SIVAGANGA: As the government has relaxed lockdown restrictions, the tourists are expecting the State Archeology Department permit them to visit Keezhadi and its cluster villages since only a few more weeks are left for the completion of Phase-VI excavation.
The excavation in Keezhadi and its cluster villages -- Konthagai, Agaram and Manalur -- began on February 19, 2020. The work was stopped in the wake of Covid and resumed on May 20.
It is to be noted that scores of public visited Keezhadi excavation site during the fifth phase in 2019 to learn about the ancient Tamil civilisation that prospered on the banks of Vaigai 2,600 years ago. Scholars, tourists, students, archeologists and the public visited the site. When people started thronging the site even as the Phase V excavation was nearing its end, the district police imposed restrictions on visitors.
In March 2020, Minister for Tamil Language, Culture and Archeology K Pandiarajan visited Keezhadi and said the Archeology Department planned to coordinate with Tourism Department to ensure drinking water, toilets, and bus services for the visitors.
A group of youth from Chennai visited Keezhadi last week and disappointed as the entry was banned for visitors. "Konthagai was a burial site, whereas Agaram and Manalur were residential areas of that era. Excavation at these three sites is being performed for the first time. It is a special moment to see the antiquities on the spot rather than seeing them later in a museum," they said. Commissioner of State Archeology Department T Udhayachandran said the department was yet to take a decision on allowing the visitors.