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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ASI move to take over - protests grow at Thirukadanmallai Divyadesam

சென்னைக்கு அருகே அமைந்துள்ள அழகான திவ்யதேசம் 'திருக்கடல்மல்லை'  

பொதுவாக வைணவத் தலங்களில், நின்றான், கிடந்தான் என்றபடி   துயில்கின்ற பெருமாள், இத்தலத்திலே 'திவளும்வெண்மதிபோல் திருமுகம்' என அற்புதமான நிலவை போன்று திருமுகத்துடன்,  தான் புரிந்த பல அவதாரங்களின் சிறப்புடன் தன்னை அடைந்தவர்கள் அனைவருக்கும் எல்லா அருள் புரிபவனாக உள்ளான் என திருமங்கை ஆழ்வார் மங்களாசாசனம் செய்துள்ளார்.  

"அன்னமும் மீனும் ஆமையும் அரியும் ஆயஎம் மாயனே !அருளாய், என்னுமின் தொண்டர்க் கின்னருள் புரியும் இடவெந்தை யெந்தை பிரானை' என ஆழ்வார் வாக்கு.  அத் திருத்தலத்தில் நடக்கும் சில நிகழ்வுகள் பற்றிய பதிவு இது :
அடியேன் ஸ்ரீனிவாச தாசன். 

For a Sri Vaishnavaite,  it is one’s duty to do ‘nithyanushtana karmas’ , follow our Sampradhayam, regularly go to Temples, especially Divadesams, preserve and take care of our  culture, tradition and heritage.  Divyadesams are beautiful places reverred by our Great Azhwaars; not all the divyadesams sung by Alwars are accessible now and of the available Divyadesams, some are controlled in a different way [lokacharam]

In Tamilnadu, where most of the Divyadesams are situated, the temples are under the clutches of Government, controlled by HR&CE Department – often there have been some infringements and unnecessary controls hindering continuance of age-old rituals and practices.  There are some atheists, non-believers and those bent on creating trouble causing needless trouble to the customary practices,  much to the anguish of believers.   It is in this background that one felt lurking fear reading the an announcement  proclaiming the Notification of the  Archaeological Survey of India, pertaining to protection of Sri Sthalasayanaperumal Temple, Mamallapuram, District Kanchipuram – the  divyadesam of Maamallapuram (Kadanmallai Thalasayanam)  where Lord reclining on the ground with the name  ‘Sthalasayana Perumal”  grants the wishes of all His devotees.  This is also the birth place of azhwaar – Boothath Azhwaar.   

The fears are not totally unfounded though we would like them to be so…….. the apprehension was that once Temple comes within the control of  Archaeological Survey of India, it would become more of a monumental place rather than the Temple of worship.   One would expect residents of a town to take pride in ancient structures in their locality being declared as monuments of national importance.  There has been appreciable reaction from the residents in the town of  Mamallapuram  housing the temple of  Sthalasayana Perumal.  Residents have been flooding the Archaeological Survey of Indias sub-office in Mamallapuram and Circle office at Fort St George in Chennai with petitions against the move.  Today [13th June 2012]  there is another report in Times of India, Chennai Edition titled ‘Mamallapuram protests against ASI move to take over Pallava-era temple’
The reports states that “Opposition is building up against the Archaeological Survey of India’s proposal to take over the Pallavaera Sri Sthalasayana Perumal temple at the world heritage site in Mamallapuram, 60km south of Chennai. In a show of solidarity against the takeover, people hoisted black flags atop all 3,500 houses, about 1,000 shops in the town on Tuesday.

This the first in a series of events planned at a recent meeting in the town where all political parties, including the DMK and the AIADMK, agreed to oppose the takeover of the temple. On June 19, all shops on the six main roads will be shut followed by protests and rallies in the town on June 28.

Finally, on July 3, the ECR at Mamallapuram would be blocked. “Public anger was evident in the monthly council meeting of the Mamallapuram town panchayat in May when a resolution was passed against the takeover,” said town panchayat chairman M Kothandapani.  On May 20, the ASI issued a notice seeking objections if any to the Centre’s proposal to declare the temple a monument of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. Within a couple of days, more than 3,000 petitions flooded the ASI’s sub-office in Mamallapuram and the circle office at Fort St George, Chennai. “We have lived here for generations and are better informed about the town’s heritage than those coming here to conserve it. Our opposition is not against conservation but the restrictions that will follow,” said S Balaji, a resident.

Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Site and Remains Amendment Act, 2010, no construction or repair work of existing structures is allowed within 100 metres of a monument — a prohibited area — while the area within 200 metres of the prohibited area is a regulated area where repair or alteration can be done with the National Monuments Authority’s approval. The temple, built in the eight century, has some of the most ancient sculptures in Mamallapuram.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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