Thekkadi, April 29, 2015
Mangala Devi Kannagi Temple can be renovated but a sketch or portrait of the original temple is required to restore it to its original shape, according to G. Premnath, Director, Department of Archaeology, Kerala.
Addressing a special meeting to discuss the arrangements made for Chitra Pournami festival at Kannagi Temple here on Tuesday, he said that the Department of Archaeology had been studying the temple’s history and collecting other details. The only evidence for the temple available in Tamil literature was in Silappathikaram. The temple was constructed 1,800 years ago and the structure was now in a dilapidated condition, he added.
“We cannot renovate the temple by simply assembling scattered stones on the temple campus. A portrait or drawing is essential to restore it. A portrait will be useful in renovating the temple properly. To begin with, maintenance can be done to protect the temple from further damage,” he said.
Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) Deputy Director Sanjay Kumar said that renovation or maintenance could not be undertaken as it was within the PTR. Prior permission from the Supreme Court, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and National Board for Wild Life was essential before undertaking renovation work.
If the Department of Archaeology and the government obtained clearance from these agencies, the temple could be renovated, he added.
Later, Theni and Idukki Collectors N. Venkatachalam and V. Ratheesan decided to convene a special meeting after Chitra Pournami festival. (Already, Mangala Devi Kannagi Trust had filed a case for renovation of temple.) Even as the administration in Idukki and Theni districts had inalised plans for the forthcoming festival in the first meeting, it convened a second meeting on Tuesday as some devotees’ organisations in Kerala complained that they were not invited for the first meeting. Idukki MLA Biju Mol protested for not being invitedher for the meeting. But she did not attend.