TN govt undertakes deep cleaning of temples

Tamil Nadu government undertakes deep cleaning of temples

HR&CE officials said a deep cleaning drive is being conducted in 539 'big temples' in Tamil Nadu

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

Tamil Nadu’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department has embarked on a massive deep cleaning drive at over 500 major temples. The three-day cleaning drive which was launched on August 2 will continue till August 4.

HR&CE officials said a deep cleaning drive is being conducted in 539 “big temples” in Tamil Nadu. All these temples remain closed for the past few days to ensure that people do not flock in big numbers for local festivals in the auspicious Tamil month of Aadi (mid-July to mid-August).

A senior official told DH that the entire temple premises are being cleaned by personnel who have been hired exclusively for the special cleaning drive and the regular temple staff. “From the entrance to gopurams to mandapams to the praharam, every single place within the premises is cleaned. Since the temples are closed, we thought of utilizing the opportunity to get them cleaned,” the official said.

Some of the famous temples that are being cleaned are Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, Lord Murugan Temple in Palani, and Sri Aranganatha Swamy Temple in Srirangam in Tiruchirappalli. “When these temples reopen after the restrictions on them are lifted by authorities concerned, devotees will be pleasantly surprised,” the official said.

Though temples are cleaned regularly, the official added, that the deep cleaning drive includes places that are not covered by the temple staff regularly.

As many as 44,121 temples and religious trusts in Tamil Nadu come under HR&CE department which manages and controls them. The deep cleaning drive comes amidst several initiatives taken by the DMK government in ensuring transparency in the functioning of temples managed by the government.

The government has begun uploading documents on temple properties and is in the process of launching a 3D mapping survey on 5 lakh acres of land owned by temples. The project, which will cost around Rs 20 crore, is likely to begin in the next two months if the tender process goes smooth as planned. Officials in the know told DH that it will take about a year to complete the drone and DGPS survey of the temples and lands owned by them.

The efforts come at a time the HR&CE department faces several complaints from various organisations on poor upkeep of temple properties and not keeping a tab on rapid encroachment of temple land.