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Srirangam – Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple bags UNESCO award

Tamil Nadu’s historic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam is now a national symbol for conserving cultural heritage after bagging an Award of Merit from UNESCO.

It is a matter of pride that the conservation project competed with those from 10 countries that competed for the 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is the only religious centre in the whole of South India to bag the award in 2017.

The massive renovation and restoration effort at the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, executed through the public-private partnership model, has won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit 2017 for cultural heritage conservation.

The temple bagged one of the four Awards of Merit from a jury comprising nine international conservation experts, which considered conservation projects from 10 countries in the Asia Pacific region.

The renovation of the temple began in June 2014 at the behest of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who was elected from the Srirangam constituency back in 2011. The massive project was executed in phases, at a cost of about ₹25 crore, with contributions from the government as well as donors. The Kumbabhishekam was performed in two stages in September and November 2015.

The temple, considered the foremost of the 108 divyadesams, is situated on an islet between the Cauvery and the Coleroon rivers. It has seven prakaras and 21 towers, including the majestic 236-feet-high rajagopuram.

The renovation of the temple involved painstaking work by experienced sthapathis, under the guidance of experts in archaeology for over a year.

The second phase of renovation of damaged portions of the temple ramparts is set to begin soon. A few other conservation works are also on the anvil inside the temple, officials said.

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