18-Jun-2018

Centre seeks report on demolition of Kalmandapams near Padmanabha Swamy temple

Thiruvananthapuram March 4: The Centre today sought a report from authorities of the famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple here about the controversial demolition of the heritage kalmandapams on the banks of the shrines pond as part of renovation work.
 
Kalmandapams or stone mandapams are centuries-old platforms located on the banks of the padmatheertham, the temple pond, at the East Fort area in the city.
 
Director General of Tourism, Satyajeet Rajan, who inspected the demolished mandapams and the pond area, said a report was sought from the temple executive officer V Ratheesan in this regard.
 
The renovation works of the temple pond and the adjacent areas were being carried out under the Centres Swadesh Darshan scheme.
 
"We have sought a report from the temple executive officer on whether they have got necessary permission from the agencies concerned..the report is expected within one week," Rajan told reporters.
 
However, the officer, who evaluated the progress of the renovation work, said the overall quality of the work was "good."
 
The work, being executed by the Kerala State Nirmiti Kendra (KSNK) at the temple pond and premises, had courted controversy last month after local residents, devotees and Travancore royal family members came out against the demolition of the heritage kalmandapams.
 
The protesters had alleged that the mode of the renovation and the dismantling of granite pillars were not in a scientific manner, which was rejected by temple authorities.
 
The shrine management has claimed that the granite slabs and pillars of the mandapams would be restored as such as part of renovation and it was dismantled as it was necessary to reinforce it.
 
"They said the mandapams were dismantled for strengthening its base. They also said the same granite stones would be used for the construction," the officer said. The authorities could brief local residents and devotees about renovation works being taken up at frequent intervals, he said.
 
Rajan said the renovation work, which has been presently put on hold, was expected to be completed within the next two months. nventory while considering a private petition recently.
 
The deity of Padmanabha Swami Temple is the family deity of the Travancore royal family.
 
Members of the erstwhile royal family had dedicated their kingdom to the deity and pledged that they will live as servants of Padmanabha.