Representational Image: Devotees singing the Devaram and Thiruvasagam at Nataraja temple. (Photo | EPS)
Representational Image: Devotees singing the Devaram and Thiruvasagam at Nataraja temple. (Photo | EPS)

Will take steps to bring Chidambaram Nataraja temple under HR&CE dept's control, says TN Minister 

For about a year, the state government and the HR&CE department have been attempting to gain control of the temple in Cuddalore district that is being managed by the hereditary priests.

CHENNAI: Accusing the Podu Dikshitars managing the famous Nataraja temple in Tamil Nadu's Chidambaram of not divulging information to the government on temple funds or assets, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Minister P K Sekar Babu on Tuesday said efforts are on to bring this shrine under the ambit of his department.

The Minister's assertion comes days after a controversy erupted over the Dikshitars declining to permit the devotees from offering prayers from the Kanagasabai medai (holy stage) in view of the annual temple festival.

On June 26 evening, the HR&CE Department officials, accompanied by police, removed a board placed by the Podu Dikshitars (priests) restricting devotees from entering the Kanagasabai medai till the conclusion of the ongoing 'Aani Thirumanjanam' festival today.

"We are on the side of justice and devotees. We will gradually overcome all hurdles and will take over the administrative control of the temple with the sanction of the court," Sekar Babu told reporters here when his attention was drawn to the removal of the board.

For about a year, the state government and the HR&CE department have been attempting to gain control of the temple in Cuddalore district that is being managed by the hereditary priests.

"We have responded to it legally," said Podu Dikshitars committee secretary T S Sivarama Dikshitar.

His lawyer G Chandrasekhar said the board has been placed to inform devotees coming from outstation and to avoid crowding during the festival.

Contending that a group of 200 priests decided on how to manage the temple and thereby became a law unto themselves, the Minister said on earlier occasions the priests declined to provide information to the government on funds available with the temple or disclose the stock on gold ornaments at the shrine.

"These Dikshithars are functioning from a power centre they have created. Unlike other temples being managed by the HR&CE, this temple does not have any hundial or a stock register. The temple accounts have not been audited," the Minister said.

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