THRISSUR: Coming as another feather in the cap for the cultural capital of the state, the country has won a UNESCO prize ‘Award of Excellence’ 2015 for the remarkable conservation efforts of Sree Vadakkumnathan temple. The temple and its surrounding hillock Thekkinkad Maithan needs no introduction for an average Keralite, with its yearly hosting of the Anayoottu, the world famous Thrissur Pooram and its constituent the Elanjithara Melam to quote a few. With its principal deity Shiva, the exquisite architecture of the surrounding temple theatre the ‘Koothambalam,’ the archaeological marvel has to this day survived the tests of time, and in no small part due to the diligence of authorities involved. “After 15 years, the ‘Naveekarana Kalasam’ was conducted this year in March. Anything and everything that was damaged was replaced or repaired back to its original form. The exact same preparations of old were used for the repair as cement did not find use in the earlier days,” said Hariharan of the Vadakkumnathan temple welfare committee. Even though several allegations had arisen that the sheer force of the explosives used for the Thrissur Pooram had damaged the tiles and windows of the structure, the authorities completely refuted the arguments, claiming that any damage the structure might have sustained was repaired within a week of its occurrence.
The Archaeological Survey of India, in charge of the structure, also stressed on the importance of preserving the temple. “The murals in the temple depict two or three periods in history, with several of them chronicling the Mahabharatha epic. The temple was continuously under patronisation, so it is difficult to pinpoint the period when the mural works might have been done,” said Sreelakshmi, Superintending Archaeologist of ASI, Thrissur circle.
“Moreover, the temple architecture is highly typical of Kerala, with no signs of outside influence. One main example of it is the circular shaped main shrine. The construction has all been done using the locally available wood, granite, laterite and such, varying according to accessibility. Sree Sankaracharya had visited the shrine, as has been chronicled in history. We are in the process of conserving the ‘Gopuras,’ the wooden brackets in the temple bearing very rare depictions, along with the main shrine and the entire complex,” she said, adding that the damage caused by explosives used in the Thrissur Pooram would be monitored.