Peralassery Subrahmanya Temple pond gets prestigious National Water Heritage site tag

The recognition is a testament to the historical and architectural significance of the grand old temple pond, which is said to have been constructed around 1,500 years ago. Photo: Ajith Kannan

The Peralassery Subrahmanya Temple Pond in Kannur, a centuries-old pond with unique steps has attained the prestigious National Water Heritage site tag. The temple's step well, also known as 'Ayanivayal Kulam' has found place in the list of 75 water heritage sites in the country. The Ministry of Jal Shakti made an announcement declaring the water bodies as heritage sites in reference to 75 years of India’s Independence. The recognition is a testament to the historical and architectural significance of the grand old temple pond, which is said to have been constructed around 1,500 years ago. The waterbody received the heritage tag in the step well category and the highlight of this ancient structure is the Vastu-based architectural features.

Situated on the southwest side of the Peralassery Subramanya temple, the pond spreads across 75 cent of land. The temple pond was built following the design of step wells found in states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. "There are no historical records available on the exact date when the temple and the pond were built or by whom. However, it is believed that the worship place has 15 centuries-old history", said K Murali, manager, of Sri Peralassery Devaswom. According to him, the pond is an integral part of the temple, which is one of the most popular places of worship place located on the picturesque banks of the Anjarakandi river of North Kerala.

The temple committee had renovated the pond in 2001 after it suffered serious damages. ‚ÄúThe renovation activities were carried out by a team of experts without affecting its architectural and archaeological significance. In fact, we rolled out the renovation plan to conserve the historical and Vastu-based architectural values of the pond‚ÄĚ, Murali added. It is also worth noticing that the pond has been featured in many films and albums. "The pond is now the main attraction of the temple. Among the people who visit the temple, most of them arrive to see the pond. There are huge demand for shooting films and albums on the pond premises. But, Devaswom has imposed some restrictions on such activities considering the ritualistic importance. However, there is no restrictions on individuals to take photos from here‚ÄĚ, he added.

The initiative of the Ministry of Jal Shakti is part of its mission to preserve historically important water resources. Murali further said the Central Government‚Äôs new recognition is expected to get more popularity to the pond and the temple as well. ‚ÄúWe hope financial aid from the government to conserve and beautify the water body‚ÄĚ, he added. Presently, there is no provision under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 to declare a site as a 'Water Heritage Site' under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Hence, the Ministry of Jal Shakti constituted a Committee to identify 75 Water Heritage Structure (WHS) in reference to 75 years of India‚Äôs Independence.

A total of 421 nominations were received from various states, Union Territories, Central Agencies, NGOs, and the general public. Out of these, the Committee has recommended 75 water heritage structures to award the heritage tag. Kerala Water Ways located in Ernakulam was also selected for the tag from Kerala. At present there is no central fund allocated for maintenance of these sites.   

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