Shore temple to be illuminated for Modi-Xi summit

Last Updated 22 September 2019, 12:53 IST

The historic shore temple and five rathas here are all set to get enlivened with world-class lighting and a dash of fresh green with pruned trees and trimmed landscape for the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping next month.

The historic locations, with a proposed add-on feature of top-class illumination, is expected to provide a perfect setting for a memorable photo opportunity to the top leaders, official sources told PTI.

The illumination fixtures are likely to be temporary. A team of officials, including those from the Archeological Survey of India and consultants, visited the site days ago to draw up a plan of tasks to be completed like providing illumination, installing new stone flooring wherever required and sprucing up the location.

They also discussed a tentative itinerary for the visit of the leaders to the ancient monuments. According to the itinerary, the two leaders are expected to circumambulate the shore temple, do a "pradakshina" and walk up to an adjoining spot for a photo-opportunity. Similarly, they may choose to walk on the sands abutting the five rathas, a group of monuments resembling processional chariots of a temple.

The leaders may sit on a bench, to be put up overlooking the rathas. They are likely to visit other monuments like Krishna's butterball and Arjuna's penance. Krishna's butterball is a massive round boulder perched on a steep rock slope in this town. This precariously balanced boulder is said to be a hunk of stolen butter dropped by the Gods.

The Shore temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, according to the ASI, is the earliest representation of structural temple at Mamallapuram dating to the Pallava Rajashima (Narashimha II) period (700-728 AD). The five rathas are hewn out of solid rock to form five free-standing monolithic temples and are from the reign of Pallava King Narashimhavarman-I.

The historic location, home to Pallava era monuments with world heritage status, and dating to the seventh century AD, is getting spruced up with boundary gates getting a fresh coat of paint in sync with the colour of the monuments. Stone pavements are being laid in locations, including the entrance to the shore temple and similar work is to be taken up at places like the nearby Durga temple.

Portions of the shore temple complex are being filled with beach sand to avoid water stagnation. Officials, both State and Central government and police are on their toes to make sure that no stone is left unturned for the summit's success.

Plainclothesmen and armed police guards have already been deployed in the ancient, quaint town and the premises housing the ancient monuments are under a security blanket.

(Published 22 September 2019, 12:32 IST)

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