Indian Government Takeover of Tamil Nadu Temples and Historical Sites

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 2002 (ID. 2002-12-03)
This article was originally identified as an update to Reference 1, and numbered ID. 2002-12-u1a.
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AIADMK - All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

MDMK - Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

PMK - Pattali Makkal Katchi

In the article "Why is Emperor Raja Raja Cholan Standing outside the Thanjai Big Temple?" [Reference 1], the Indian Government takeover of Thanjai Peria Koil (Tanjore Big Temple or Thanjavoor Peria Koil) was criticized. The legendary Tamil Emperor Raja Raja Cholan built this famous temple over one thousand years ago. Once the Indian Government took over the temple, it made arbitrary decisions about the temple giving no heed to the wishes of the Tamil people and the Tamil Nadu Government elected by the Tamil people. The Indian Government also makes a concerted effort to hide the glory of the imperial Chola dynasty and Emperor Raja Raja Cholan who built the temple. It did not want the thousands on non-Tamil pilgrims, tourists and visitors to know of the golden days of Tamil Nadu [Reference 1].

Now, in 2002, the Archeological Survey of India (controlled by the Indian Government) decided to take over the centuries-old Tiruvannamalai temple (Sri Arunachaleswara Temple). They did not even have the courtesy to inform the Tamil Nadu Government of their intention. 

Tamil Nadu Government had filed a lawsuit against the takeover. Tiruvannamalai Municipal Council passed a resolution opposing the takeover. The newly formed Arunachaleswara Temple Protection Committee organized a one-day strike on November 6, 2002 to express local people's opposition. All businesses in the town closed and local people took out a protest march. Major Tamil Nadu political parties including the AIADMK (the ruling party in Tamil Nadu), DMK, PMK and MDMK have expressed their opposition to the takeover. We thank them all.

Tamil temples and historical sites should be managed by the Tamil Nadu Government. We oppose the takeover by Indian Government because the Indian Government buries the uniqueness of Tamil culture, religious heritage and history. Instead of taking over Tamil Nadu's cultural and religious sites, the Indian Government should devolve funds to the Tamil Nadu Government so it may care for them and manage them. We want the Indian Government to hand over all the temples it took over in Tamil Nadu back to the Tamil Nadu Government immediately. 

Spelling of Tamil Names: Sometimes Tamil names are spelled differently by different people. Here are some alternate spellings of names used in this article.

Cholan - Cholzan, Chozan
Raja Rajan - Rajarajan
Tiruvannamalai - Thiruvannamalai
Thanjavoor - Thanjavur


1. Why is Emperor Raja Raja Cholan Standing outside the Thanjai Big Temple? (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2001

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