TAMIL NADU, INDIA, June 19, 2022 (The Hindu): Major temples in the state are set to become disabled and elderly-friendly soon. They will have facilities such as wooden ramps and wheelchair stations. Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) P.K. Sekarbabu said not just 47 major temples but all 509 class II temples would have these facilities. “This is one of the announcements made in the State Assembly. We are not just going to provide ramps and wheelchairs randomly. The Chief Minister has advised that a proper audit be held in all these temples before the facilities are provided. We will ensure that the architecture of the temples is not disturbed in any way since permanent structures will not be created,” he said.

A major section of devotees to temples are senior citizens. “We have planned to create a proper system through which families of such persons can call in advance and book wheelchairs. Phone numbers will be available on the department website. We get many requests for such a facility from even non-resident Indians. The wheelchairs will be serviced on a regular basis,” Mr. Sekarbabu added. S.M. Chellasamy of the Tamil Nadu Elders’ Welfare Association, who welcomed the idea of considering the needs of including senior citizens too, suggested that hand railings be installed in places where there were steps inside the temples. “Senior citizens have issues with sight. Better lighting and reflective stickers will also help. Some larger temples have red-colored carpets and white paint on the floor to prevent heat. Since senior citizens walk slowly, such cool-coats in smaller temples can help them walk at their own pace,” he added.