Govt may take over Melkote temple

BANGALORE: The government is seriously thinking of taking over the historical Melkote temple following complaints of thefts and misappropriation.
Replying to N Cheluvarayaswamy (JD-S) during question hour, muzrai minister Prakash B Hukkeri said the archak of Sri Cheluvaraya Swamy temple, Narasaraja Bhat, has been suspended in connection with the four-year-old ornament misuse case, and soon a criminal case will be filed against him.
He also agreed to the opposition's demand to remove the trust-appointed Varadaraja Bhat, brother of Narasaraja, as temple archak. Narasaraja was charged with receiving gold ornaments as gifts from devotees and taking them home, and also siphoning off parts of the diamond-studded gold ornament, Vajrangi.
In another theft case related to Yoga Narasimha Swamy temple, the minister said judgment is pending before the Panadavapura civil court. The ancient temple was burgled; silver and gold-plated jewellery and other valuable items worth over Rs 7 lakh were taken away. Seven persons have been arrested, he added.
Vaishnava stronghold
Described as a stronghold of Vaishnavas, Melkote temple town is associated with the 12th century saint-philosopher Sri Ramanujacharya, who stayed there to escape persecution by the Cholas and systematized procedures for worship that is followed even today. Krishnaraja Wadiyar of Mysore had presented a golden crown to adorn the deity that is used only on rare occasions. It is now in the district administration's custody.
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