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Post renovation, Srirangam records spike in arrival of architectural, spiritual tourists

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A nine-member jury (conservation experts from across the world) of UNESCO has selected the Ranganathaswamy temple out of four other global sites to receive the prestigious 'Award of Merit' of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation for Its ancient infrastructure renovation and for its rain drainage system. The award is In appreciation of the work done to bring back the old and original looks of the temple and the excellent rain drain system. The temple is the first in Tamil Nadu to get such a prestigious award.

WITH the objective of preserving the ancient architecture of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department of the Srirangam temple, the total infrastructure has undergone renovation. All this has been done without deviating from the ancient architecture of the site. Due to the changes, the Srirangam  Anilmigu Ranganathar Temple is attracting archaeological and architectural tourists along with spiritual ones. Built between 9th and 16th centuries, the temple has been renovated several times over different period in time. In the modern era, when renovation was planned, concerns were raised from several quarters whether the antiquity would be maintained. But the fears proved infounded as the one-and-a half-years of renovation work restored the temple to its original form. In fact, so scientific was the process that several statues considered lost were brought out. During removal of sand from the premises, an en-tire pond was found.

The temple is well-known for attracting spiritual visitors but is now drawing those interested in archaeology and architecture as tourists. P Jayaraman, joint commissioner of the temple, said, "We thought of bringing back the ancient and original infrastructural looks of the temple with a touch of Tamil tradition. In 2014, former chief minister, J Jayalalithaa allotted 720 crore to renovate the temple into its original an-cient form." He added, "All old forms of infra-structures were brought back and accordingly, on September 9, 2015, the primary phase of 48 Upasanadhis and 11 towers were restored back to their original looks.

On November 18, 2015, all main deities' sanctums, paddy repository (Nell Kalanjiam), main tower (Raja Koburam) and floorings were restored." Fol-lowing renovation, about 10,000 devotees from across the country and 1,000 tourists from around the world now visit the temple daily. Jayaraman said, "Dueto the earlier modern structural changes, the spiritual feel of the temple was perhaps lacking. We have reverted to the original form to bring back the spiritual and traditional looks of the premises." Speaking to Express, officials stat-ed that before renovation works the temple had about 7,500 to 8,000 devotees from across the nation and about 700 tourists from across the world. But after the renovation process, the number of tourist and devotees had witnessed a gradual rise.

source: epaper newindianexpress. com//c/23410979 

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