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Strong ground to dismiss popular belief



Exploiding the 'shadow' myth

THE STORY, which is doing rounds for more than a century and is widely believed, is that the shadow of the vimana of the Big Temple, built by King Raja Raja Cholan in Thanjavur, will not fall on the ground.

But, Kudavayil Balasubramanian, a research scholar and expert on temples and S. Rajendran, architect and civil engineer of Thanjavur, have a different tale to tell. They say, ``No. It is not true.

It is a falsehood repeatedly told to students, historians, tourists and all visiting the temple, which has been declared as world heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Scientific Organisation''.

To explode the myth, they have taken photographs, using digital camera, which show the shadow of the vimana falling on the ground.

From morning till evening, at all times, the shadow of vimana with shikara, keethimugas and kalasam falls on the ground, they say.

Describing the temple as an architectural marvel built 1000 years ago, they say the temple has no parallels in the world.

Facts about the temple — 212-foot vimana, 80-tonne cupbolic dome, more than six foot-high kalasam, 55-foot circumference, big linga and big nandhi — can reveal the grandeur of the temple.

There is no need for a myth to boost the grandeur of the temple, Mr. Rajendran said.

"It is a wonder that the shadow story has gone deep into the psyche of the people about this wonderful monument.

The `myth-tellers' will say that the shadow of the entire vimana will not fall on the ground.

If someone points out to the shadow, they will change the story and say that the shadow of the 80-tonne cupbolic doom will not fall. Then, they will say the shadow of kalasam will not fall.

All they say has been proved wrong, for it is clear now that the shadow of the vimana with shikara and Kalasam falls on the ground'', Dr. Kudavayil Balasubramanian says.

From G. Srinivasan
in Thanjavur.

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