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Sunday, November 8, 2009

SYMA's ROLE IN KEEPING TEMPLE TANK CLEAN - திருஅல்லிக்கேணி திருக்குளம் நிறைந்தது

Dear (s)

For SYMA, Cleanliness is close to our heart and we had undertaken many street cleaning campaigns, taken effort in preserving greenery by planting sapling and have taken the lead in implementing rain water harvesting. In the past, we have experienced water scarcity and there have been years when the water parched residents of the city were running behind metro water lorries and storage tanks. The water was scarce and the few wells that were available in the area ran dry. Chennai has no perennial rivers running in vicinity and the increasing population has heightened the water crisis.

The city of Chennai not on the banks of any river – not to speak of Buckingham canal, which once upon a time canal was a free flowing river with boat transportation and there is also  Coovum which flows into the sea much closer to Marina. The residents of Chennai in particular are dependant on monsoon rains for their basic needs. Historically, in Tamilnadu and elsewhere, People were dependant on monsoon rains for irrigating their lands and for their other needs of drinking, cleaning, washing etc., There were hundreds of pilgrims visiting sacred places and places of importance. The requirement for water was very acute. In olden days there were huge water ponds in every locality, especially in and around big temples. Many of the ponds and tanks were interlinked ensuring storage of surplus of water. The rain water thus stored recharged the ground water table in the surrounding area. Besides the tanks provided job opportunities for hundreds of people. In mid Seventies, there was water scarcity in the city which has repeated itself thereafter in some periodicity. Triplicane is the pride place housing the famous “Sri Parthasarathy swami temple’ a divyashetram originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century. There is a beautiful temple pond mythologically referred as ‘Kairavani Pushkarini’ having lots of lotus and the name of the place itself was derived from this.

SYMA has realized the importance of keeping this temple tank clean and replete with water as a means of augmenting the water table in the locality. SYMA propogated and perseveringly implemented rainwater harvesting. By our efforts and with the active participation of Chennai Corporation, now all streets are connected to the temple tank and the rain water gets collected here. Every year immediately after rains, the tanks gets filled in and the ground water gets recharged thereby increasing the water table of the locality.
The temple tank is quite big in size. Few decades ago, during the regime of MGR Govt., the inner part of the tank was laid with cement concrete slabs. Thus a huge area of around 24000 sft is now fully cemented thereby serving as a pool for storage of water. There lies another expansive area of 10 ft along the entire 180 ft on all sides which is not blocked with concrete. This area has lot of flowering plants and trees which provide cool breeze and comfort to the visiting pilgrims. When rain water gets accumulated above the inner pond, water gets accumulated in the adjoining open area and then slowly percolates itself into the ground, being filtered in a natural process and augmenting the water table. In fact after our efforts in rain water harvesting, the water table has risen in Triplicane and the residents are now getting quality water without trace of salt water, though situate closer to the sea.

SYMA has been maintaining the temple tank for some years now ensuring that the place is kept neat and not misused by the visiting the public. There are flowering garden illuminated with colourful lights. As is required for every water storage, desilting and cleaning of the pond becomes necessary. A lot of dirt and smudge had accumulated and in consultation with the temple authorities, SYMA put into plan the cleaning activity which was actually long overdue. The huge quantity of water lying in the 180 X 120 concrete pit was removed by use of electric motors and the manual process of cleaning the accumulated dirt which appears like sewer is being undertaken. The basic aim was to rid the tank of its pollutants and allow new accumulation which would be contamination-free.

This became a larger project than was thought of. The activities were on at a hectic pace but the sudden rain for two hours on 19/9/2009 pulled the clock back and again we were faced with removing huge quantity of silt. Some of the photos pasted here will make you understand the magnitude of the work.


This was possible to the cooperation extended by Temple authorities with special mention to DC Mr Jayaraman and other staff members of the temple. There were quite a few members of SYMA who got involved in this project but it was the untiring and efficient work of SR Parthasarathi & D. Veeraraghavan which ensured that the pace of the work never slackened.

The temple authorities performed a Pooja after the cleaning was over to invoke the blessings of Lord for the welfare of the community, for rains and for the tank brimming back replete with water.

Came November – monsoons and depression came and along with it rain water. It has been raining heavily for the past 4 days now (5th Nov to date – 8th) and here are some photos of the tank taken today


This amply reflects the successful rainwater harvesting done - with storm water drains connected to the temple tank. Sure this is going to raise the water table in the locality as also making more refined and potable ground water available.

Sarve Jana Sukhino bhavanthu.

With regards - S Sampathkumar (Sunday 8th Nov 2009)


  1. Sampath, Happy to see the tank filled with water. Let SYMA activities grow more - Kumar

  2. I lived in Triplicane long back and have played cricket inside the tank. Today it presents a very nice picture - Venkat

  3. What a great work... keeping surroundings clean - Great work of your Social Service Organisation. Congratulations to all of you.. and more imporantly.. great piece of writing.. Sham

  4. Great work by your team and excellent depiction.. loved reading this - Jane Ayre

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