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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Which Side Are The Conservatives?

Which Side Are The Conservatives?
Which Side Are The Conservatives?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
It’s a choice between religiosity and aesthetics that the Shiva presiding over the Thiruvannamalai Hills can’t himself make. Small wonder then that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Tamil Nadu’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department have locked horns over it. The latter has under its care some 36,000 temples but the asi has always felt uneasy about the state government’s ability (or the lack of it) to maintain these temples.

Executive officers, with little training in conservation, have tended to desecrate existing structures in the name of renovation and re-sanctification (kumbhabhisekam). K.T. Narasimhan, superintending archaeologist at the asi’s regional office in Chennai, has been keen on salvaging important temples, like the one at Thiruvannamalai, from such abuse. The asi argues the temple was "desecrated by rampant and illegal construction at its base, between the path of the hill and the hill itself". On October 21, it issued a notification under Section 4(1) of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, seeking to take over the 1,000-year-old Chola shrine so as to preserve it as a ‘national monument’.

But the HR&CE department has petitioned the Madras High Court and contended that the day-to-day affairs of the temple would be affected, that it would be reduced to a tourist attraction.

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