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Stamp, coin release mark 1,000 years of Big Temple

Last updated: 26 September, 2010
Chennai, Sep 26, DH News Service: 23:26 IST

National icon celebrated

The Brhadeeswarar Temple, a marvel of South Indian temple architecture completed in the year 1010 AD under the reign of the Tamil King Raja Raja Cholan, on Sunday joined the esteemed gallery of modern Indias icons, as its 1,000th year celebrations drew to a close.

At a huge rally in the temple town of Thanjavur on Sunday evening to mark the valedictory of the Big Temple’s five-day millennium festivity, a colourful and enchanting Rs 5 special stamp of the amazing 216-feet tall grand ‘Gopuram’ was released, besides a special commemorative Rs 5 coin with the temple’s model embossed on it, released by the Reserve Bank of India.

In the presence of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Union Telecom Minister A Raja released the prestigious ‘ Brihadeeswarar Temple ’ stamp, the first of which was received by Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan, representing the Congress at the function.

In what was hailed as a recognition of the ‘Big Temple’s unique contribution to the country’s architectural, epigraphic and cultural history, the release of the special coin by the Union Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickkam, added lustre to the large stage, a look-alike of the majestic temple. A statue of the Chola King also adorned the stage.

Soon after the ‘gold-plated coins’ were released, veteran Bharat Natyam danseuse Dr Padma Subrahmanyam, who led the grand dance tribute by 1,000 dancers inside the Big Temple complex on Saturday evening, was pleasantly surprised as Karunanidhi gifted her a silk purse of 1,000 new coins.

“I only sought a gold coin as a token-memento for our participation in this festival, but the Chief Minister has given a huge purse of 1,000 gold coins, one each to be gifted to all the 1,000 dancers who paid tributes to the temple and the King who built it,” Dr Subrahmanyam said, thanking Karunanidhi for the gesture. The coins will reach all the dancers, she said.

While Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin inaugurated at the festival’s start an impressive exhibition depicting the various facets of the Chola Era, including sculptures, paintings and bronzes, the festivities were packed with other literary events and seminars, besides a historical play on the King.

Tamil language renaissance and revitalisation of the social life was led in the 10th century by Raja Raja Chola, said noted Tamil scholar and State Finance Minister Prof K Anbazhagan.

Winding up the valedictory, Karunanidhi emphasised that though Raja Raja Chola was a Saivite King, his secular outlook was evidenced by his grant of lands to Vaishnavities, Buddhists and Jains. The DMK chief also baptised a high-yielding paddy variety, ‘Semmai Nel’, as ‘Raja Rajan-1000’ to perpetuate the memory of the King who built the temple.

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