Centre for South Indian Studies

Temples in Ruin

On 19 June 2021 CSIS organised a webinar titled “Temples in Ruin: Why governments fail to preserve culture and heritage, discussion on High Court of Madras judgement on temple wealth and preservation”.

Senior advocate at Supreme Court of India R Venkitaramani, Dr Padma Soundararajan, advocate, High Court of Madras, SJR Kumar, General Secretary, All India Sabarimala Action Council addressed the gathering and presented their opinion about the Madras high court judgement. Nearly 175 people participated in the programme.

Speaker’s:  Sri R Venkataramani, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India

Smt Dr Padma Soundararajan, Advocate, Madras High Court

Sri SJR Kumar, General Secretary, All India Sabarimala Action Council

Speech Highlights:

Sri R Venkataramani, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India:

  • Temples have a live connection with all people of India.
  • Temples were the epic centre for every Indian in their life, but nowadays, it vanished.
  • Madras High Court exposed the working of HR & CE in the state.
  • At the National level, People are looking to free the temples from the government.
  • HR & CE were completely exposed by the High Court.
  • When there was no faith in life, people will suffer; having faith in God will lead to success.
  • Every temple has connectivity with local people and with their traditions, through the ancient temples; one can understand the local custom of the people.
  • Temples in Jawa, Angkor wat and Thanjavur shows our identity and pride to the world.


Smt Dr Padma Soundararajan, Advocate, Madras High Court:

  • Temples exist in our country since 2ndcentury; our men had artificial intelligence in his mind. It’s high time to stimulate those genes and to transfer it to the next generation.
  • Total temples now in Tamilnadu – 42,155. Among those, ancient temple exists now – 8150 only. 21,000 temples need to be renovated.
  • Without any modern equipment, our ancient people built marvellous temples with exceptional skills.
  • High court Judge in their Judgement said HR &CE was least bothered about our ancient temples.
  • At Tirunallar temple, Saturn rays fall abundantly, likewise temples built with a lot of geometric calculations, in olden days, even though they had very little technology, compared to recent days.
  • At Pazhaverkadu, 600 years old temple was demolished but 300 years old Dutch cemetery has been preserved as a protected monument.
  • Even though “Sand Blasting” technology was banned by the government in 2002, it was still under usage till the year 2017.
  • In the name of renovation, through the Sand Blasting process, HR&CE damaging the ancient significance of idols in the temples.
  • Inside the temple, there were many encroachments done by Christians, Muslims.
  • Court gave 75 directions to preserve the property of temples, Jewels and land.

Sri SJR Kumar, General Secretary, All India Sabarimala Action Council:

  • Life in Kerala was so much depressed for Hindus. They have been humiliated, when they go to temples.
  • As I protested for Sabarimala, facing more than 1000 false cases in all the districts of the state.
  • Within few years, Hindus may go away from Kerala, like Kashmiri Pundits.
  • Most of our livelihood economy was temple centric.
  • In 1811, in Travancore state, Munro brought a proclamation to take over the property of 1200 small and 300 major Hindu temples. As a result, many Hindus lost their job, could not light the lamp within the temple premises.
  • In 1917, Hindus met the Travancore Maharaja and asked him to provide some compensation to light a lamp inside the temple.
  • A meagre amount of 36 lakhs were given to 1500 temples as annuity compensation, in 1924.
  • Due to the Muslim invasion, more than 3000 temples were destructed in the Malabar region alone. In the other areas like Cochin and Travancore, Britisher’s taken over all the property of temples, without paying any compensation.
  • Even though a democratic government was formed in 1957, the fate of Hindus remains the same. Churches, Mosques were renovated but temples were not given any importance for renovation.
  • Around 30,000 acres of temple land have been lost.
  • Before 12 years, Kerala High Court ordered the state government to remove temple land encroachment, but the situation still remains the same.
  • Implementing the Court order will be a herculean task.