Tamil Nadu Hindu temples and their properties - HR & CE goes hand in glove with encroachers 02

Mahabalipuram shore temple.dreamstime.com/

With respect to misuse of temple lands, etc the legislation is merely on paper  and no action is forthcoming from the government in power. Since 1970 the TN government has been lethargic about abuse of temple lands and mismanagement of income from them. Equally dishonest are the HR & CE officials who never take  action against the culprits - those who illegally grab lands or steal valuable antique bronze idols of deities from  the temples.  
A comprehensive legislation may not be an instant panacea, but it will  take time to form  an independent administration of Hindu religious institutions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks about the government's  control of temples in South India, especially Tamil Nadu (TN)  not only got the national attention but also like minded Hindus cutting across castes to think about their fate in the future. Decline of Hindu temples means, slow erosion of our culture.   No doubt temples more than 1500 years have symbolised Bharat’s civilisational ethos and culture. ''When our Constitution bestows the fundamental right for every religious denomination to establish and administer institutions, how did only Hindu places of worship come under such state superintendence?''  The Bill that seeks to amend the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 was tabled in the Assembly on Monday and was passed unanimously Sept.14, 2021.

The following are the listed historical temples or sites that all have been desecrated, damaged or encroached upon; 

Mahabalipuram shore temple. Saving Hindu temples indiatimes.com

Mahabalipuram shore temple Saving Hindu  temples indiatimes.com

01. The Abatsahayesvar temple, Thukkachi,near Kumbakonam:

 Rajagopuram of the Abatsahayesvar temple.indiatimes.com

The Abatsahayesvar temple in Thukkachi, 15km from Kumbakonam is known for its delicate brick structure interwoven with stone pillars., The Rajagopuram is in ruins  enveloped with thick vegetation and moss these days.It gives a decrepit look which it does not deserve.   Built by Rajendra Chola I (1014-1044 CE)  about a thousand years ago and further expanded by Vikrama Chola (1118-1135CE), at stake is the rare architecture - brick structure intertwined with stone pillars. There are hardly temples like this in the modern era. The heritage temple has numerous cracks, due to over wild plant growth and root-wedging. The temple has faded  murals and broken sculptures and it bear testimony to the sheer neglect of HR & CE. 

Said to have been  renovated three years ago but the project was dropped due to lack of artisans skilled in this type of work blended with  stone pillars. Here God Shiva's consort is  Soundara Nayaki Ambal (Durga) who has a separate niche and faces south, unlike in other Shiva temples where she faces north. This temple once had  seven Prakaras but currently only has three. The rare  Sarabeswarar shrine of the temple is believed to be the first of the three Sarabeswarar temples built in  Kumbakonam city.


02. 1000 year-old Naganathaswamy temple, Manambadi village near Kumbakonam,TN 


Naganathaswamy temple, TN  thehindu.com

The 1000 year-old  Naganathaswamy (dedicated to Shiva) temple built by Rajendra Chola in  Manambadi village near Kumbakonam is facing the threat of demolition for expansion of a road under the Thanjavur-Vikkiravandi four-way project of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Later in  2016 it was 
 pulled down by the government in the name of renovation, say heritage activists. Renovation work was initiated in 2016, but it never completed. The temple has innumerable stone inscriptions, etc and in 2021 they had a proposal to rebuild the temple with dismantled parts. Note the site is in a pitiable state. 


03. Kailasanatha Temple.Tiruporur town,TN

Kailasanathar temple,Thiruporur. tamilnadu-favtourism.blogspot.com


Located atop the Pranava Malai Hills it is unusual  see a Shiva Temple atop the hill while  Murugan temple is at the base. *Presiding Deity is called as Kailasanathar and  his consort is  Balambigai. No road facility to go  uphill to visit the temple. Both Moolavar kailasanathar and Ambal Balambigai are facing east direction.

About 50 km from Chennai Pranava Malai overlooks Tiruporur town (Chengalpattu district).The steep muddy path that leads to the shrine winds its way through megalithic burial places covering  the hill. But instead of a board or fencing marking the archaeological significance of the region, The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) protected site is littered with broken liquor bottles and garbage. The slopes are dotted with  rural homes and huts occupied by the poor people. This monument is not fenced and protected from trespassers and encroachers. Nor does the AST installed an information board detailing the history of the temple and the megalithic burial place dating back to deveral centuries.    Being in a secluded place, it is not advisable for women to venture  there after evening , 


04. Erumbeeswarar (Shiva) Temple (Malai kovil), Thiruverumbur in Trichy, TN:  

Sri Erumbeeswarar temple in Thiruverumbur near Tiruchi. thehindu.com

Located close to  the popular Tiruchi-Thanjavur expressway,  Erumbeeswarar Temple (Malai kovil),  atop a hill (60 ft tall) in Thiruverumbur,  near Tiruchirappalli city, is quite visible  from far of distance and no person can miss it with its tall boundary walls that are similar to a fort.  Dedicated to God Shiva (Swayambhu murthy), the shrine can only be accessed by a series of carved stone steps. The temple's main shrines and its two prakarams (outer courtyards) are  atop a small hill 60 ft tall whereas a hall and the temple tank are  at the foothills.  It was built by the Chola king Aditya I (871-907 CE). Aditya to commemorate the victory, in Thirupurambiyam.  The temple has 49 inscriptions from the Chola period (850-1280 CE).  There is a girivalam path around the hill and this monument is encroached upon all around by the people. There are houses close to hill. The temple has weak ceiling and a large  part of the inner ‘prakaram’  with numerous cracks due to water seepage. The temple  tank is polluted. The historical value of this ancient goes uncared for. 


05. The Mahabalipuram Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site:

 Mahabalipuram Shore Temple UNESCO  site. memorableindia.com/blog

near Chennai. Mahabalipuram Shore Temple drishtiias.com

The Mahabalipuram Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (7th-8th CE built by Pallava rulers) near Chennai has become an eyesore. and lost its heritage sheen long ago, primarily because of  loss of tranquility, heaps of trash and garbage, heavy vehicular traffic, noise pollution etc.. The town has lost its heritage site status. Scores of shops on the road to  the temple mar the heritage site that is still known as  Unfinished Poetry in Stone.  This monument is already facing natural threats from the sea being on the shore due to battering waves, high humidity, air quality, etc, not to speak of monsoon rains. Salt-induced deterioration of the monument is yet another headache.  The sea erosion can not be stopped; destructive waves have stronger backwashes than swashes cause severe damages to the historical sites.   High tides in the Bay of Bengal, slowly, fiercely,  affected the shoreline along the northern portion of the temple. In a study done in 2013, the Mahabalipuram coast had undergone erosion of up to 177 metres in the past 41 years from the year of the study.