Be it State Archaeological Dept or the ASI , their job seems to be over once they take down the inscriptions found on the walls before placing a blue board over there to claim that the site belong to them. There is no word on maintaining the structure unless it draws visitors , especially foreigners. There are archaeological sites left uncared by the Government where you will not find even a board, forget about maintaining and renovating them. Compound walls are in damaged condition and urchins freely enter and cause irrepairable damage to the structure and its sculptures. Since the site belongs to them, nobody else will be permitted to renovate it. They will raise hue and cry as it would alter the original glory. Who prevented them from taking up the renovation work in time before it is too late. Are they waiting for the entire structure to collapse? Are they not ashamed to claim the ruined structure without taking appropriate action? Do they monitor the structures periodically and initiate speedy action? There is no use in taking down the inscriptions and forgetting the whole structure that carries them. Are we able to proudly say that the Historic monument is being looked after properly? Barring exceptions, the Dept keeps a blind eye on the responsibility bestowed on them. There are people who are ready to give suggestions but are unwilling to do any field work. Those who shout against whitewashing the walls and sandblasting should give pressure to the Dept to take up the work instead of crying foul.
Manampadi is a village situated on Kumbakonam- Anaikarai Highway where you find a beautiful Temple close to the road. The locals say that it belongs to the ASI. The entrance itself is in danger as it has cracks all over. There is no proper door either. Thanks to the efforts of the locals, a priest comes from a nearby village to offer puja. Someone has laid the floor in front of the sanctum and the villagers have created a path around the structure by removing the bushes and thorns to enable the visitors to walk freely. The main deity is called Naganatha and the Vimanam above Him is in shambles.
ASI may have to dismantle the entire structure in order to restore it . It has developed cracks everywhere and the presence of thick vegetation will accelerate the process of deterioration. The status of Goddess' shrine is no way better. It is pathetic to find the Temple in a neglected state. A statue of Bhairava with eight arms is half burried at the entrance. Other main deities have been kept inside as they do not have their enclosures in the Prakaram.
All statues in the Deva Goshtas draw our attention. The first one is that of Bhikshadana , with Hare on one side and a Bootha Gana on the other. His "jata" (Hair) is carved beautifully. Lord Nataraja's statue is equally charming. The smile on His face is attractive and He is flanked by devotees on both sides . Ganapathi in standing posture is simply brilliant. Cracks are seen close to the bracket.Dhakshinamoorthy with His matchless smile makes us to stand unmoved there for a long time although His left foot is found damaged. Lingodhbava murthi, Ardhanarreswara , Durga Devi and UmaMaheswara are equally outstanding.
We were told that someone came from ASI few months back to estimate the funds needed for restoration of the Temple and construction of outer walls. There is no word yet on when the work will commence. Since the Temple is passing through several monsoons year after year, collapse is inevitable if left unattended for a long time. By the time the ASI arrives at the site after comleting their priorities all over the country, it could be too late. All art lovers and students of History should raise a common voice on the need to save the Temple. Such a representation will surely catch the attention of ASI officials and they will swing into action without further delay. Until then, the status of the Temple at Manampadi can only bring tears. The Emperors whose inscriptions are read and hailed would not have even dreamt that their gift to the following generations would be ignored like this.