Almost a replica
FROM STATUES, figurines, pillars, corridors to shlokas inscribed on the walls... the set has it all. A variety of materials like plaster of Paris, plywood, fibreglass, gunny and gada have been used to create the set. The nine-storied gopuram bears the sculptures of gods and goddesses with huge yalis on the top. Some stand-alone sculptures decorate the terrace as well.
The garba griha (sanctum sanctorum) has the mandatory dwarapalakas at the entrance besides the idols of Ganesha and Kartikeya. The goddess Meenakshi is resplendent in all her finery and holds the parrot in her hand.
Thota Tharani (seventh from left) and the men who made it possible
Thota Tharani has ensured a lot of detailing. For instance, the ancient look is evident in the textures of the dwarapalakas and pillars (besides the slightly used and worn out look the pillars have traces of kumkum on them as seen in many temples), the iron barricades before the sanctum (for the queues), statues of vahanas (the vehicle on which the goddess is carried during festivals) and Nayanmars (Shaivite saints) and paintings on the ceilings.
A divine aura has been created. It is very much like a place of worship. The whiff of incense greets the visitor inside the sanctum sanctorum. "We have consecrated the idol as per the Sastraic rules. Priests from Madurai also participated in this," says Gunasekhar. Daily pujas are performed and the lamps are left burning continuously.
"About 2000-300 workers toiled for about six months to put up this edifice. While 70 per cent of the workforce was from Chennai the rest were from Hyderabad. It would not have been possible but for the dedication and sincerity of these men," sums up Tharani.
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