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Posted On: 03 JUN 2018

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple

If cleanliness is next to godliness then Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple at Madurai embodies the both. Only recently, this famous temple of South was adjudged the Best Swachh Iconic Place among the top ten in the country. Credit goes largely to Madurai City Corporation, which is separately being conferred a special award under Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan. The entire cleanliness drive is being undertaken as a part of a wider project that started around mid-2017 and is expected to complete sometime early this year.

Estimated to cost Rs.11.65 crore initially, the project is being sponsored by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) as part of its corporate social responsibility(CSR) initiative.

Next to cleanliness is an all round beautification which is manifest in Madurai town. Madurai Railway station, which adorns mural of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar, has been adjudged the second most beautiful station in the country. Among various murals about Madurai, the walls adorn an elaborate scene which depicts the giving away of the bride Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar by Lord Vishnu in the celestial wedding which is performed at the Sri Meenakshi temple.

It only speaks highly of the diligence and dedication of the people in the Corporation and Swachh soldiers of swachh mandir abhiyaan that the temple got top award even as the project was just underway.

There are twenty-five e-toilets, fifteen automatic RO water dispensers and waste bins at the distance of 50 metres each along the Chithirai street for tourists to use. Four mechenized road sweepers and battery-operated vehicles are engaged in cleaning the stretch.

The target is to make Chithirai, Masi, Avani Moola Streets, Veli Streets and the four concentric squares around this Swachh Mandir are completely plastic-free during this swachh mandir abhiyaan. Plastic has been banned in and around the temple complex. Besides its own staff, the Corporation involves the local volunteers, NGOs and Swachh Police to keep up to drive this swachh mandir abhiyaan.

Innovation, meticulousness is the order of the day. Devotees are given prasadam and eatables in recyclable brown paper bags. Excess sacred ash is not dumped in water. It is collected in special containers. Most of the shrines in the complex are airconditioned and very well cross-ventilated to diffuse the odour of oil and smoke. There is not a speck of dirt on squeaky clean granite floors. Water in the tank is blemish free. There are no cobwebs or trapped dirt in the intricate sculptures around it.

Everything seems to be in spic and span like a marriage mandap, waiting for the wedding of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar.

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