A major fire in the historic Meenakshi Ammal temle in Madruai damaged some pillars along with ancient sculptures and paintings,, but left the famous 1000 pillar mandapam untouched.
The fire broke out at 10.30 p.m. after the temple was shut for the day after the night prayer and it raged for three hours. It started in the eastern entrance where shops are located. They suffered extensive damages.
Though the fire tenders brought the fire under control quickly, smoke was seen bellowing out today.
District collector Veeragarao told reporters that the fire was believed to have been caused by electric short circuit. While police would investigate the cause for the fire, experts from the Hindu and Charitable Endowments Board and allied fields like the Archeological Survey of India would assess damage, if any, to sculptures, pillars and wall paintings, he said.
He said that the damages would be repaired .Until the renovation work was completed, the eastern gate would be closed. The roof of an adjoining mandapam crashed while the 1,000 pillar hall escaped the fire.
Asked whether the shops and other encroachments in the temple would have contributed to the accident, the collector said the Government would look into this. In fact, the Hindu Munani has been demanding the closure of these shops within the temple..