Chennai: Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu stressed on the importance of preserving antiquities at the release of the book ‘Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam: Preserving antiquity for posterity’ published by the Indian Culture and Heritage Trust.
The first copy was released by Venkaiah Naidu in the presence of Governor Banwarilal Purohit. The Srirangam temple, is a Vaishnava temple, spread over 156 acres with 21 towers and is the only temple to have seven concentric enclosures. The project of restoring the temple was done in 16 months.
Over 50,000 tonnes of debris was removed and over 1330 member team comprising of sthapathis, engineers, architects, conservationists, historians, archaeologists, artists and craft persons.
Following the restoration work, it received the UNESCO award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in the Asia Pacific region. Venkaiah Naidu said, “It is noble work done in exemplary timely manner in bringing back ancient heritage culture and restoring in its original place. The project was Initiated by late Chief Minister J Jayalilthaa. The conservation is remarkable that too of a 500 year-old temple to its original shape. In passage of time, this great architectural resplendence lost its glory to neglect and misuse. Stagnant water and encroachment had changed the structure and landscape of the temple. It is much more difficult to preserve treasure than acquire it. We should come out of the mindset of not preserving our heritage and culture.”
“It is not left to government alone, people, the believers are equally responsible to preserve the heritage given to us by for fathers. Temples, mutts, other religious places of worship should be preserved, conserved, restored and promoted. Sadly, we are not paying attention to it.”
Chairman, TVS Motor Company and Chairman of the Board of trustees of the Arulmigu Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, Venu Srinivasan said, “The temple is spiritually powerful and represents the finest of architecture. The work was so elaborate that it was equal to working on 40 temples. We had complete cooperation from all arms of the government.”
Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, Government of Tamilnadu, Sevvoor S Ramachandran and Minister for Tamil Culture and development, Pandiarajan and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar were also present on the occasion.
It maybe noted that the temple located on Srirangam Island, is cradled by rivers Kaveri and Kollidam, it is studded with gopurams, mandapams, prakarams and sanctums far more in number than any other temple in India.