The Jain beds and engravings, which hold testimony to the rich Tamil culture in Madurai region, are being damaged and misused by anti-socials, creating concern among historians. The presence of these anti-social elements, in the Jain monuments at Samanar Hills in Kongar Puliangulam village on Madurai- Theni highway, is creating nuisance to the visitors here.
“We visit Samanar Jain beds to understand the Tamil culture and heritage. But we cannot enter the caves as anti socials have camped there and play cards in inebriated condition,” said Gayathri, of Kalavasal, a B Sc Student.
There is no road to reach Samanar Hills, which has several Tamil - Brahmi inscriptions and 20 stone beds. Though the archeological department has erected a notice board declaring the hills as a preserved monument, it has failed to serve its purpose. The flight of steps leading to the hill and the stone carrying information of the monument are in a dilapidated condition.
C Shanthalingam, former Archeological Officer and Secretary of the Pandinadu Centre for Historical Research told Express that the villagers should co-operate with the authorities to conserve the monuments.
“We have conducted several meetings with the villagers seeking co-operation to protect the monument. But some anti-social elements use the caves as a safe haven,” he rued.
The residents were unhappy over naming the village as Kongar Puliankulam in a bid to remember the contributions of Jain monks. Advocate T Lajapathi Roy, who has written several books about the monuments in Madurai, opined that police should strictly implement the monuments protection act to conserve the monuments.
“The authorities should take steps to create awareness among the villagers and should inculcate knowledge by adding the details of monuments in the curriculum,” he said.