Protection of Brihadisvara Temple, Tanjavur, India

Sub: Request for URGENT intervention by UNESCO to protect and preserve Brihadisvara Temple, Tanjavur,a World Heritage Monument of outstanding value to humanity We want to bring to your notice for URGENT intervention and appropriate action a serious dereliction of responsibility by Archaeological Survey of India by not honoring the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. I attach herewith a report with photographic evidence at the website cited to show the imminent danger to the World Heritage Monument, a great living chola temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India. The "Brihadisvara Temple, which was previously inscribed on the World Heritage List, is part of the Great Living Chola Temples http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/250 If UNESCO does not intervene immediately, irreparable damage will be caused to the World Heritage monument and the Heritage may have to move into UNESCO List in Danger http://whc.unesco.org/en/158/ We will provide any additional information that may be needed for UNESCO to enforce the international obligations set out by ratification of the international conventions for protection and safeguard of World Heritage Monuments. Looking forward to receiving your urgent response and immediate remedial action, Thanking you for your consideration and with the best regards, Yours truly, Sd. -- S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D., Sarasvati Research Centre, 3 Temple Avenue, Chennai 600015 kalyan97@gmail.com To: The World Heritage Centre, UNESCO Attention: Mr Francesco Bandarin, Director, F.Bandarin@unesco.org United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 7, place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP, France Tel: +33-(0)1-45 68 15 71 / +33-(0)1-45 68 18 76 Fax: +33-(0)1-45 68 55 70 E-Mail: wh-info@unesco.org Technical support: wh-support@unesco.org Cc: Mme Zohra Nidaye, Secretary, Central and South Asia Unit z.ndiaye@unesco.org Cc: Mme Anne Lemaistre, Chief of Policy and Statutory Implementation Unit A.Lemaistre@unesco.org Cc: Mme Minja Yang, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka m.yang@unesco.org http://janajaati.blogspot.com/2008/08/imminent-danger-to-tanjavur-big-temple.html IMMINENT DANGER TO TANJAVUR BIG TEMPLE By G.P.Srinivasan ASI (Archelogical Survey of India), department under Government of India, has been engaged in renovation work in the Brihadisvara Temple, popularly known as the Big temple for the past one year. This is the present state of parts of the temple after the so called renovation . (Please See Photos http://janajaati.blogspot.com/2008/08/imminent-danger-to-tanjavur-big-temple.html ). In the name of conservation many valuble inscriptions, pillars, manadapam, shrines and original art have been destroyed beyond repair and rendered beyond recovery leading to irreparable loss to the great Hindu heritage. The temple was apparently built like a jig saw puzzle. Each stone was weighed and balanced precisely vis-a-vis the whole complex structure; selected strictly according to agamas and shilapasastra and assembled like a mammoth jig saw puzzle. One has to know high level geometry and complex trignometry, material sciences and ancient temple architecture to understand the complex temple. Last year when the ASI dismantled some portions of the huge complex by untrained contractors, who were never trained in ancient methods of construction technology adopted by the King for constructing the Temple. Now they are having a tough time, as seen from the piles of wreckage which they dismantled for conservation, but now do not know how to do it ! ASI lacks the skills technology and the minute care adopted in foreign countries for conservation. The temple complex resembles a war torn zone like Iraq. The temple has been reduced to piles of broken pillars and beams. This ancient temple, which withstood the test of time, many floods, rains and earthquakes, is in imminent danger. Please read further. It is shocking to note the marks of granite cutters . They have been used to remove blocks of stone called lotus motifs that adorn the outside walls of the huge temple. Rajarajeswaram more popularly known as the Big Temple (at Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India), was built a millennium ago by the Chola emperor Raja Raja I. The UNESCO has declared it as a World Heritage monument. It is completely under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India. The Tanjavur Palace Devastanam is in charge of the temple's religious administration only. It is a treasure-house of art, architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance; fosters the traditional Vedic and Agamic culture. It is hailed as the Devalaya Chakravarti. During the last one year systematic vandalism is taking place within the sacred premises of this great shrine in the name of conservation. Millennium- old inscriptions are getting shattered into smithereens. This is done under the blessed auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India. Portions of the Northern circumambulatory mandapam, the upapeetam and the athishtanam of the Maha Mandapam as also the inner part of the Sri Vimana are systematically destroyed in the name of restoration. The circumambulatory mandapam was built by the Emperor's General known as Krishnan Raman alias Mummudi Chola Brahamaraya. A good many inscriptions were etched on the pillars, walls and basement.Alas, the pillars treasuring these inscriptions, the cross-beams of the roof and also the ceiling stones have been broken to bits and thrown away. Replacement through fresh stones is at work. These new stones bear no comparison to the old ones at all. Moreover, the stones laid as foundation by Raja Raja have been uprooted, dismantled and carted away. It is said, lorry loads of stones have been sold secretly. In addition to dismantling the stones in the adhistanam and upapeetam pertaining to Mahamandapam, granite-cutters have substantially damaged the Kumudappadai, thus in the process weakening the building. The inner plastering of the Sri Vimana had been totally removed as a consequence of which rain water seeps into the building and utterly spoils the ancient paintings. As the protecting nets in the Sri Vimana have been removed, the Sri Vimana has become as asylum of bats.

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  • Ramkumar This temple is a symbol of ancient Indian art and architecture. Please save it.

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