A new Manimandiram coming up at the famous Shangumugham temple near Thiruvanathapuram under the Travancore Devaswom Board has been designed like a cross. Nowhere else have we seen such construction in temples and it is against traditional temple architecture.
There are allegations of massive corruption and illegal favors in the construction under the leadership of the temple advisory committee. It seems that the cross is being built with Rs. 5 lakh provided by a lawyer who lives in Bengaluru. Critics say that the current structure will not cost even a lakh rupees.
The advisory committee secretary is facing massive corruption charges. Temple employees themselves had complained that an attempt was being made to destroy the temple with the support of high-ranking officials of the Devaswom Board. Devotees who come for daily darshan are being treated rudely.
Corrupt officials want devotees to pay money for the temple renovation fund instead of donating for pooja and offering. Earlier, there was also an incident where the secretary assaulted a Devaswom Board employee who questioned such compulsions.
Most of the property of the ancient temple on Shankhumukham beach has been encroached upon. The Devaswom Board is doing little to take back the property thus lost. That land is now even being used as a dumping ground.
Businessman Udayasamudra Rajasekharan Nair had provided funds to build a wall around the temple property so that some protection will be available for the temple land. Some religious groups immediately opposed the wall and started protesting against the perimeter wall.
Interestingly, those who stood with the protestors are today members of the Temple Advisory Council. There are allegations that the new crucifix in the temple yard is a remnant of their ugly efforts.