Eight heritage monuments, including temples and a pond were recently renovated in Tamil Nadu at a cost of Rs 13.27 crore with funds from Asian Development Bank. The renovation, initiated through the state archaeology department, has rendered these scenic spots more attractive, convenient and safe for the tourists and local visitors. These monuments were inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami last week through video conference from the secretariat.
The Tirumalai Nayak Mahal, Madurai, Marudhu Pandiyar Fort in Sivagangai district, Udayagiri fort in Kanyakumari district among others which were refurbished were inaugurated by the chief minister. According to the Archaeological Department of the state, restoring the forts and palaces was a herculean task. The Marudhu Pandiyar fort, for instance, was reduced to rubble in 1800. It was resurrected it at a cost of Rs 60.13 lakh. Similarly, the Thirumalai Nayak palace built in 1636 AD and the Udayagiri fort, which was originally a mud structure and rebuilt with stones by King Marthanda Varma, were also painstakingly restored. The timely intervention by the Archaeology department in the form of restoration and conservation has saved the ancient heritage monuments from further deterioration.
The project is part of $250 million Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism (IDIPT) which aims to build opportunities for local communities and boost local economy by enhancing tourism in three other states—Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and, Uttarakhand—besides Tamil Nadu. The project, signed in 2018, supported the conservation and restoration of eight heritage monuments, one museum, three temples, and a pond. Under the project, various facilities at the sites, including information centers, rest centers, and toilet blocks, with facilities served by solar-powered lighting and energy efficient lighting are set up. The total cost of the project is $44.04 million, of which the TN government provided $13.04 million.