The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will develop disabled-friendly facilities at seven sites in Tamil Nadu, including the Sri Kailasanathar temple in Kancheepuram, Sithanavasal caves, Moovar Koil in Kodambalur near Pudukottai, and the Vellore and Gingee forts.
- The seven sites have been identified under the Adarsh Smarak Abhiyan, which seeks to develop monuments into ‘Model Monuments.
- Permission has already been obtained for monuments at Mamallapuram and the Sri Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur under this scheme.
- As part of the scheme, the ASI, under the Ministry of Culture, initially identified 25 ancient sites that had high tourist footfall for development. All necessary tourist facilities, including wi-fi, security, signage, encroachment-free areas, interpretation centres showing short films about the importance of the monuments and signboards of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan were to be installed at these monuments. Later, 75 more monuments were added to the list.
- At Mamallapuram, work to make the Pancha Rathas disabled-friendly is to be taken up shortly. The rathas are monolithic temples from the Pallava era that resemble the processional chariots of a temple.
- At places where the monuments are at ground level, we have provided for ramps and other access features. But for monuments that are at a higher level, such as the Gingee Fort, where the Sri Ranganathar temple is situated, it will not be possible to provide access as it is atop the hill.