New design of Tirupati station criticized for not representing ‘Indian culture’

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Hyderabad: Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw posted a model of the future Tirupati railway station on Monday, drawing a volley of criticism from several users on Twitter for failing to represent ‘Indian culture’ and resembling a “European Church”, among other reactions.

Sharing some images of the exterior and interior design of the temple city’s upcoming railway station, Vaishnaw wrote, “Tirupati’s world-class expressway railway station. All contracts awarded.

The interior of the station has been depicted in model pictures as having a mural depiction of the deity Venkateswara from Tirumala temple. The rest of the design made no reference to the God of the temple, which is one of the wealthiest and most popular Hindu temples in the world, with daily crowds of 70,000 to 80,000 people.

Many Twitter users were unhappy with this and demanded a design that was more representative of “Indian culture” or “Hindu culture”. While some claimed the design made the station look like a government facility or corporate headquarters, others said it had a “Christian” or “church” vibe.

Since Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, a Christian, came to power in 2019, Tirupati has been at the center of a series of scandals and attempts to polarize right-wing parties in the state. Since then, misinformation about supposed forced conversions and the presence of Christian beliefs and symbols in the temple city has traveled widely.

The faith of the employees in the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams), the entity in charge of temple activities, has also been questioned.

Nag Ashwin, who directed the film “Mahanati” and is currently filming Project K with Prabhas, Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan, added his two cents to the debate.

He replied to the minister’s tweet and wrote: “Dear sir…as you may have seen in the comments…no one likes this…Design looks like generic western copycat, bad IT park…tirupati is sacred, spiritual…allows people to design it which includes the rich architecture of India…not those glass and steel copies.

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