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Modern wheels for Triplicane temple car: Forwarded from The Hindu

From: Sridharan Rangarajan (
Date: Fri Apr 25 1997 - 21:07:44 PDT

>               Modern wheels for Triplicane temple car
>               Date: 25-04-1997 :: Pg: 26 :: Col: d
>               Summer witnesses temple festivals both in towns and in
>               rural areas in the State with daily procession of
>               deities on different vahanams culminating in celestial
>               marriages, drawing of temple cars and float festivals.
>               This offers an opportunity for people to visit their
>               native towns or villages to offer prayers and fulfil
>               vows and thus the temples continue to serve as a link
>               between them and their heritage.
>               The BHEL, Tiruchi, has ungrudgingly responded to the
>               requests of various temple authorities in the State
>               offering its guidance for modernising temple cars by
>               replacing the conventional wooden wheels with steel
>               framed ones and installing hydraulic brakes to regulate
>               movement of the cars. It has also offered its assistance
>               to run the temple cars on festival days by deputing its
>               engineers to be personally present to ensure safety of
>               the modernised operations of the functional parts of the
>               car.
>               According to the BHEL engineers team led by its AGM Mr.
>               Parameswaran, the thrust of modernisation is to bring
>               down the weight of the car, facilitating the pulling
>               with less manpower and with ease and safety.
>               The Tiruvarur car festival this year went off on April
>               20 with pilgrims from all over attending it. But some
>               doubted whether the modernisation of the car had really
>               brought the desired results. They argued that instead of
>               a dozen people providing the necessary push from behind
>               and thousands pulling the car from the front, dozens
>               were hired wasting precious diesel to push the car from
>               behind. Pulling the car with giant steel framed wheels
>               and hydraulic brakes was a tedious exercise, in which,
>               of course, manpower was also used in a big way. Even
>               though the BHEL argued that the load of the car was
>               reduced and safety was the watchword, some felt that the
>               car festival had seldom witnessed any accidents.
>               The inaugural run of the BHEL modernised car at the Sri
>               Parthasarathy Swamy Temple in Triplicane, Chennai is
>               slated for April 28.
>               The car at Triplicane weighs 60 tonnes without
>               decoration and about 80 tonnes when adorned. The BHEL
>               has manufactured the steel axle to suit the existing
>               Bootha Bar and after removing the wooden axle the steel
>               one has been fixed. Axles are of box section 430mm by
>               420mm and axle length is 4.5 metres. The wheels are made
>               of high quality steel plates of 16mm thickness. The
>               width of the wheel is 360mm. The BHEL has also extended
>               its services for the safe removal of the existing wooden
>               axles and wheels and replacing them with steel.
>               Our Staff Reporter writes:-
>               The temple authorities claim that this is the first
>               temple car in the city to be fitted with iron wheels.
>               The car is pulled along the four `mada' streets of
>               Triplicane two times in a year - during `Chithirai
>               Brahmothsavam' for Sri Parthasarathy Perumal and during
>               the `Aani Shravanam' festival for Sri Narasimhar.
>               Nearly Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 is spent every year to
>               keep the wheels in good condition. Once the present
>               wooden wheels are replaced, the maintenance cost will
>               come down considerably.
>               A sizable amount of the project, mooted by the Joint
>               Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment
>               Board, Mr. P.Dhanapal, was met with donations from
>               public and philanthropists, said Mr. R.Vasunathan,
>               Executive Officer of the temple.
>               According to Sri S.Venkatakrishna Bhattachariyar, Chief
>               Priest, the car, excluding the top portion, was about
>               200 years old. The top section was fabricated a decade
>               ago. During the last ten years, three out of the four
>               wheels had been replaced after they were damaged beyond
>               repair.
>               The decorated idol of Sri Parthasarathy Perumal will be
>               placed on the car between 2-30 a.m. and 3-30 a.m. on
>               April 28 and the car will be pulled along the streets
>               around 7 a.m. The deity will be brought back to the
>               temple in a procession around 11 p.m. after anointment
>               and special `pujas' at the `Vasantha Uthsava' Bunglow at
>               Venkatarangam Pillai Street, Triplicane, he said.

R. Sridharan                           Tel: 772-3695 (O)
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