A gesture to promote tourism

A group of 90 tourists from the United Kingdom were delighted with Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple management for having opened the temple doors, which usually remain closed between 12.30 p.m.

A gesture to promote tourism

A group of 90 tourists from the United Kingdom were delighted with Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple management for having opened the temple doors, which usually remain closed between 12.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. every day, for their visit at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday. However, they were disappointed as the police did not grant permission to carry cameras inside the temple.

Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the southern bank of river Vaigai[ in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva, named here as Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 gateway towers called gopurams, ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimana, the shrine over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE

The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 during Fridays[ and gets an annual revenue of sixty millionINR. There is an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and it was in the list of top 30 nominees of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. The annual 10 day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival celebrated during April–May attracts 1 million visitors.

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“Then what is the purpose of coming here,” is how Angela, one among the 90, reacted when her travel agent informed her about the ban on cameras for security reasons.

Later she told The Hindu: “I am an avid traveller and nowhere in the world have I come across police banning cameras in tourist places.”

Similar was the reaction of other tourists, including John Brinkley and Judais, who had no choice but to be content with taking pictures with their mobile phone cameras inside the temple.

Those who visited the temple were part of a larger contingent of 364 people on a tour across the country in a cruise. They had already visited Goa, Mumbai and Cochin before reaching Tuticorin on Tuesday.

“Their ship had halted in Tuticorin just for a day. We were informed that these 90 tourists were interested in visiting the Meenakshi Temple. Therefore, we spoke to temple Executive Officer P. Jayaraman and obtained special permission for letting them in at 2 p.m. because only gestures like these can help promote tourism in this region,” said B.S.G. Musthafa, president, Travel Club-Madurai.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Samant Rohan Rajendra, when contacted, said cameras were not allowed in most of the archaeological sites in the country.

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