Update #4 ·

important news from the Arunachala World Heritage Site Initiative

The Indian National Green Tribunal made a final decision on the Girivalam Road widening project. It was a victory for those of us who were concerned about preserving Arunachala's natural environment. 

The decision was as follows:

- 2.5 m pavements to be maintained properly on both sides on Chengam road. Laxmi tree NOT to be cut.
- Sonanadhi forest shall NOT be disturbed.

- 2 m instead of 6 m new paver block pavement on the Hill side from Chengam-Girivalam Road Junction upto Anna Arch.

- No trees to be cut. No concrete around trees for 1m radius.

- Water bodies, Water flow, Paadhams, temples, etc not to be disturbed.

- No new drains from Chengam-Girivalam Road Junction up to Abhaya Mandapam, except for 500 m Adiannamalai village stretch.

- Manickavasagar temple not to be disturbed.

- Bio-diversity to be preserved. More trees to be planted.

The court decision can be found at the following link:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5TL5ymYRNl6d2ZG...

Also there was a recent visit by a UNESCO team to the Arunachaleswara Temple which seems to indicate that the temple is being considered as a World Heritage Site (WHS).

I was surprised by this UNESCO visit (I did not arrange it and heard nothing about it in advance). I went on the UNESCO web site and didn’t find the temple on the list of sites being considered for WHSs in India (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/state=in). But evidently the government has requested UNESCO to make a preliminary assessment of the possibility of making the temple a WHS, before putting it on the Tentative List.

The upshot is that I am absolutely thrilled that the temple is getting this attention from UNESCO, but Arunachala needs protection too. Of course, having the temple as a WHS could be an important stepping stone towards an Arunachala WHS. It could just be a matter of expanding the definition of the Arunachaleswara Temple WHS to include the Hill.

More details as this unfolds...

to comment