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REACH Foundation to restore 1,200-year-old Kailasanatha Temple at Uttaramerur near Kanchipuram

REACH Foundation, a non-governmental organization, indulged in restoration of heritage sites in Tamil Nadu is all set to begin the restoration of 1,200-year-old Kailasanatha Temple at Uttaramerur near Kanchipuram. Built in the 8th century AD, the Kailasanatha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is in ruins today due to neglect. A Shivling in the temple is still worshipped and pujas are held here.

The temple has storeys with sanctum sanctorum on the ground, first and second floors.

T.S. Subramanian writes in the Hindu

R. Nagaswamy, former Director, Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, who has written a book called Uttaramerur in both Tamil and English, calls this “a great temple, a Mahaprasada,” as “seen from the construction technique.”

This temple, thus suffused with history, presents a pathetic picture now. Dense vegetation over the vimana has dislocated its brick structure. Beautiful stucco figures, which adorned the vimana, are no longer there. Granite slabs of the base have moved from their position. The vegetation’s deep roots have sprung long cracks in the brick walls around the sanctum sanctorum. On the northern side, the crack is three-foot wide. The front mantapa, made of granite slabs and built by the Chola kings, has totally collapsed.

Dr. Satyamurthy, a founder of REACH Foundation, said: “To save this temple from further collapse and preserve it, the cracks have to be stitched with the same type of bricks. Besides, the lower portion of the brick structure should be made to stand on granite slabs. The vimana, built of bricks, will be made to stand on granite slabs. These new granite slabs will bear the weight of the vimana and also distribute its weight uniformly. In short, it is transplantation of the vimana in situ.”

Dr. Narasimhaiah said it was easier to conserve temples built of stones than those built of bricks. “If vegetation has dislocated the stones, they can be dismantled and re-assembled. But bricks become brittle. So you have to stitch the joints and cracks, and ensure that the roots do not remain in the brick work,” he explained. The collapsed front mantapa would be re-assembled.