Sky cranes wash Annamalaiyar temple towers ahead of Deepam fest

Sources said, the exercise was launched by Collector B Murugesh after he noticed that the towers were full of bird droppings from thousands of pigeons nesting on them.
A sky crane washing a gopuram in Sri Arunachaleshwarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai on Friday
A sky crane washing a gopuram in Sri Arunachaleshwarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai on Friday

TIRUVANNAMALAI: For the first time, the four massive and majestic towers of Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai are undergoing water wash on Friday to appear spic and span during Karthgai Deepam festival.

Sources said, the exercise was launched by Collector B Murugesh after he noticed that the towers were full of bird droppings from thousands of pigeons nesting on them. “When Murugesh inspected the premises recently, he noticed the droppings of the birds and got in touch with the fire services DGP in Chennai based on which a sky crane arrived at the temple for the washing on Friday,” an official said.

Regarding the cost, he said, “It will be borne by the HR&CE department which controls the temple.” The crane’s boom extends to nearly 150 feet which is what helps the powerful jet of water to remove accumulated dirt on the towers, he added.

When the kumbabhishekam of the temple took place some years ago, metal gates were erected in each of tires (nilai) of the towers resulting in pigeons being unable to enter the structure and starting to nest on the crevices between the figurines.

Officials said that the washing exercise, which would be a one-day exercise, would cover all the four towers – Rajagopuram, Thirumanjana gopuram, Pei gopuram and the Amaniamman gopuram. Work started on the Thirumanjana gopuram as access to the main Rajagopuram was blocked by a temporary shelter placed in front of it to provide devotees shelter from the sun and rain.

“Water for the task is being arranged by both the temple authorities and the Tiruvannamalai Municipality,” the official revealed.

The water washing is being undertaken by 30 fire and rescue services personnel, led by officers Sankar and Saravanan. Needless to say the exercise has attracted a lot of spectators’ attention.

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