The Tamil Nadu Government informed the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday that archanas would be done in both Tamil and Sanskrit during the consecration of the ancient Brahadeesswarar temple in Thanjavur popularly known as the Big Temple on Feb 5.
Following this assurance, a division bench of Justices Duraisamy and Ravindran disposed of a batch of petitions, one set pleading for conduct of archanas in Sanskrit and another for Tamil during the consecration in the temple.
Among the petitioners were Ramesh, a devotee from Chennai who was for Sanskrit and C Maniarasan of the Tamil National Movement who was the conduct of the ritual only in Tamil. The Big Temple was constructed in 1010 AD during the reign of Raja Raja Chola. It is one of the tallest temples in the world. IT is considered an architectural marvel in that the shadow of the front gopuram never touches the ground whatever the time of the day.
The consecration of the Brahdeeswarar or Lord Shiva is done once in 12 years. However, the last consecration was held in June 1997 and it was marred by a major fire accident at the yajna kunda in which ritual fire is raised was concocted in a thatched pandal. As a result, spark ignited a major accident. Forty-eight persons died in the fire and the ensuing stampede and nearly 200 were injured.
Learning from that accident, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department told the court it had imposed 12 conditions for the conduct of the consecration, one of which is that the yajna should done in open air.
It also informed the court that the archanas would be performed both in Tamil and Sanskrit, thus giving a quietus to the language row.
The demand that the ritual should be held only in Tamil was first raised by Maniarasan and it was backed by the DMK, the MDMK and the Naam Tamizhar ( We Tamils) movement leader C Seeman.