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Sculptures of Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram to be Restored – Thanks to REACH

Rural Education and Conservation of Heritage (REACH) is involved in the restoration and preservation of the sculptural heritage of India. Popularly known as REACH Foundation, the organization is currently involved in the restoration of the exquisite sculptures in the 100-pillar mandapa of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, is also involved in the project.

Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram is more than 1200 years old and became famous during the Chola period (11th Century AD). The present sanctum sanctorum and the vimana were constructed during the 16th century by Vijayanagara rulers.

The beautiful sculptures at the temple are covered by thick layers of lime plaster and the REACH Foundation is in the process of removing it. Sculptures include those of Hindu gods, other personalities from Hindu scriptures, aspects of daily life and animals.

The Hindu Reports

The instruments for the removal of plaster were specially made, said J. Chandrasekaran of the Foundation. Dr. Satyamurthy, a former Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, called the sculptures on the pillars of the kalyana mantapa “jewels of the Vijayanagara architecture.”

They were composite pillars, with sculptures on all four sides, with not a single inch left empty.

R. Nagaswamy, former Director, Tamil Nadu Department of Archaeology, said the Varadaraja Perumal temple was “the most beautiful Vishnu temple in Kanchipuram” and its kalyana mantapa was outstanding in architectural terms.

The project will also conserve the kalyana mantapa, the northern part of which has sunk. “This has led to cracks in the mantapa’s beams and parting of the capitals. We’ll re-set the northern part. Indian Institute of Technology Madras will help,” said T. Satyamurthy, a founder of the REACH Foundation.

Mud accumulated to a height of a foot around the mantapa’s plinth (adhishtana) will be removed on all four sides, exposing carvings. An apron will be laid on the sides. Cracks in the adhishtana will be stitched.


Kalakkad Shiva Temple Murals to be restored by REACH foundation

(Image from Panoramio)