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Statue of Buddha in Hindu temple: Madras HC orders archeological dept to take over temple

- August 2, 2022

Chennai, Aug 2 (BPNS)

The Madras High court ordered the Archeological department of Tamil Nadu to take over a Hindu temple in Salem after it was found that the temple was a Buddhist abode.

The single bench of the Madras High court of Justice Anand Venkatesh directed the authorities that no pooja is held at the temple after it was found that the statue was of Lord Buddha.

The single judge said that mistaken identity cannot be allowed to continue even after the archeology department had submitted a report that the sculpture inside the temple was that of Buddha. The department had taken up the investigation after the court ordered it to conduct it following a petition by a Buddhist trust that the sculpture worshipped in the temple worshipped as ‘Thalaivetti Muniyappan’ was infact that of Buddha.

The Tamil Nadu archeological department in its investigation after cleaning the statue found that the head showed traits of Buddha-like curly hair, ushnisha ( crown of hair), and elongated earlobe.

The archeological department in the report said, “ After inspecting the sculpture and carefully examining the available archeological and historical evidence at our disposal, they collectively expressed their opinion that sculptures depict several mahalakshans or great traits of Buddha”.

The court after closely examining the report of the archeological department stated that the argument that the site was a Hindu temple does not hold valid and that the control should go into the hands of another authority.

Even as the HR&CE department which is in charge of the Hindu temples argued that people have been worshipping the deity ‘ Thalaivetti Muniyappan’ for the past many years, the court directed that treating this as a temple would go against the basic tenets of Buddhism.

The court directed the Tamil Nadu archeological department to take charge of the premises and maintain the sculpture and directed to put a board inside the property clarifying that it was a statute of Buddha.

The court in the judgment also said that common people would be allowed entry to the place but no Hindu pooja or other ceremonies would be performed at the sculpture of Buddha.