Srirangam Ranganathar temple - recent collapse of sunshade on first tier of east tower testifies apathy of HR & CE!!

Sunshade collapse, east tower, srirangam

Several decades have gone by since  the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department had taken control over  more than 35 thousand Hindu temples across Tamil Nadu. Their purpose was to protect temple treasures  in the state that represent our culture and ethos.  In the past two decades their role has become a subject of controversy and debate. What they done so far is just zilch. HR & CE is entangled in m countless  unethical activities that go unabated  - right from  loss of temple jewellery, stolen antique idols, damages to sculptures and rare inscriptions on temple walls during  improper renovations, sale and encroachment of acres of temple land, converting Hindu temples into bazaars in the entrance halls-madabams, multiple allegations like misappropriation of temple revenue, melting gold and silver (donated by  devotees), etc. People across Tamil nadu are angry, the way  the historical temples are being mismanaged by them.  The recent collapse of a portion of sunshade on the first tier of the east tower of Srirangam Ranganathar temple made the devotees more furious than before.  Quite appalling is the dereliction of duty on the part of temple officials.    

Srirangam Ranganathar temple, east tower, sunshade fell off.

Srirangam Ranganathar temple, east tower, sunshade fell off.
Above image:  The portion of the sun shade on one of the towers at the eastern entrance of Srirangam, Tamil Nadu Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple (dedicated to God Vishnu) that collapsed on Saturday (5th Aug. 2023) in the wee hours. In July itself minor  cracks were noticed by the people on the kodungai with intricate patterns made of lime mortar on the first tier above the Dwarapalakas statues on the western side of the gopuram facing East Chithirai Street. It was was sheer providence that no one died.  .................

That the sunshade in the first  tier of the Eastern entrance gopuram (tower) of the popular Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple fell off  in the early hours of 5 August, 2023  near  Trichy, Tamil Nadu,  testifies how careless are the officials of the HR & CE, the state government agency, who  manages the the age old historical temple, an important Vaishnavite pilgrimage center. The 131-foot-tall nine-tier temple tower is  between East Chithirai Street and East Adayavalanjan Street and has kodungais (measuring 15 ft in length and two ft in height) on the first two tiers

.Srirangam Ranganathar temple, east tower, sunshade fell off.
It is to be noted that people normally use  this temple entrance to access the temple and also to reach the residences around the temple.  Fortunately, though nobody was injured in the mishap that had  happened in the early morning, this unexpected event  sent a shock wave and sparked anxiety among the devotees across Srirangam and the city of Tiruchirappalli. Further, the pilgrims were in pain as this accident took place on Saturday which is believed to be an auspicious day for Lord Ranganathar.

 A portion of the stone fa├žade with minor sculptures on the second tier of the Damodara Krishnankoil gopuram,one of the towers in the eastern entrance of the temple collapsed and fell on the ground. Within hours the broken debris were removed from the site. Soon after the accident countless  visitors and locals were reluctant to go near the eastern gopuram. The police had already set the barricade near the entrance gate.  HR&CE started the repair work with respect to  strengthening the wooden rafters on the gopuram.

HR & CE, sanctioned Rs. 97 lakh to restore the gopuram and the repair work on the first and second levels of the gopuram had been in progress on condition that the work should not affect the heritage aspect this Hindu temple dedicated to God Vishnu. It is the largest functional temple in the world with 21 towers - gopurams, covering roughly 156 acres of land. The Rajagopuram is the tallest in India and this Vishnu kshethram is the first in the list of 108 divya desam shrines across India. 

temple mismanagement. photo credit:

In the 2nd and third week of July 2023 itself, the local people spotted the weakened portion of the sunshade on the second tier of the Damodara Krishnan tower and alerted the HR & CE office of the Srirangam temple. As usual, no prompt action was taken by the HR&CE who failed to understand  danger of destruction and death  lurking  around the corner due to  postponing of the repair work on the gopuram below which hundreds of people walk through during peak hours daily. In 2021 cracks appeared on the same place and in May that year the agency did carry out the repair work. Knowing the early  repair work,  this kind of apathy and lethargic attitude this time is quite unfortunate and disgusting. This famous heritage  temple gets unworthy treatment from an irresponsible  govt. agency. Local people are complaining about the poor up keep of this huge temple despite vast revenue the temple collects daily and they also complain that much of the income goes to to the government and only a small amount is set aside for temple maintenance.  Local devotees are quite furious over HR & CE' s belated action which they could have taken in July itself.