TN to celebrate Brihadeeshwarar temple's 1,000 years

Millennial moment

Built by Chola king Rajaraja-I in 1,010 AD , the 216-foot temple was declared as a World Heritage monument by the Unesco  for its “exceptional universal value as a cultural site.”
Deccan Herald had first reported the state government turning cold to the temple’s millennium year celebrations in March this year. The state was then reportedly busy preparing for the World Classical Tamil Conference (WCTC) held in June at Coimbatore.

Announcing the government’s intent to hold a grand festival to mark the Big Temple’s millennium at a rally in Thanjavur on Tuesday night, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said he was offering it not only as a tribute to the Chola king, but also as a “gift” to the resilience of the people there.

 A plan for improving Thanjavur’s infrastructure was also on the cards, he said.
Karunanidhi also disclosed that Tamil scholars from different countries who participated in the WCTC had unanimously urged him that, given the Big Temple’s architectural marvel and its yet-to-be-comprehended “engineering secrets,” it would be only proper for the state government to organise the millennium celebrations.

Weeks before the WCTC, a rare treasure of 86 Chola period copper plate inscriptions, dated to Rajaraja’s grandson Rajadhi Rajan’s reign, had been unearthed in Nagapattinam district. The entire inscriptional bunch was on display at the WCTC’s cultural exhibition.

The Tamil scholars, pointing to this coincidental archeological find, had cited the latest discovery as yet another reason for “remembering the king’s grandfather Rajaraja I and the temple he built in its millennium year,” Karunanidhi said.

Using the opportunity to strike a chord with Brahmins, who  revere Thanjavur as an ancient seat of culture, Karunanidhi recalled how a “Brahmin-friend,” Gopu, had helped him win the Assembly elections from the Thanjavur constituency in 1962. “I am saying this only to drive home that the DMK is not against Brahmins, but only against
Brahminism,” he added.

Karunanidhi has ordered the opening of the Mettur reservoir from Wednesday evening, bowing to the sentiments of farmers and people of the Cauvery delta districts to let water flow into the river in view of the ensuing “Adi Perukku” festival on
August 3.

Though the water level in the dam stood at 82.4 feet on Wednesday against its full level of 120 feet, the monsoon getting active in the Cauvery’s catchment areas in Karnataka now raised hope for releasing water from the reservoir for the “Samba” (second crop) paddy in the delta, officials added.  Cauvery waters have not been released for the “Kuruvai” (first crop) paddy this year.

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