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Denying nature to the divine: Tiruvannamalai protests against cutting trees to broade

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V.Balasubramani

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Denying nature to the divine: Tiruvannamalai protests against cutting trees to broaden Girivalam

The hills do have eyes

In the holy hill of Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, an environmental crisis is brewing.

Over the years, the Girivalam path leading to shrine of Annamalaiyar on top of the hill has been greeted from bullock carts and barefoot devotees to now

SUVs, tempos and sedans. What remains however, is its swathe of green cover and rare shrubs.

The hills average about 3 lakh visitors a month, given that many travel in the third week of the month during full moon. On auspicious days of Chithirai Maadam and Karthikeya Deepam, 5 lakh turn up with their prayers to God. For fair weather devotees, the wealth is in its sanctum sanctorum. But for the hill that houses close to 5 lakh residents, the wealth is in its greenery.

Over the last week, a campaign to save the trees along the Girivalam path has kicked off. The government is also planning an acquisition of land in the area. “This is all patta land, I don’t know how the government can just claim the right of ruining an entire forest,” says Kumar Ambriyam, a local activist. Kumar has been actively challenging the order with one line – “Take away the forest, and you take away an entire ecosystem. “

So why is this a problem?

First, the proposal to widen the road for a new path will also go through agricultural fields.

Two, the planned expansion of the path cutting into a number of ‘Rest-a-While’ parks created by the administration for the benefit of pilgrims and local wildlife. These parks provide a tranquil resting spot for those doing the 13 km Pradakshina (holy route to the temple), and enhance the protective buffer for adjacent Reserved Forest lands.

Tread more at: http://www.thenewsminute.com/articl...against-cutting-trees-broaden-girivalam-47386
 
Temple business is good business.

Government must ban building of new temples, churches and mosques... and the like.

It is the precurser to settlements... or small shops that later pave way to greater urban activity.
 
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