Besides showcasing the architectural expertise and aesthetics of their time, temple tanks also play an extremely important role as water storage systems in Chennai. Chennai has 39 temple tanks (excluding the suburban area) according to a study conducted in 2008. As the rains arrived, a few temple tanks in the city were filled to the brim with water, thus helping in groundwater recharge while offering a spectacular view for devotees.
“Most temples were designed to include tanks, an indigenous way of ensuring water management as part of religion and ritual. These tanks were dug by the benefactors and philanthropists,” said Nivedita Louis, a historian.
We toured temples across the city and suburbs to check out the state of the tanks in some of our temples. While the prominent temples are maintained well with rainwater harvesting in place, the not-so-well-known ones are crying for attention. Here are a few glimpses from the temple sites:
Laasya was a Senior Reporter at Citizen Matters. Prior to this, she worked as a reporter with Deccan Chronicle. Laasya has written extensively on environmental issues, women and child rights, and other critical social and civic issues. A Masters in Journalism from Bharathiar University, she had been experimenting at Citizen Matters with diverse formats varying from photos, videos and infographics for an interactive content presentation. Laasya is most proud of her work on beach encroachment and lake pollution, which the NGT took suo moto cognizance of. Currently, Laasya is a principal correspondent at Newslaundry. She tweets at @plaasya.
Incomplete digital records, lack of information on actual fees payable to the RTO, and intermediaries waiting to take advantage — that’s what a Chennai citizen comes up against, in something as simple as renewal of a driving licence.