After Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw shared the design on Twitter, a few complained that it looked like a corporate office while others said it reflected a ‘church’ like aesthetic.

Model of new Tirupati railway station: New Tirupati railway station design slammed for not being ‘Indian’ enough Model of new Tirupati railway station: Twitter/AshwiniVaishnaw
news Controversy Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 13:53

Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw shared the model of the upcoming Tirupati railway station on Monday, May 30, invoking a flurry of opinions on the design. Sharing a few images of the exterior and interior design of the upcoming railway station for the temple town, Vaishnaw wrote, “Tirupati world-class railway station on fast track. All contracts awarded.” In the model photos, the inside of the station showed an image of the Venkateswara deity of the Tirumala temple mounted on a wall. The rest of the design showed no indications of the deity or the temple, which is among the richest and most popular Hindu temples in the world, visited by around 70,000 to 80,000 or more devotees on a daily basis. 

This triggered disappointed reactions from many Twitter users, who called for a design that was more indicative of ‘Indian culture’ or ‘Hindu culture’. While a few of them complained that the design made the railway station look like a government building or corporate office, a few others complained that it reflected a ‘Christian’ or ‘church’ like aesthetic. Tirupati has been at the centre of a series of controversies and attempts at polarisation from right-wing groups in Andhra Pradesh, especially since Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who belongs to the Christian faith, came to power in 2019. Since then, there have been many instances of false news spread over alleged forced conversions and the alleged presence of Christian faith and symbols in the temple town. Questions were also raised about the faith of employees in the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams), the body which manages the affairs of the temple. 

Filmmaker Nag Ashwin, who has directed the award-winning biopic of actor Savitri Mahanati, and is currently filming Project K starring Prabhas, Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan, also weighed in on the discussion. He responded to the Minister’s tweet and wrote, “Dear u might have seen in the comments...nobody likes this...The design looks like some generic western copy, some bad IT park... tirupati is sacred, spiritual...lets get ppl to design it who understand the rich architecture of India..and not this glass n steel copies (sic)”


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