Sponsor a Temple for posterity
  • Friends:

    Temples in Tamilnadu are not only a place of worship and meditation. They are
    icons of Tamil culture as well. Some of the finest sculptures that Tamil talents
    produced are under display only in Temples. Temples are store houses of
    historical documents as well. Important stone engravings (kalvettu) are placed
    in Temples as well. (read travelogues of Ms.Pavitra Srinivasan)

    For people who have traveled on the lands of Romans and Greek will realize
    that Tamilnadu is an open museum with age old Temples. Temples are the
    store houses of Tamil myths, fairy tales and literature.

    Under the heavy impact of population growth and a fast life (an un known
    apathy towards these marvelous structures emerged nowadays) Tamils pay less importance
    to Tamilnadu Temples. Except for the famous ones several beautiful temples
    are simply left for bats and ghosts to occupy. (see photos from Pavithra)

    In spite of efforts from religious leaders to renovate these structures, very little
    has been achieved.

    We acknowledge now that not all temples are left in time with religious sanctity for
    regular worship. Instead, these temples could be used for architectural
    study and for cultural tourism. In essence, a clean maintenance of these
    temples could go a long way in attracting foreign tourists and students of
    Tamil origin living abroad.

    If a systematic study is done in Tamilnadu we could locate Temples that are at
    least 500 years old but not maintained well by the Government or by the public.
    What is needed to rejuvenate these temples is to bring an awareness among the
    locals to take care of them. This can be done if one shows potential income for
    these temples via tourism.

    A simple beginning could be to involve a grass root organization that maintains
    a temple on a regular basis. These grass root organizations that involves
    volunteers can be supported by people of Tamilnadu (the huge middle class)
    and Tamils living abroad. There is an urgent need for Tamils of Sri Lankan
    origin living abroad to visit Tamilnadu as pilgrimage and to witness their
    glorious past. This is equally applicable to children of Tamilnadu living

    Maintenance and monitoring the maintenance can be managed easily via
    internet these days.

    What we need is participation and commitment.

    I would like to propose that if each one of us who wish to care for these
    beautiful but uncared temples commit a very little money on a regular
    basis for their maintenance we can surely improve the situation. People
    adopt a child and why not we adopt a Temple? In fact Temples belong
    to people. The great Bakti movement in Tamilnadu during 7-13 AD
    did exactly the same thing. To infuse pride and a sense of belonging
    towards these marvelous structures.

    If we could identify, say, at least 10 volunteer based grass root organizations
    we can start this project. We need to provide them basic tools with
    which they could clear the bushes and clean the temple, to pave a
    path for the temples (tar roads are not a must, at least a decent path
    where a bullock cart should travel smoothly is fine as well - in fact
    that is a tourist attraction as well :-). They can report to the global
    organization (non-governmental, non-profit) about the progress through
    digital photos and email.

    I wrote an article on this topic for a religious conference in Toronto
    some years back. I have uploaded that article in the 'file' section. Have
    a look.

    Details can be worked out if we have enough enthusiasm from volunteers.


    ps. I thank Pavitra Srinivasan for her inspirational travelogue. To start
    with if we maintain those artifacts that are on the Ponniyin
    Selvan trail, that should be an achievement.
  • vanakkam!

    Yellaarum yennanamo periya vishayam yellaam paesareenga...

    I still can recollect those wonderful days when I was an "ilaigan"
    (back in my college days)...doing "Uzhavaara Thiruppani" in
    Kapaleeswarar Koil.

    Adhu yennamo theriyala, koil-ukkunnu yedhavadhu panninaa, this heart
    MP3 player plays a different CD...

    So what is the next step?

  • Dear Friends
    I welcome the idea of Dr Kannan.

    I share his concern for the maintenance of the temples. If one were to analyse the problem one can attempt some solutions.

    My reading of the situation are on the following lines. There exist a lot of temples which are in dire need of major repairs. Some of them are great pieces of art, repository of our culture and tradition. They languish because of public apathy and Government's lack of resourses. I can site Gokarneswara Temple in Pudukkottai as an example. Once it was a rich temple for Goddess Brihadambal, the presiding Devi of this temple, was the deity of the Tondaiman rulers of Pudukkottai. Now it is in bad shape. This temple has a lot of unique features. The original temple is a cave temple excavated between 600 and 650 AD. That this becomes one among the earliest temples Tamilnadu. It has been extended by all the ruling kingdoms till the 20th century, a unique feature. The temple tank needs repair. There are 400-year old Nayak paintings on the ceiling of the front corridor, of which a major part is damaged. The temple would require substantial amount of money to renovate and would need sufficient money for regular maintenance. The government does not have money. The temple itself no more attractive to the public. There are a number temples in this category.

    In the second group would fall almost all the temples of Tamilnadu. That is the temples are very dirty. One can see an army of cockroaches behind the vigraham of Karpakambal in Mylapore. People eat and leave the leaves and remnants of food within the temple. If you want to do pradakshina of the second prakaram of Tiruvanaikka temple, you cannot do it, for it is full of human excreta. This situation is nothing to do with resources. It has to do with our habits. Nobody seems to bother about it. Those whose voice people may listen to, like the religious leadres, are silent on this. It is only in school we 'recite' "cleanliness is next only to Godliness".

    In our project of Sudharsanam in Pudukkottai, we are talking to the public, paricularly students, to take the remedial measures. Our NSS, Rotaract, etc, can participate in this noble venture. As a first step we are trying to form a citizen council in certain selected villages to draw out a programme for temple care and for general developement of the village. We are starting the dialogue in Tiruvarangulam. (The imposing Nataraja bronze in Chatura pose, that adorns the lobby of National Museum at New Delhi belongs to the temple here, and i have read somewhere that this is the second best bronze ever cast by humankind, the first being the one of Tiruvalankadu!) This is the long drawn and slow process. But the only method which can guarenttee sustainability. We would like to know experience and views of others.

    Actually this needs to taken as a movement. We must enlist the support of all those whom the public listen to.

    But I am not certain whether the carrot of 'potential income' would be sufficient to change the dead habits. Dr Kannan has made another suggestion, that all who are inetersted may contribute a small amount to some voluntary organisation which can undertake to maintain the temples. The problem would be to identify a reliable organisation.

  • Hi Friends,

    It's a very nice idea to preserve our heritage.

    Already there is a group involved in this kind of activity in
    Chennai. The name of the group is 'Thirukkovil Uzhavaarappani
    Mandram'. Anyone can join this group for free. No registration fee or
    membership fee or donations required. After becoming the member, they
    will provide the details of the assignment like the temple name,
    location details and what to do there.

    As of now, there are 500 members in this group at the age from 5 to
    65. On the days we are doing the Uzhavaarappani, they will provide
    lunch, snacks, biscuits and juice. Already they are having a list of
    temples to be renovated. But if any temple in our area needs
    uzhavaarappani, we can inform them and they will add that to their

    Mr. N. Aadalarasan is the convener of this group and it is
    functioning at the following location.

    14, Balasubramaniar Kovil St,
    Lakshmi nagar, Velachery,

    Ph :- 91-44-22451555

    Either we can join this group to extend the service to some more
    temples or we can get necessary details and information from them and
    do on our own.

    Think about it. Let us discuss and execute the plan well.

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