The controversy over the reported attempts to replace the idol of the presiding deity at Palani in southern Tamil Nadu has resurfaced with a proposal to install a 100-kg golden idol alongside the main deity.
Simultaneously, there are also attempts to have a new utsavar idol, which is taken around the town during annual festivals.
Named Dhandayuthapani, the presiding deity at Palani is Lord Karthikeya, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
Saint-physician and composer Boga Siddhar is believed to have crafted the existing idol using nine highly toxic herbs, whose very presence could kill people, over 5000 years ago.
Reports say that this idol is to be relocated within the sanctum sanctorum and replaced with the golden idol.
The ageing idol has reportedly developing cracks. For some years now, abhishekams, or purification with liquids and fluids, has been limited to select days in the year.
Earlier, there had been two attempts to stop abhiskhekams and daily rituals to the ageing idol, once in 1984 when the late M G Ramachandran was the chief minister, and later during Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's first term in office.
Various organisations have questioned reports about the cracks and have threatened protests if any effort is made to replace the old idol.
Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P C Ramaswamy refused to answer questions in this respect passing the buck on to the chief minister and some seers.
The controversy comes after the recent row, which arose after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) expressed an interest in taking over the Sri Arunachaleswarar temple (presiding deity - Lord Shiva) at Thiruvannamalai.
More reports from Tamil Nadu
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