Flurry of activity on at Mamallapuram; Buddha, fighting bulls
to welcome Modi, Xi Jinping
Kancheepuram (TN), Oct 5 (PTI) Statues of Gautham Buddha
and fighting bulls, a pointer to Tamil Nadu's tradition of
'Jallikattu" are among the sculptures coming up at vantage
points at the world heritage site of Mamallapuram near here,
ahead of the upcoming Indo-China informal summit.
The historic coastal town is witnessing a flurry of
activity, including infrastructure development in view of the
high-level meet between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and
Chinese President Xi Jinping next week.
Heritage monuments, including the Shore Temple, Five
Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, also known as the descent of the
Ganges and Krishna's Butterball, besides the lighthouse, are
being spruced up.
Krishna's butterball is a massive round boulder perched
on a steep rock slope in this town.
This precariously balanced boulder is said to be a hunk of
stolen butter dropped by the gods.
Over 100 workers have been toiling to clean the monuments
and give it a fresh look without causing any damage, strictly
toeing all norms to protect them.
The compound gates have been given a fresh coat of yellow
paint in sync with the colour of the monuments.
LED lighting to give a "soft and subtle" effect to the
historic monuments and solar lighting is also being done in
places like Arjuna's Penance, sources told PTI.
Natural grass brought from Karnataka is being used for
landscaping in and around monuments like Krishna's butterball
to an extent of about two lakh square feet. Ornamental plants
are also being put up and trees trimmed.
Granite tops are being fixed over parapet walls adjoining
the monuments in select spots and a small sized wooden gate
with aesthetic looks has been installed.
New granite pathways are being laid in the premises
housing monuments, including the shore temple and butterball
structure and a number of roads are being topped with tar.
The entire stretch of East Coast Road from Chennai
through Mamallapuram has been spruced up and illegal
structures removed.
Also, the GST Road in Chennai, where the international
airport is located, is being cleaned up. Road medians in and
around Chennai airport have been given a fresh coat of paint
and sanitary workers are on the job removing branches
protruding onto the road from the sprawling Officers Training
Academy premises at St Thomas Mount.
Several retail kiosks, locally known as "bunk shops" were
removed at Mamallapuram by local authorities.
Low lying electricity distribution boxes were removed
and hanging power cables replaced in Mamallapuram. Recently,
Chief Minister K Palaniswami and top officials visited
Mamallapuram to monitor preparations for the meet.
"Statues are being put up in key locations. Buddha and
the fighting bulls, which is a pointer to Tamil Nadu's ancient
tradition of Jallikattu, are among the sculptures which will
be featured in Mamallapuram," an official told PTI.
The statue of Buddha is being put up in the Shore Temple
premises and others will come up in other key points, he
"The idea is to showcase the rich Indian cultural
heritage. Making sculptures with artistic finesse is our
historic hallmark and the tradition continues to this day in
Mamallapuram. The statues will speak volumes of our
workmanship," the official said.
Mammallapuram, home to several sculptors, is dotted with
shops selling a variety of sculptures and artefacts.
Vendors and hawkers around the monuments have been asked
to keep off during the high profile visit.
Security has been tightened and plainclothesmen are
already swarming the town and "visible patrolling" has been
stepped up.
Ahead of the summit, paramilitary forces are likely to be
deployed in and around the town.
Local hotels have been advised to be cautious while
letting out rooms and keep police informed about guests.
A 7-star hotel at Guindy in Chennai, a seaside resort
near Mamallapuram and another such facility in the coastal
town are expected to play host to the summit. PTI VGN APR

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)