Shiva Temple – Reach Foundation: Conserve our Rich Heritage!!
Happenings as on May 2012
First of April 2012, the REACH team headed by Dr T Satyamurthy unearthed a Shiva temple belonging to the Pallava Era at a Village called Pandur, some 12 kms of Vayalur on the ECR Road. The villagers have agreed to continue proper excavation and rebuilding a new temple as per REACH’s norms.
The renovation and restoration work at Gangai Kondan Mandap, Kanchipuram has progressed well and the huge lintel at the entrance has been replaced. The front motif of Sridevi, Bhudevi and Varadaraja Swami has been remade and fixed in lime mortar and the parapet walls above the mandap have been re-laid after removal of unwanted debris and vegetation.
REACH’s work at Varadaraja Perumal Kovil, Kanchipuram
The 100 pillar hall has undergone dramatic change since we took up its restoration 2 years ago. The lime covering the intricate sculptures have been removed, the top roof weathering coarse replastered with lime and the flooring inside has been re-set. Next we would be taking up the railing of the Mandapa and removing the iron grills that are spoiling the aesthetics. Hidden Lighting would be the last thing we would be undertaking.
The Prahara walls which are tall standing some 70 feet high on highly inscribed walls within the temple are now replastered by REACH’s lime sthapathi team. The HR&CE sthapathi who had no inkling of lime work was asked to take help from REACH by the temple E.O himself, and thanks to his vision, the re-plastering is now happening in lime mortar.
The mural paintings around the sanctum would be retouched using traditional artisans and materials. The Prahara walls too consist of murals depicting all the 108 divya kshetrams and are badly mutilated and scribbled with graffiti and painted over with acrylic paint in many places. Last 19th May 2012, the REACH chemical restoration team led by Dr T Satyamurthy assisted by ASI chemical engineers and some REACH volunteers cleaned few panels with prior permission from the HR&CE and the results were amazing.
The cleaned surface looked like a freshly done mural with rich natural colours! The estimate and the cost of restoration of the murals are being analyzed and will be submitted to the department soon for permission and some good hearted donors have come forward to fund for this work.
Permission for the restoration of the following temples is likely to be issued to REACH:
The Thandarai Kuntheeswarar temple alias Ratna Garbeswarar temple
The Thayar Sannidhi of Arasar Koil near Padalam Kootu Road
The Brahmanya Lingam temple rebuilding was marred by the neighbour of the shrine itself, again another ancient Shiva temple at Kanchipuram! We checked the Government records only to find that the place he occupied was not in his control and he was thwarting the uprising of this important shrine where the Great Mahaswami Kanchi Seer visited and worshipped! Proper legal battle through media, Collector’s office and letters to the department and CM’s special cell, light is dawning now and the encroacher has been asked to vacate within a given period of time and leave the premises undisturbed so that the Brahmanya Lingam shrine restoration by our trustee Shri S. Hariharan would resume!
The work in Thandurai is in progress. Thanks to Mr. Saju’s timely article in the Times of India, we hope the work of Kidangarai Runahara Isvarar temple will start soon.
Those who want to take part in restorations can contact firstname.lastname@example.org