narasimha Gopalan says that he has received a reply from the HR & CE to his RTI query stating the state heritage committee had been dysfunctional for want of members.

Even the HR and CE officials at the respective temples, especially those in remote locations have been miffed at the attitude of the senior colleagues and their continued reluctance to move the papers to their higher authorities. Villagers are of the view that temples left in a dilapidated state will adversely impact the prosperity in the region and does not augur well for the nearby villages.

It is hoped that the HR & CE headquarters will look into the case of delayed approvals across all temples in Tamil Nadu and take necessary steps to clear the huge number of pending applications, where the restoration requirement is immediate. At the same time, it is also hoped that the HR & CE will ensure that no renovation work takes place without approval from the court appointed committee for the very essence of that order was to prevent tampering with historical structures and to allow only repair works that were ‘essential’.