Monday, August 30, 2010

Rameswaram Temple Towers’ Structural Integrity Attested

VISIT:Members of the expert team inspecting the towers of Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram.

RAMANATHAPURAM: The east and west Rajagopurams of Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram are strong, intact and there is no cause for concern, according to M. Muthiah, Superintending Engineer (Chief Sthapathi), Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE).

Speaking to The Hindu after inspecting the towers of the temple in Rameswaram on Saturday, he said the 12-member expert committee, constituted by the State government to study the stability of the temple towers, particularly the Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple towers, went up to the nine-story east Rajagopuram of Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple and studied the soundness of the structure. A few points of water leakages particularly near the “kalasams” were found. There was a hole near the “kalasams” causing water seepage inside the tower. It had weakened the wooden beams in a few places.

It was found that works undertaken during the first ‘Kumbabishegam' were not up to the mark due to incompleteness. However, the defects were rectified in the next ‘Kumbabishegam.' Some wooden beams of the west tower had also been weakened apparently due to rainwater invasion and age factor.

There was a need to remove the weakened wooden beams and undertake related works so as to further strengthen the structures . Fresh beams could be inserted.

It was also important to keep away the chances of water seepages around the foundation of the towers. It was found that there were lodges, hotels near the east and west towers, which might cause water discharge in the close vicinity of the foundation. The committee was of the view to clear the encroachment near the temple towers.

A. Meher Prasad, Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, said except a few issues basically due to water leakages, there was no major problem.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fake (?) monks besiege Red China cop house

Police from Baotou city say incident began when what appeared to be group of monks attacked toll booth before escaping by bus

Police in northern China faced an unexpected and unholy menace last week when more than 100 fake monks besieged their police station, a Chinese newspaper reported today.

Police from Baotou city, in inner Mongolia, told the North News that the incident began last Wednesday when what appeared to be a group of monks attacked a toll booth and escaped by bus.

Officers stopped the vehicle at a roadblock after a lengthy car chase and arrested 31 of the men – but the suspects fought back with steel bars and knives, allowing the rest to make their getaway on a double-decker bus.

The following day, more than 100 men, apparently monks, besieged the city's Guyang police station to demand the release of those arrested.

The central public security bureau had to dispatch 500 officers, including 200 members of the armed police, to protect the building.

They arrested 178 fake monks, confiscating the sticks, knives, fake medicines and fake gold necklaces they were carrying.

Police said the group was an organised gang made up mostly of farmers from Hunan, who paid the leaders 20 yuan (£2) a day for the privilege of membership.

The men pretended to be monks so they could make money performing martial arts, claim to be able to cure people of illnesses and sell medications. Some also extorted money.

The public security bureaus in Guyang county and Baotou declined to comment on the case when contacted by the Guardian.

Earlier this year, media in eastern Shandong province reported that police had caught eight fake monks from a gang of 58 who were peddling a herbal paste they claimed could cure all known diseases.

In other cases, impostors have claimed to be from the famous Shaolin temple, only to be exposed by the poor quality of their martial arts performances.

Genuine monks have repeatedly complained about people masquerading as lamas, often in or near the grounds of temples.


Orangutans Use Charade-Like Communication

Discovery News reports: Orangutans, of their own volition, act out incredibly detailed scenarios with their bodies, using the pantomime to communicate with humans and other apes, according to a new study.
The study, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, adds to the growing body of evidence that orangutan mini charade-like displays feature characteristics of language and reveal just how creative, intelligent and manipulative these great apes can be.

Orangutans "show abilities that are considered by some to be important in the evolution of language and that, to this point, have been considered uniquely human," co-author Anne Russon told Discovery News.

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