|daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on one|
|February 12th, 2005, 09:44 PM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2004
Likes (Received): 0
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Meenakshi Temple a world wonder?
Chennai , Feb. 12
TAJ Mahal: No. 3. Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple: No. 26.
That's what you'll find if you go to www.newsevenwonders.com and check out the list of top nominees for the fresh list of `seven wonders of the world.' The list is drawn up by the `new seven wonders foundation,' established by Swiss filmmaker and adventurer Bernard Weber.
The `Seven Ancient Wonders of the World' was selected by Philon of Byzantium in 200 B.C. The new seven wonders will be democratically selected through an Internet-based voting process. Any group of seven people can put up a nomination for voting.
The process started in 2001 and the New Seven Wonders will be announced on January 1, 2006.
The nominations that make it to the first 21 by February 28 will enter the second phase of voting. Taj Mahal is almost certainly in. Will the Meenakshi Temple make it to the finals?
"The selection of Meenakshi Temple is not just a matter of pride. It will greatly enhance the tourism potential of the entire State," says S. Rethinavelu, President of the Madurai-based Tamilnadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Already a lot of time has been lost because nobody knew of even the `new seven wonders' effort, let alone the temple's nomination. The nomination itself was the work of the Indian diaspora, to whom the credit of bringing the temple to the No. 26 spot belongs.
What happens in the next fortnight will make a big difference to the development of Madurai in particular and Tamil Nadu in general.
In recent times there has been a tremendous public participation, says T. Kannan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Meenakshi Amman temple and a past Chairman of the Southern Region of the Confederation of Indian Industry. Indeed, the temple ranks first in the list of `Top 7 of the Week.' So a little more effort, one more shove, will do the trick.
To vote, a person has to make an international call to one of the two numbers (372-54-111-443 or 372-54-111-444) and get a six-digit code, which is valid for an hour. Then he goes to the seven wonders Web site, enters the code and casts his vote.
Many institutions can help the cause of the Meenakshi temple. The Tamilnadu Chamber put up a special stall at the Chamber's Trade Fair recently, where visitors could call the numbers and cast their votes. The chamber subsidised the cost of the calls.
"Our State Government is investing several thousands of crores of rupees for development of trade, industry and tourism in the State. We should not let this rare opportunity slip away," Rethinavelu has said in a letter to the Chief Minister.
The Chamber has called upon the State Government to set up facilities for Internet voting at concessional rates at several points throughout the State. "Even a mere statement by the Chief Minister requesting people to vote in favour of the temple will he a big help," Rethinavelu told Business Line.
The Meenakshi temple attracts some 6,000 visitors a day on an average. According to Kannan, this will go up by at least 50 per cent, if the temple is announced as one among the seven wonders of the world.
The temple gets annual revenues of about Rs 6 crore. This amount can be raised to at least Rs 7.5 crore if only the shops on the temple land are made to pay a fair rent to the temple. "Just the arrears from them is Rs 4 crore," Kannan said. The trustees are also trying to clear encroachments on the temple land, for which an order has been obtained under Section 78 of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act.