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: