MYSURU: The Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy temple atop BR Hills will be closed for public for 18 months from March 15.

The Archeology department will take up the renovation of the centuries-old temple. The Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple has turned into major tourist destination in recent years. Chikka jathre, a car festival held after Sankaranthi, attracts more than 30,000 devotees and the Dodda jathre in April attracts lakhs.

Around 5,000 to 8,000 devotees visit the temple on weekends. The devotees are offered free prasadam at Dasoha Bhavan daily.

The Archeology department will dismantle, re-organise and replace the damaged stone blocks and give a new look to the temple without posing a threat to its original architecture.

The works were taken up following complaints that there were leaks during rains. Some walls of the temple are in a dilapidated condition and needed immediate attention. The temple was constructed by Saint Vashista.

Temple executive officer Venkatesh Prasad said the temple will be closed for renovation from March 15. Prasad said this is the first time work has been taken up in the temple and is confident it will be completed on time.

Stating that devotees won’t go without offering puja to the presiding deity, the executive officer said a wooden idol of Biligirirangaswamy will be placed in the temple office and regular puja will be held. Devotees will be offered prasadam as usual, he added.

There are also pleas to repair the wooden car at a cost of Rs 99 lakh and take up other civil works.

Image courtesy: Sharath Hassan A Travelling Photographer