KOTTAYAM: A major fire outbreak at Kumaranalloor Devi Temple on Friday late night, caused heavy damages to the historically important temple building. While the north gate of the vilakkumadam (built for lightening the lamp around nalambalam), that cover the sanctum sanctorum of sub-deity Lord Siva, and thidappalli (kitchen) of main temple were completely gutted, the namaskara mandapam was partially damaged in the fire that lasted for more than one and half hours.
According to temple authorities, the fire broke out around 12.30 am on Saturday. Officials of the Fire and Rescue Services Department, police, devotees and local people rushed to the spot and put out the fire. The police and temple authorities suspect that the fire might have spread from chuttuvilak, set up on vilakkumadam which is made of teak wood. Around 15 meter portion of the vilakkumadam from the north gate toward west side was gutted.
Things including four silver umbrellas and some clothes also got damaged in the fire. However, the narrow passage between vilakkumadam and the nalambalam prevented the fire from spreading over to the nalambalam of main deity, Kumaranallore Devi.
The sreekovil of Siva temple and copper plated portion of vilakkumadam was also not damaged. According to temple authorities the thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments) kept in the sreekovil was shifted safely to a locker after the fire was extinguished. Speaking after visiting the temple, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the fire caused an estimated loss `1.5 crore, from the primary analysis.
He added that the government will provide all the assistance for the re-construction of the temple in consultation with the Devaswom Board. Though, the experts say that about `2 core is needed for the reconstruction of gutted portion of the building, the total loss is inestimable owing to the archaic importance of the temple, which is believed to have built around 1200 years ago. This is for the second time that fire broke out in the temple. Earlier in a fire outbreak in 2005, the East tower (Kizhakke Gopuram) had been destroyed.
Forensic experts collected evidences from the temple and officials of Fire and Rescue Services Department and electrical inspectorate also conducted inspections. The actual loss would be assumed after the scheduled visit of the forest officials on Sunday.