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Tarangampadi Siva temple disintegrating

By K. Subramanian

NAGAPATTINAM, MARCH 18 . The Bay of Bengal is gradually swallowing an ancient Siva temple at Tarangampadi (Tranquebar).

The Masilanathaswamy temple, on the shores, has been disintegrating under the relentless battering of waves.

While the Danish Fort, also called `Dansborg Fort,' just 200 metres from the temple, escaped the December 24, 2004 tsunami, the temple suffered further damage. The pillars on the front portion crumbled.

Fifty per cent of the temple, built in 1305 AD during the reign of Pandya King Maravarman Kulasekara, has been lost in erosion in the last two decades. The `vimana' fell down during the monsoon rain in October last.

A large number of exquisitely-carved granite pillars have already disappeared, as also parts of the entrance.

No income from endowment

It is said the temple has been endowed with 1,500 acres, the rent from which is to be used for maintenance and pujas. But the temple is not getting any rent. No puja is being performed. Only a few people visit the monument.

"If a proposal for conservation comes, the ASI will consider it and provide grant in aid," T. Satyamurthy, Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Chennai, told The Hindu .

Archaeological exploration

On the possibility of underwater archaeological exploration on the Tarangampadi and Poompuhar coast, he said, "We are now concentrating on the Mahabalipuram coast. The ASI will take up an underwater archaeological survey on the Tarangampadi and Poompuhar coast next year with the help of the Navy."

R.M. Veerappan, then Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister, S.K. Misra, former Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism, and V. Balaguru, then Chairman, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, who visited Tarangampadi in 1987, said it was necessary to protect the Danish fort and the temple, erecting walls along the shore. They said a Rs. 75-lakh plan was being prepared to improve the Tarangampadi coast. But the place is yet to get a facelift.

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