Saturday, August 22, 2009

On urgent project


I have been on an urgent project for the past two weeks. I will continue to be away for another 6-8 weeks. Please bear with me as I may not be in a position to add fresh posts. Meanwhile many thanks for the kind, gracious & appreciative comments on my last post: Historical Landmarks of Chennai".

All the best & do forgive me !


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Historical Landmarks of Chennai

Chennai houses great many architectural, historical and religious attractions. Chennai (old name Madras), is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and is India's fourth largest city. It is located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. With an estimated population of 7.60 million (2006), the 369-year-old city is the 36th largest metropolitan area in the world. Chennai is a city which has grown over the centuries by merging numerous villages which are really ancient. The temples of Thiruvanmiyur, Thiruvotriyur, Thirvallikeni (Triplicane), Thirumyilai (Mylapore) have existed for more than 1000 years.Modern Chennai had its origins as a colonial city and its initial growth was closely tied to its importance as an artificial harbour and trading centre. The Portuguese arrived in 1522, It passed to the Dutch in1612. Next it was briefly under the Mughal Rulers before the British East India Company were granted trading rights. Chennai steadily progressed during the period of the East India Company. In 1746 Fort St.George and Chennai were captured by the French but quickly regained by British Forces in 1749. The East India Company administered Chennai for over 200 years before the British Crown, under Queen Victoria, directly took over rule in the mid 19th century. They ruled for a 100 years before India attained freedom in 1947. Picture above is that of the Chennai mounted police on an early morning march.
The Government Museum inaugurated on December 5, 1896, was named after the former Governor, Lord Connemara. Madras museum theatre (pictured above) is housed within the museum complex together with other distinguished structures like Old Public Library and the famous National Art Gallery. Constructed by the British in Indo-Saracenic style. It is surrounded by the cannons captured or used by the British during the wars.

The Chennai Egmore station is known in Tamil as "Ezhumbur". This station has a platform which allows vehicles to be driven up almost to the side of the train--to allow for easy loading/unloading of baggage and passengers.

The elegant building is built in the Gothic style of architecture with imposing domes and corridors.
St. Andrew's Church - a monument which represents the best Georgian architecture in South India and perhaps in Asia. Saint Andrew's Church is sometimes called as 'The Queen of Scottish Churches in the East'.
The church was consecrated in the year 1821. It was built for the Scottish Community that had settled in the Chennai city. The church interiors are covered with rich mahogany wood work. The floor is provided with an elegant check pattern marble.

There are 16 Corinthian circular pillars that support the dome. The circular dome, 52 feet in diameter, is painted with the blue shaded lapis lazuli.

Ripon Building is the seat of the Chennai Corporation, a fine example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, a combination of three types of architectural styles - Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian. Commissioned in 1913, Ripon building was named after Lord Ripon, Governor-General of British India.
One of the main attractions of the building is the Westminster Quarter chiming clock. This was installed by Oakes and Co. in 1913. The clock has a mechanical key system, which is wound every day. There are a total of 4 bells, which were cast by Gillet and Johnston in 1913.

A well maintained canon in the sprawling green lawns of the Ripon building campus

Pictured above: Statue of George Frederick Samvel, Marqvess of Ripon (1827-1909)

Built in the Gothic Revival style Chennai Central originally consisted of just four platforms. It was later modified with the addition of the central clock tower. The redesign was eventually completed in 1900.
Chennai Central, formerly known as Madras Central is the main railway terminus in Chennai. It is the home of the Southern Railway and the most important rail hub in South India. Chennai Central has been greatly instrumental in earning Chennai the famous sobriquet "Gateway of the South." The Madras High Court, one of the landmarks of the metropolis of Chennai. It is believed to be the second largest judicial complex in the world. Madras High Court was established on June 26, 1862 as one of the three High Courts of India (others at Bombay and Calcutta) established at Presidency Towns by Letters Patent granted by Queen Victoria. The building of the High Court, an exquisite example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, was built in 1892, under the guidance of the famed architect Henry Irwin.

In front of the High court building has been installed the statue of the legendary “Manu Needhi Chozhan”(ancient Hindu Ruler) shown dispensing justice to a cow whose calf had been killed under the wheels of a chariot.
The minarets or domes are atop the building represent architectural excellence and are exquistely beautiful........To be continued next week !

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Travel to a Kerala Village

Thenilapuram is a small village in Palakkad district of Kerala around 80 Kms south of Coimbatore where I live. We travelled to this village recently to meet an old ailing lady who was in need of financial support. It was generally a nice and sunny day.Lush green paddy fields greeted us as we approached the village. We crossed a rubber plantation before entering the village. You can see that the rubber trees have been neatly cut in circular fashion to release the 'sap' or 'latex' into the plastic bags attached to the trees. The 'sap' thus collected is later converted to rubber sheets.
Next we visited the Bhagavathy Temple in the village. 'Bhagavathy' is a powerful female Goddess widely worshipped by Hindus in Kerala. We found the old lady praying in the temple and she was delighted to see us. We then went to the Agraharam(Brahmin settlement) where she lived in a small dilapidated house. Her sister and nephew who lived in a nearby house greeted us with great warmth. Most of the Brahmins who live here are poor. After ascertaining her medical condition and her financial needs we left the village.
On our return trip we reached a place called Walayar located at the border between Tamilnadu & Kerala. Walayar is a forest area and has several species of wild animals and a deer park. Around 9 Kms from the highway is the Walayar Dam. We decided to drive to the Dam area and could get some nice pictures of the reservoir,the Western Ghats (mountains) in the background, the office of the PWD Dept & a small monument bearing hydraulic details of the dam. It was a day well spent!


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